Peterborough community donates tens of thousands of empties to support The Theatre On King

'Toast TTOK' drive has raised $3,000 so far in support of Peterborough's only black-box theatre

Over the past month, Peterborough residents and businesses have donated tens of thousands of empty alcohol bottles and cans to The Theatre On King in downtown Peterborough. Vvolunteers have sorted and deposited the empties, raising more than $3,000 to date for Peterborough's only black-box theatre, which has been forced to remain closed since the pandemic began. Pictured from left to right: Sarah McNeilly, Shannon McKenzie, Ryan Kerr, Kate Story, and Eryn Lidster. (Photo: Julie Gagne)
Over the past month, Peterborough residents and businesses have donated tens of thousands of empty alcohol bottles and cans to The Theatre On King in downtown Peterborough. Vvolunteers have sorted and deposited the empties, raising more than $3,000 to date for Peterborough's only black-box theatre, which has been forced to remain closed since the pandemic began. Pictured from left to right: Sarah McNeilly, Shannon McKenzie, Ryan Kerr, Kate Story, and Eryn Lidster. (Photo: Julie Gagne)

Local residents and businesses have rallied behind The Theatre On King (TTOK), Peterborough’s only black-box theatre, donating tens of thousands of empty alcohol bottles and cans to help the theatre make it through the pandemic.

The theatre launched its ‘Toast TTOK’ empties drive on November 21st, with people encouraged to bring their empties to TTOK at 171 King Street in downtown Peterborough every Saturday.

Since the pandemic began, the theatre has been forced to remain closed. Like other performance venues, the lack of ticket revenue has threatened TTOK’s financial viability.

“Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that our empties drive would be this successful,” says Kate Story, TTOK director of communications. “We’ve raised over $3,000 so far — at 10 cents a can, that means our volunteers have sorted and deposited tens of thousands of bottles and cans.”

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The campaign is continuing this Saturday (December 19), and will then take a holiday break until the new year, when it will resume for two more Saturdays (January 2nd and January 9th).

“The community support has been amazing,” says Ryan Kerr, TTOK’s artistic director.

“So many people have donated so many empties to help ensure the Theatre On King will make it to the other side of this pandemic. It has meant the world to feel so supported.”

“Beyond the much needed and appreciated financial support that will help keep the lights on, it’s really lifted our spirits to see that so many people care about The Theatre On King and want to do what they can to see us through this crisis,” Kerr says.

In addition to donations from local residents, eight Peterborough bars and restaurants — Ashburnham Ale House, Black Horse Pub, Kettle Drums, Le Petit Bar, The Olde Stone Brewing Co., Publican House Brew Pub, Rare, and St. Veronus — also donated all their empties produced on Giving Tuesday (December 1).

“We are so grateful for all of the support we’ve received,” Story says. “Our supporters are heroes, especially the local restaurants that donated empties to support our campaign.”

“Their generosity at a time like this has been incredible.” Kerr adds, referring to bars and restaurants being among the businesses hardest hit by the pandemic,

The Black Horse Pub has taken its support one step further, by committing to donate to TTOK all empties produced every Tuesday for the entire month of December.

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“We also want to thank our amazing team of volunteers, without whom none of this would be possible,” Story says. “It’s beginning to feel like we might actually make it to the other side of this.”

To show your support for The Theatre On King this holiday season, you can bring your empties to TTOK at 171 King Street between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 19th.

If you can’t make it to TTOK, you can also arrange for volunteers to pick up your empties from your home between 11 a.m. and noon on Saturday.

For more information about the Toast TTOK empties drive and to learn how to arrange a porch pick-up, visit ttok.ca.

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