Funds raised for victims of Phoenix Theatre blaze in Lewes

More than £18,000 has been raised for victims of the fire which destroyed the Phoenix Theatre and Studios in Lewes earlier in the year.

Five artists lost all their artworks and studio space, while theatre personnel and others lost their equipment along with the theatre, cafe and office spaces.

The money for those affected was raised at From the Ashes, which took place at Harvey Depot.

The event hosted live music and performances featuring local and international stars who all performed free of charge to support the cause.

Among the performers were Arthur Brown and The Strypes.

There were also food stalls, cocktails, and a raffle.

The organisers said the event, and donations from the website, has made From the Ashes an ‘outstanding success. ‘

A number of other events were held in and around Lewes which also helped push the total raised for the victims of the fire up, organisers said.

Cressida Bell, who spearheaded the fund-raiser said she wanted to thank everyone who helped to raise the sum.

She said: “It was extremely gratifying to see how much good will there was towards this cause.

“So many people put in so much time and effort to help get this show off the ground and I was thrilled at how successful it was.

“We would like to thank everyone who helped us and who came along on the day or donated in other ways.

“Twenty individuals or groups have now received cheques from the fund.

“This, and the support of the community, will assist them to recoup thier losses and restart their lives and work.”

The Phoenix Theatre was completely destroyed when fire broke out in March this year.

Around 40 firefighters from stations across East Sussex fought to save the North Street building, which served as a theatre and a community arts space.

Crews managed to stop the blaze spreading to adjacent buildings and nobody was hurt in the drama.

The building was due to host an 18th birthday party for more than 150 guests that evening and about ten people were in the building when the fire started.

Three members of local band Scott Free had been setting up their equipment prior to the party but it was all destroyed as the flames took hold.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the fire was believed to be accidental.