IT’S been 100 years since the Theatre Royal in Winchester first opened its doors and to kick off celebrations they are hosting a fundraising ball.

Over 400 people are due to attend the event this Saturday, the first of a number of events marking the centenary, at Peter Symonds College for a theatre-themed night organised by the Fulflood Ball Committee.

Organiser, Catherine Skinner, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the theatre as a centre for arts and culture in the city, as well as recognising its important work with schools, children and young people throughout the district. Part of our fundraising effort will be a silent auction and we are fortunate to be able to offer some hugely exciting auction prizes, including a luxury yacht charter donated by businessman Jay Patel worth £15,000. The most important factor is for everyone to have fun whilst raising money for a very important cause.”

Proceeds from the ball will be used to maintain the theatre in the face of progressive funding cuts from Winchester City and Hampshire County Council.

Chief executive, Mark Courtice, said: “The theatre has been at the heart of the community for a century and we intend to safeguard its heritage long into the future. The benefits the theatre offers its local community are incalculable in terms of the visitor economy as well as the cultural wealth of the city.”