When I started working in theatre fifteen years ago, funding was much easier to access. And I benefited enormously from the mentoring and support of more established artists. But after almost a decade of austerity, it's incredibly hard for young and emerging artists to get a foothold on the funding ladder, and it's easy for them to feel like they've no support.
Most of us spend about 40% of our income on crowdfunders designed to plug the gap in someone's budget. But it's incredibly hard to make your show and fundraise for it as well, so I thought I'd help someone out by fundraising on their behalf.
And lots of people run marathons and 10Ks to raise money for their show. But running those sorts of races is my hobby, and I can hardly ask you to give me money to do something I do for fun.
So. In September I'm going to run the Grand Tour of Skiddaw . It's a 44-mile race including a climb of one of England's highest mountains. That's a proper challenge, that is.
The money you donate will (this site's small fee aside) 100% go to fund an emerging artist to make their show. I've paid the race entry fee and I'll cover my own travel and accommodation for it. The rewards detailed below all come from me. Your donation funds their show. Simple as that.
Who is the artist? I've put a callout on my website for all those interested to get in touch. It will probably be someone with one or two shows under their belt; it will probably be someone whose work engages in social or political issues; it may very well be someone from the north of England. It may be that they are none of those things. It could be someone with whom I have an existing mentoring or working relationship, but if so I promise to take no paid role in the project: I have no skin in the game.
Once I've shortlisted, I'll get some people who don't look like me to help me make the final decision. I will update this page once they've been identified, which will be early April. But my wife is expecting a baby any day now, so I wanted to get this page up and moving in the meantime. Some of you will prefer to wait until you know what the project is before donating. OBVIOUSLY I will make an excellent choice but all the same THAT'S FINE.
If this turns out to have been a good idea, then I'll find a bigger challenge next year and do it all over again. In which case, over time, the supported emerging artists and companies will come reflect the demographic diversity of the country. But you'll have to come back in five years to hold me to that.
IT'S A REALLY LONG HARD RACE. GIVE ME YOUR MONEY.
This website doesn't seem to have a formal system for giving rewards, so I'm just listing a few things here. Every level of reward also includes all the rewards above.
If you give £20 I will record you a personal thank you message from the finish line of the race.
If you give £30 I will record you a personal thank you message from the finish line of the race, and also give you a free ticket to one of my shows (your choice of show and venue, which is obviously subject to availability).
If you give £50 I will give you the above and you can bring a friend to the show.
If you give £100 I will give you all of the above and also write you a bespoke training plan for a race of your choice.
If you give £200 I will give you all of the above and also coach you through that race.
If you give £500 I will give you all of the above and take you on a personal tour of as much of the race route as you choose, up to and including re-running the full route with you. Please note that I will not do this in the days immediately after running it the first time round, because I expect my legs will be fucked.
If you give £1000 I will have some sort of cardiac arrest, and then immediately increase the target on the fundraising page. Plus all the above. Twice.