The Funding Conundrum at The Finborough: An exploration of the funding and payment challenges faced by London’s leading fringe theatre.

Healy, Sue (2022) The Funding Conundrum at The Finborough: An exploration of the funding and payment challenges faced by London’s leading fringe theatre. Comparative Drama Special Issue - London's Theatre: Places, Communities, Futures . ISSN 0010-4078

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The Funding Conundrum at The Finborough
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Abstract

The multi-award winning Finborough Theatre is a tiny fringe theater venue in London that is broadly considered to ‘punch above its weight’. This diminutive venue has incubated important theatre talent since it was founded in 1980. The Finborough’s stated aim is to champion and foster new writers, and revive pre-WWII neglected classics. Very largely unfunded, in order to achieve, maintain and progress these joint objectives, the theater has had to be innovative and canny in terms of financing projects, and has relied heavily on good will and industry willingness to work for significantly reduced payment, in exchange for experience and/or exposure. There is now a growing and understandable pressure for fair pay however, which has been amplified on social media in recent years.
In an interview here, the theater’s artistic director, Neil McPherson, agrees that it is difficult to defend the theater’s history of poor payment but argues that current alternatives would be impossible to implement, and it would be difficult to achieve the same measure of success and prolific programming if funding conditions had to be met.
I situate The Finborough within a number of theatrical, historical, critical, political and cultural contexts. I consider its complex relationship with funding and with Equity, and explore criticism its payment policy, revealing the ideological positions on which such assessments rest and tracing how they sit in practical terms and what viable routes there are to progress.

Keywords:Funding, fringe, theatre, theater, Finborough
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W440 Theatre studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (Journalism)
ID Code:47314
Deposited On:19 Nov 2021 11:34

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