Tom Ratcliffe: My name is Tom Ratcliffe and I’m a playwright and actor recently graduated from The Oxford School of Drama (2015). Circa is my debut play and, after a successful developmental showing at The Old Red Lion Theatre on the 23rd of November, it was picked up and transferred over to Amsterdam where it premièred at the Theater de Meervaart on the 8th of January as part of Bureau Barel’s ‘Festival Contact’.
TR: As you can see from my answer above, the turnaround between a developmental staging and an international première was very quick! We turned to crowdfunding due to time restraint (applications to other sources of funding can take a long time) and the fact that we didn’t need an extraordinarily vast sum. The company taking us over had covered most of the costs but, especially as the play has a cast of 10, we needed to raise extra funds in order to have a set!
TR: It needs to be pushed on social media. Also I think the timing of posts on social media is crucial. We found that when we said we were only a certain percentage away from our target we had an influx of donations. People may not see it the first time you post it so don’t be embarrassed about sharing it again and in different ways. Sometimes it can be a ‘thank you’ to those donated so far etc. Also sometimes you would be surprised at who donates so don’t leave any stone unturned.
TR: Yes I would highly recommend it. A group of my peers and I have started a company (Wildcard) separate to work.Theatre and we certainly intend to use it in the future for that. Especially when your starting out it’s a great way to get your early work funded and put on.
TR: When I look down the list of supporters it’s hard to argue with this. Also when I think about who I was targeting, apart from any and every possible relation of mine, it was undoubtedly people I knew in the industry or people who had seen the work at The Old Red Lion. When people have seen your work and believe in it, they are wanting to invest to help you realise what you want to achieve. Which is wonderful. We did also have some donations from elsewhere (including a large entirely anonymous one) but on the whole it was from fellow actor/artistic folk. But when you’re new and starting out, I would wholly expect the bulk of donations to be from mainly people you know, and by the time your established enough to attract interest from elsewhere, you are probably going to be in a position where funds have been gathered from other sources.