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Come From Away inspires local food drive success



To coincide with the heartwarming musical Come From Away, Theatrical Lydia, in collaboration with Mayflower Theatre, orchestrated a successful food bank drive.

This initiative successfully gathered over 25 crates of food, which have since been generously donated to the Feed The Community Foodbank in Southampton. This considerable contribution is expected to sustain the foodbank for more than four weeks.

The food bank drive was part of the Pay It Forward 9/11 initiative, which encourages acts of kindness. Theatre-goers were asked to bring along items to donate, and the response was overwhelmingly positive, showcasing the tremendous generosity of the audience.

Come From Away is more than just a musical; it is a profound narrative of compassion, community spirit, and resilience. It tells the true story of 7,000 air passengers stranded during the 9/11 attacks and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. The community’s open arms and hearts are at the core of the story, reflecting their readiness to share everything they had.

Lydia Greatrix of Theatrical Lydia with some of the food donated during Come From Away

The journey of Theatrical Lydia alongside the Come From Away tour across the UK began after Lydia first experienced the show in December 2019. It was then that she met Laura Townsend, a passionate advocate for the show, who had seen it over 150 times globally. Following Laura’s tragic passing last June, Lydia resolved to honour her friend’s memory by continuing the “Pay It Forward” campaign across the UK. This commitment led to the collaboration with Mayflower Theatre, sparking the idea for the food bank drive.

The “Pay It Forward 9/11” campaign was initiated by Kevin Tuerff, a real-life character from Come From Away. This global movement aims to replicate the kindness of the Newfoundlanders who inspired the musical, promoting acts of goodwill to honour their spirit.

Michael Ockwell, Chief Executive of Mayflower Theatre, remarked on the success of the collaboration with Theatrical Lydia: “The response to our food bank drive has been incredible. It truly demonstrates the power of community unity in achieving remarkable results. We are immensely proud of our audience and are confident this will have a significant impact on the community.”


Lydia Greatrix of Theatrical Lydia shared her gratitude: “I’m completely taken aback by the generosity and compassion shown by the patrons of Mayflower Theatre through our Pay It Forward Food Bank Drive. Thank you to everyone who opened their hearts and cupboards and showed some true Newfoundland kindness by pulling together as a community to make this happen. I’m so pleased to hear about the huge difference all the donations are going to make.”

Kevin Tuerff, President and Founder of Pay It Forward 9/11, echoed these sentiments, calling the food bank drive a “smashing success.” He drew parallels between the kindness shown in Southampton and that of the Canadians who supported thousands of stranded passengers on 9/11.

Victoria Ugwoeme, Manager of Feed the Community Foodbank, expressed heartfelt thanks to all contributors: “We want to say a massive thank you to everyone who donated to support the Food Bank Drive organised by Mayflower Theatre and Theatrical Lydia. Southampton audiences have shown how kind-hearted they can be. We are overjoyed by the sheer volume of donations which will help ensure our service users don’t go hungry.”

The spirit of Come From Away and the story of human kindness it represents continue to inspire and bring communities together, demonstrating the profound impact of theatre beyond the stage.