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Legend Hooky helps raise funds for community theatre

CB1_4307Salford legends Peter Hook and Mike Sweeney helped raise more than £2,000 for a theatre in the local community where they both grew up.

The evening of live music and conversation - "Local" at Salford Arts Theatre - was part of an effort to boost funds for new seats at the 40-year-old venue.

Hooky and Sweeney were joined by up and coming Salford band Death To The Strange, and special video appearances by punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke and Happy Mondays’ Bez.

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The event was organised after Hooky visited the theatre to see the initial plans to transform the building and facilities, the Joy Division, New Order and The Light bassist promised to help raise money to pay for new seating at the theatre.

The theatre has already undergone improvements as part of the Pendleton Together regeneration of the area, but now needs to raise around £40,000 for the new seating.

Theatre manager Roni Ellis said: “The night was a huge success and we can’t thank everyone enough for their support.

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“The theatre has supported the local community – and the local community has supported the theatre – for 40 years. We want this to carry on and this fund raising event was a great start.”

Peter Hook said: “Two years ago I promised the theatre I would help with a fund raiser and we’ve been able to put a great gig. It is venues like this that give kids, who wouldn’t usually get the chance, the break they need to launch an acting or musical career. The arts should be open to everyone and not just a privileged few.”

Salford Arts Theatre was originally built for The Salford Players, a local group who gave opportunity to tread the boards to the community and aspiring actors.

When the group dissolved, the theatre was given back to Salford City Council who opened it as a professional theatre, before eventually having to close the venue. In 2007 Roni and Scott Berry took over and reopened the theatre for the community. The venue is now used for regular shows, as well as workshops to help local children take their first steps to an acting career.

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