BASINGSTOKE teenagers were invited to see the musical Rent for free in an effort to raise awareness of local charities and support groups. 

On Tuesday, May 16, the Basingstoke Amateur Theatrical Society (BATS) opened their production of Rent at The Haymarket with a special community performance. 

The charity event was made possible thanks to donations made by corporate sponsors Lavazza Professional UK and Zebra Technologies, alongside Hampshire County Councillor community grants.

Students attending from 10 local schools and colleges were given a number of free tickets to see the musical which tackles topics like drug abuse, sexuality, homelessness, mental health, and the impact of HIV/AIDS.

BATS also invited a number of local organisations and charities to the show, with the students encouraged to network with them all before the performance and during the interval. 

READ MORE: Variety of exciting shows to take to Basingstoke theatre's stage

Richard Bond, president of BATS, said: "We were immensely proud to host a special community performance of Rent, raising awareness of the support organisations available to young people in Basingstoke should they, or any of their friends/family, find themselves in a difficult situation and need help, guidance or support.

"Due to the nature of the show and the themes it covers (diversity & inclusion, sexual health, mental health, homelessness, death), we connected with a number of local support organisations who had representatives at the theatre.

"If we can raise awareness of the support that is available to young people in Basingstoke and help just one person in need, then we will have achieved our goal.

"I am so proud that BATS are able to support community engagement projects like this and make a positive impact both on and off the stage."

Groups at the community performance included: 

  • The Samaritans, 
  • NHS Sexual Health Outreach Team, 
  • Breakout Youth UK (LGBT+), 
  • Tough Enough to Care (mental health and suicide), 
  • Community Kit Bag (mental health) 
  • Basingstoke Voluntary Action (community support).