The cast and crew of Oliver! are asking audiences in their thousands to turn up at Lincoln Cathedral next week armed with emergency food to help people in crisis.
The Starring Lincoln Theatre Company will perform Oliver! at Lincoln Cathedral from August 5 to 16.
The theatre company, made up of more than 100 local volunteers, has teamed up with Lincoln Foodbank to create a huge social impact alongside the show and its provoking themes.
A simple box of food can make a big difference, with foodbanks helping prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems.
Last year Lincoln Foodbank helped to support 3467 people with food parcels. In Lincoln alone, there are areas in the top 1% of deprivation for the UK. A quarter of children in Lincoln live on or below the poverty line.
Ben Poole, Director at The Starring Lincoln Theatre Company, said: “In Oliver! poverty greys the workhouse and blackens the slums of London. In Great Britain in 2019 devastating and persistent poverty affects one in five children.
“It causes people, often people in work, to go hungry and use food banks, even worse lose their homes and take to the streets for shelter.
“The Starring Lincoln Theatre Company production of Oliver! and Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist are separated by nearly 200 years. The story undoubtedly describes universal truths still present today.
“The past seems written to question the present. But what for us? What can we do? We can provide hope.”
The Lincoln Foodbank, which is run by the Trussell Trust and made possible with 60 volunteers, told The Lincolnite that it had seen huge surge in calls for help and at the time was reaching breaking point.
Ben added: “So please bring your food glorious food, not to feed the rich men’s indigestion, but rather to give help and hope to those who need it most.
“We want to make sure that no one in our local community has to go hungry, but we need your help to make this happen, you can make a real difference. We thank Waitrose for their very kind contribution and would also encourage any supermarket, large or small, to help if they can.
“Imagine if every one of the thousands of people coming to the show just brought one thing.”