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Latest news - Northern Bloc helps out-of-work theatre staff

13/11/20 Northern Bloc helps out-of-work theatre staff with new, limited edition ice cream

Leeds Heritage Theatres is pleased to team up with cult ice cream brand, and supplier, Northern Bloc as they launch a limited edition ice cream to support out-of-work theatre staff, including our own panto legend, Kenny Davies, who is missing out on his tenth anniversary performance of panto this year.

Kenny was set to reprise his role in the annual City Variety’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Pantomime, but The Varieties is just one of the UK’s performing arts venues unable to reopen due to Covid restrictions, resulting in Kenny, and thousands of theatre workers, facing an uncertain future.

But now, Northern Bloc is throwing its support behind the performing arts industry as it launches a new, limited edition ice cream with proceeds from every tub sold going to Theatre Support Fund+, a charitable organisation set up by industry workers Chris Marcus and Damien Stanton. They designed ‘The Show Must Go On! ’ t-shirts, made up of famous artwork from 16 of the world’s most popular musicals and receiving over 30,000 orders to date, have raised over £500,000. These profits have gone to three charities; Acting For Others, The Fleabag Support Fund and the NHS Covid-19 Urgent Appeal.

Josh Lee, co-founder and director at Northern Bloc said:  “We’re passionate about the arts at Northern Bloc, in fact our first customers were theatres, so we’ll be forever grateful for the platform those venues gave us.  As theatres closed their doors earlier this year, those who work on stage, like Kenny, as well as many more behind the scenes, immediately found themselves with no income.  We wanted to show our support in the way we know best.  We developed a new, indulgent ice cream, collaborated with an awesome charity partner, Theatre Support Fund+ and secured a nationwide stockist so that proceeds from every tub sold could go directly to those that have been hit financially by the pandemic.”

Actor-musician, Kenny Davies trained at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance and graduated in 2009. He has worked in theatres all over the UK and is now based in his home city, Leeds.  He explains:  “ This year was set to be my tenth year taking part in panto in Leeds.  The City Varieties is the country’s longest running music hall in the country and its rock ‘n’ roll take on the traditional panto has become legendary so it’s devastating that it won’t be able to run this Christmas due to the pandemic.

“On a personal level, 2020 has been really tough for work.  In addition to the pantomime I perform in numerous productions in different theatres and keep myself busy with the odd music gig that I can get. Since lockdown and with Covid restrictions, everything has dried up.  I love everything about the theatre and in between acting jobs, I also sell Northern Bloc’s ice cream at Leeds Grand Theatre, City Varieties’ sister venue, but I’ve not even been able to do that due to theatre’s closure.”

He added:  “The one silver lining is that I recently became a father for the first time to a lovely baby boy called Eddie, so it’s the perfect time to have my first Christmas off in eleven years and to be able to spend it with my wife and son.  In the meantime, it’s great to see Northern Bloc launching this charity ice cream to shine a light on the arts industry and help support the thousands of talented theatre workers across the country.”

Northern Bloc’s The Show Must Go On!, is a vegan, white chocolate ice cream laced with honeycomb.  Available as a 500ml sharing tub, it is stocked in Waitrose stores, RRP £5, from Monday 9 November.

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