Crowd funding from other creatives makes me want to cry! It’s neither positive, productive or in any way sustainable.
I’ve just received a very polite message asking if I’d be interested in Crowd Funding a new show. The person who sent the message shall remain nameless as they went about it in a perfectly lovely and blameless fashion. But I was completely incensed by it. I’ve just tried to pull apart my anger and this is what I think caused it.
I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life subsidising UK theatre with my time – my love, sweat and tears. I am not alone in this. Every single day the only thing which keeps the theatre industry afloat is the fact we collectively are willing to subsidise it with our free labour. That is why – despite the fact the UK industry receives roughly half the amount of financial support per head of population compared to France and Germany – our output is actually greater than either.
Our government, councils and communities aren’t willing to put the money in to keep the arts alive so we have to do it by sacrificing ourselves. We are potentially idiots for doing it. That’s another discussion. But having spent 10 years subsiding the theatre in this country with my low pay/ no pay labour – now being asked to subsidise it with my own cash as well is just too much for me to take without wanting to scream. In no other industry would the workforce be asked to work for free, then asked to do a whip round to put what little cash they’d manage to scrape together, despite having had to work for free, back into the industry that didn’t pay them in the first place.
Crowd funding – if it is a way to get people from outside the industry to give money – an unofficial tax and subsidy of the arts then thats great. But if it’s just another way for the artistic community to subsidise the industry themselves then it’s neither positive, productive or in any way sustainable.