January 11, 2023 4.06 pm This story is over 15 months old

Lincoln theatre school amazed by community support after break-in

Over £4,000 has been raised to help the local theatre

A former CBeebies presenter who runs a theatre school in Lincoln said it has been “really uplifting” to see the response and fundraising efforts from the local community after a heartbreaking break-in at her business.

Sarah-Jane Honeywell and her actor husband Ayden Callaghan lease the former Montana ballroom on Clasketgate where their Curious Theatre School continues to grow. However, on January 4 the business was a victim of a burglary in which items stolen and damage done totalled tens of thousands of pounds.

A door was ripped off its hinges, electrics were pulled from the walls and items stolen included a piano, a Mac computer, expensive mirrors, a drum kit, a keyboard, and photography equipment worth thousands of pounds.

Costumes worth thousands of pounds and theatrical props were taken or badly damaged, while precious memorabilia from the duo’s careers was also taken.

Valuable costumes were taken or damaged during the break-in. | Photo: The Lincolnite

A 28-year-old man was arrested on January 4 on suspicion of commercial burglary. He was later released on police bail while their inquiries are ongoing.

The Lincolnite previously met Sarah at the theatre school on January 5 where we were told about the horrible experience.

Later that day she said she found out from the landlord that the alleged offenders had broken in through the roof and were squatting there.

Fortunately, they are no longer inside the premises and the building has been made more secure.

Two parents of pupils at the theatre school – Karis Hildred and Yuen Armstrong – set up GoFundMe pages to help get it back on track with more than £4,000 being raised by the time of publication.

Karis said: “This is heartbreaking for the children as most of them rely on the school to provide a release for their mental health.”

Donations can be made here and here

More items were also pulled off the walls. | Photo: The Lincolnite

The theatre’s co-owner Sarah told The Lincolnite that she is also planning a benefit performance in the near future, which will feature several of her contacts in the arts and entertainments industry and will “give the kids something to work towards”.

She said: “The community response is really uplifting and helps me be even more determined to make sure we come back bigger and better.

“It is amazing how many people have stopped me in the street to say how sorry they are and asked how they can help. The response from Lincoln, the city as a whole, has been amazing.

“The children (pupils) have also donated £200 of their own money between them, which is encouraging but upsetting as well, and it also shows how much they love it here.”

There was also evidence of drugs paraphernalia inside the building, while it appears that someone may have been setting up camp in one of the rooms. | Photo: The Lincolnite

She added that companies have contacted her to donate items such as paint and electrical equipment, and people have offered their time to help out, while others have got in touch to donate a total of around £400 in cash towards the cause.

The premises will be having a professional clean this week, and once they are allowed back inside fully, Sarah wants to let the kids paint it to “reclaim their space”.

She added: “I am really grateful to the police who are working hard, and the local community, as every word of encouragement gives me an extra step forward to making it amazing.”

The culprit(s) left almost every single room in the building in a mess. | Photo: The Lincolnite

Lincolnshire Police issued an appeal for information on January 11 saying: “It’s believed there have been a number of people coming and going from the property between December 23 and January 4.”

Anyone with information is being urged to contact PC Nicky Briscoe on 07385398418 or via email at [email protected] quoting incident 175 of January 4.

Alternatively, information can be reported through the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online here.

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