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The Guardian Blog talks theatre money

Monday, 22 November, 2010

The Guardian’s Theatre Blog has been talking corporate funding. Here’s what the paper’s Chris Wilkinson has to say, with a lot of very big numbers being revealed!

“We begin this week by raising a glass to Guy Yedwab of the Culture Future blog. Yedwab is discussing (or perhaps toasting) the role that alcohol plays in creating theatre. He was intrigued by the news that Punchdrunk have recently cut a deal to promote Stella Artois. He points out that this is really “just a symbol of the relationship the arts have today with alcohol. I’ve joked about it before, but the young theater companies I know are basically in the debt of the alcohol industry. We get people to come to our fundraisers through the lure of alcohol, among other things.” Far from being nervous about this kind of corporate sponsorship, he explains that he is currently trying to arrange something between his own theatre company and an alcohol distributor and points out that one of his “favorite art groups”, Fresh Ground Pepper, has “kept its commitment to not charging tickets largely through its sale of alcohol – and here I am jealous that they’ve got the hook-up!”

Cast and crew of 'Yard Gal' from the Oval House receive their Fringe Report Award

“Although it should never be seen as a substitute for public funding, this kind of creative approach to fundraising is going to become ever more important. As arts organisations struggle to make ends meet, not only are they going to have to think laterally about where they get their income from, they are going to need to cut their costs as well. It is this fact that makes the recent revelations about the astronomically high pay for the top executives at the Royal Opera House all the more shocking. Aleks Sierz explains that: “Tony Hall, the ROH’ s chief executive, earns more than £390,000 a year while Antonio Pappano, the conductor and musical director, earns £630,000.” And he goes on to point out that “the truth is mind-boggling: at a time when lots of small arts groups are facing an end to their subsidy, which is often less than the salaries of each of these individuals, the ROH fat rats are shamelessly racking it in!”

Needless to say, Chris’s views aren’t (necessarily) those of Fringe Report Uncut, but if there are any potential sponsors, donors and supporters (whether producers of beer or not) out there, then the Fringe Report Awards might be a good place to come. A valuable youth audience, an amazing platform for PR, celebrities? (Well, minor ones). The Fringe Report can give a bored PR almost everything a brand could wish for, at a bargain-basement cracking price that’s probably less than a lunch for the MD.

Want to find out more? Email john@fringereport.com for details!

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