Fringe theatres in Camden have launched a new website where producers will be able to attempt to raise investment and recruit volunteers for projects they have in development.
The site, camdentheatres.com, was the brainchild of Camden Council and the Camden Theatre Consortium, a group of fringe venues in the borough including the Bloomsbury and Shaw theatres. The council and the consortium have jointly funded the scheme so far with £10,000.
Producers who want to stage a show in Camden are invited to make a short video pitch for their production and publish a budget, incorporating both money and skill needs, online. Visitors to the site can then donate in blocks of £25 to any of the productions listed, or volunteer their skills.
All projects will be backed by a local theatre manager and the consortium has agreed to guarantee a venue for any shows which reach their production budgets. If a project does not meet its targets, the show’s supporters will be contacted and asked if they would like to continue to fund the project regardless, or would rather be refunded.
Introducing the scheme last week, Shaw Theatre artistic director John-Jackson Almond said: “The website itself is a great way to capitalise your projects and generate budgets for the projects which, very often, is the biggest barrier to getting a show off the ground and running.”
Senior arts development officer at Camden Council Chris Mellor added: “We got our theatres trying to do a bit more working together and more joined up. I hope some of the other London boroughs might learn from it. So, I am hopeful that others will copy and help to develop the scheme.”
Money raised towards each production will only be available to the producer when the overall budget target has been hit. In the interim, it will be held by an independent party.
People who donate their money and skills will be offered free or discounted tickets, access to special events or credits in the programme as incentives.
The Camden Theatre Consortium was set up last year with the aim of local theatres helping each other face the recession and to devise a joint audience development plan to increase local patrons.
The London Borough of Camden encompasses more than 35 theatres,.