One of the oldest working theatres in the country has launched a fundraising campaign to save it from closure.

The Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, Yorkshire, which first opened in 1788, is seeking to raise over £120,000 in order to "secure a sustainable future".

Malcolm Bryant, chairman of the Georgian Theatre Royal, said: "If we cannot raise the money that we need then the future of the theatre is under threat... It's very difficult to contemplate the possibility of closing but if we do not get the funding then that could happen to us, as it could to any organisation."

Built by actor-manager Samuel Butler , the 200-seat theatre (pictured) has played host to figures from 19th century star Edmund Kean to Alan Bennett.

Bryant described it as a "truly unique gem of a theatre", adding: "Everyone is aware that this is currently a challenging time for the Arts organisations. This is particularly so for the Georgian Theatre Royal, which, in addition to its artistic programme makes a major contribution to tourism, young people and the wider community."

The fundraising campaign launched today (1 May) with the aim of raising £122,500 in 12 months. See facebook.com/georgiantheatreroyal for more information.