The Sectors: Commercial v Subsidized

Convener(s): David Luff

Participants: About 3

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Issues discussed:

  • - different funding models
  • - sustainability of both sectors
  • - ticket prices
  • - audience figures
  • - marketing + outreach + audience development 


  • - towards building upkeep
  • - towards “art”
  • - towards new audiences and the “young”
  • - towards society in general
  • - who should artists answer to?

Partnerships for funding between both sectors and the collaborations that can emerge: e.g. Kneehigh and Pugh& Rogers with Brief Encounter

Where does the Fringe fall? Is it subsidized or commercial?

  • Freedom of Artistic Content - which has more freedom?

-Does the need to to adhere to Arts Council priorities restrict the amount of freedom that subsidized companies can expect to have?

- Are commercial producers “freer” in any sense in that they can produce whatever they want, or are they held back due to the need to make a profit?

- Which sector is best placed to create art for arts sake, as opposed to art governed by political objectives, or art decided by popularity?


Ticket prices:

  • - Should there be a compulsion on commercial producers to always have a certain amount of cheap tickets (e.g. £10) for people? Or for this sector, should market forces always work unfettered – with producers charging whatever they want.
  • Fundamentally trying to work out whether creativity can flourish in the commercial sector – in a sector driven by profit? What are the necessary ingredients for creativity?