John Myatt, 26 January 2015

… Ideas and experience in funding new musical theatre


Crowdfunding is huge now. An accepted norm when raising money for creative

projects. But has it's size and length of service begun to affect support? I called the

session to see what's worked, what's still working, and what could work when raising

funds to get a new musical off the ground.


First off, why we need the £££. Because we need to pay the creative team. £ leads to

commitment and a better result. If you can't pay, it's easier for those involved to fall

away, or for the show to find a home.

Start with ArtsAdmin on YouTube

Great source for experience and opportunities. ArtsAdmin

Kickstarter has its limits… there's some issue with donating to a project that's also

being funded by AC (also known as your ‘tax dollar’) and THEN buying a ticket, so

supporters are paying three times over. Plus there's so much competition for attention

and support, with circles of friends and regular calls on small amounts.

New project! New hope! Phundee … offers two models for support: donation AND

investment. It's a new place in a crowded space AND it gives supporters the

opportunity to be ‘exec’ producers.

Mercury Musicals (MM) …just join and make the most of a connected network.

Support isn't just funding … in-kind can be sourced from other makers in the network

… the Arts Council include in-kind support (eg. rehearsal room hire) when considering


Perfect Pitch (PP) are also a good place to start, as potential support for R&D (and

then some). Although there was some talk of ‘gatekeeper’ support, there was an

agreement that both MM and PP can/will be interested in events that show your work

is on its feet and looking for an audience.


It's not just lines and logos on the marketing.There's the opportunity to source an

appropriate brand that can be used in the show.The example: rum for a musical about

Latin America. Some distant memory about an opera at Holland Park with champagne

sponsorship that meant lots of free drink before the show, and a very engaged

audience. Is alcohol an issue? Is sponsorship an issue? Why not? So long as the

content remains as intended: no adulteration. It's about fitting the brand to what's

already there. Or how about hooking up with a non-theatre venue (eg hotel): develop a

nice, symbiotic relationship that brings rehearsal space and generates a market for


R&D on the road

Run some R&D taster sessions that not only trial material: also raise profile and open

up avenues of financial support. Suggestions included Soho House, the Phoenix Bar ,

regional theatres, ..

Scottee on crowdfunding

Performance artist Scottee has some good ‘this is how it is’ in his blog (somewhere …)


It's not all 26 and under. Go here for funding opps, whatever your age.

Don't forget the Arts Council

Funding is avaialble for R&D, either £15K and under, or over £15K. Usual turnaround

from application to decision and funding is around 9 weeks, or they will give a ‘no’

much sooner. for musical theatre, a great contact is James Hadley.


Linda, Dan, German, Jen, Tania, Bridget, Anna, Prijanka and Eddie.


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