Written evidence submitted by Julie Clare Productions
This submission is from Julie Clare Productions, an Olivier award-winning theatrical production company working in commercial, West End, off-West End and fringe theatre since 2014. Julie Clare is a recipient of the Stage One Bursary (2016). Stage One is the arm of Society of London Theatres (SOLT) that supports new/emerging producers. Previous productions that we have created/been involved with include, In The Heights, Chinglish, Fleabag, Dear Evan Hansen, Betrayal, Snow Queen, Yes Queens, Cyrano De Bergerac, Showstopper The Improvised Musical. 20.4.20
I’m submitting evidence because myself and too many of my fellow producers are falling through the cracks.
The issues, as I understand them are:
Producers at this level generally do not have rateable premises
We don’t qualify for any of the government business loans available.
Many take their remuneration in the form of a very small PAYE wage and then in dividends. As head of our own companies, we can’t furlough ourselves.
We are working hard, with no remuneration and large losses, to wind up productions that were in progress or ones that were in preparation but can no longer happen – trying, wherever possible, to pay people at least something. As an example, one colleague has had to cancel 15 shows she was taking to the Edinburgh Festival plus two tours and one off-West End show. That’s her entire income for the year and she has no government or Arts Council Support whatsoever.
Arts Council England (ACE) are so far doing a great job. But their criteria also mean that people are falling through the cracks. From my personal perspective, I have two projects slated for the Autumn (one in partnership with the Bush and the Young Vic, the other at Park Theatre) but can’t apply for funding because I haven’t received any public money in the last three years (although I did in 2014 from ACE and for 2020 from the Royal Society of Literature, but, under the current ACE criteria the latter is not considered public funding). The entire ACE budget for this year and next is going towards helping artists and organisations in crisis. I understand this. But the knock on effect is there will be no project grants awarded that will help us:
a) develop new work/existing projects during the crisis which would give work to the freelancers in the creative industries who desperately need it
b) have work ready to go once the crisis is over
Smaller venues are going under meaning that there won’t be enough performance spaces for producers to tour to. Cancelled shows that are being rebooked into venues will cause a lag of at least a year before any new work can be produced.