The Chesil Theatre recently hosted its first charity gala performance during its outdoor production of Treasure Island

More than 200 people from 17 charities around Winchester were offered complimentary tickets to join in the fun as the good ship Hispaniola set sail on opening night.

With camping chairs and rugs, the audience gathered for picnics and pizzas in the grounds of Winchester College.

Outreach coordinator Isabelle Haigh said: "We wanted to reach out and let as many children, adults and families in Winchester who might not ordinarily think to go to a show, or maybe could not afford it, experience live theatre.” 

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Sam Hunt from Friends of the Family, a befriending group for families, said: "The children and volunteers had a great time. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The cast were brilliant and they were obviously having a lot of fun too."

The Chesil hosted the Mayor of Winchester Angela Clear, Chesil patron Dame Mary Fagan, members of the city council and representatives from the Little Theatre Guild and National Operatic and Dramatic Association. 

The mayor met the cast backstage and enjoyed hearing from youth members about their experience of taking part in the production.

The Chesil Theatre offers an outreach programme to local live-at-home schemes and has two further sessions planned later this year. 

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