Anger after thieves target not-for-profit Leeds theatre company

Alan Lane, director of Slung Low theatre company.

Alan Lane, director of Slung Low theatre company.

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Supporters have reacted with anger after thieves broke into a not-for-profit theatre company to steal a van paid for by a charitable grant.

Slung Low, based off Bath Road in Holbeck, acquired the £15,000 van using funding from Arts Council England to provide emerging artists with transport free of charge.

Van that was stolen from the premises of Slung Low amateur theatre company

Van that was stolen from the premises of Slung Low amateur theatre company

But the silver Ford Transit was stolen after just three weeks when a gang cut through locks on the gates to the company’s Holbeck Underground Ballroom (HUB) site.

Artistic director Alan Lane said: “We will be all right – we’re lucky because we’re insured – but it’s just so much hassle and all the time that we spend dealing with it is time that we’re not spending doing what we’re here to do, making pieces of work that people enjoy. That’s the galling thing.”

Slung Low, which specialises in outdoor performances and recently put on The White Whale – a reworking of Moby Dick – at Leeds Dock, received a £100,000 Arts Council grant to fund improvements.

Mr Lane said there had been a number of break-ins at the site in recent months, prompting the installation of CCTV.

The cameras recorded three men breaking into the site overnight on Tuesday. They spent 45 minutes hot-wiring the van – to bypass the ignition – before driving it away.

There was a flood of sympathy for Slung Low after Mr Lane posted the news on Twitter.

Matt Trueman replied: “You deserve much, much better from people.”

Stuart Petch wrote: “There are some desperate, hateful people about.”

Mr Lane said the company had been inundated with offers of support.

“What it’s shown is that there’s a real sense of an artistic community in Leeds that is committed to helping each other out and that’s really encouraging.”

Anyone with information about the theft should call police on 101.

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