Who Pays?

Roland Oliver, 30 June 2012

An opening session on Day 1, suggested by Roland Oliver and attended by: Hannah Drake, Rew Lowe, Emma Earle, Kelly Smith, Bryn Holding, Ali Robertson, Rosanna Croom, Becc Lawson, Zoe Heron, Ali Campbell, Justin Palmer, Lee Simpson, Tom Bailey and Astrid Breel.

The question was prompted by my own long experience of struggling to make a living as a professional actor.
That theme was picked up by most of us with an acknowledgment that there is a particular difficulty after initial self-subsidised successes.

Thereafter two main discussion streams emerged:

1. Existing public funding:
a. How do you access it?
b. How are reputations forged?
c. Who should make the choices?
e. Might loans rather than grants be a better option?
d. Is it possible to ensure that the artist/actor receives a significant proportion of the funds?

As might be expected, we all thought the artist should get more of the cake but we were also aware that not everybody thought highly of the arts or approved subsidy for

them. Lee suggested that we needed to be much sharper in making our case for the arts, particularly by emphasising their economic benefit to the country.

2. Other ways to get the money

a. Revenue from providing other services - bars, outreach, classes and so on.
b. Establishing contacts with local businesses and forging mutually advantageous relationships.
c. Finding or being a producer with the skills to develop a and b above.
d. Finding ways of receiving and learning from feedback, both from audiences and fellow professionals in the field, being self-critical and striving to combine excellence and popularity.
e. Think carefully about where you perform, remembering that many people can be daunted by a building.
d. Therefore, it is perhaps better to stay in one place and build a local reputation.

Nobody thought that money should be handed out for self-indulgence but all believed passionately in the value of theatre in its various forms and and expected to make personal sacrifices to keep it going.


earning a living, money, career second stage, audiences, criticism, popularity, sponsors, local reputations, Funding, sharing, professionals, economics, feedback, funding