March 2, 2016
When I was at infant school, we went on a trip to Sunderland Empire to see a puppet show of Pinocchio. I have enjoyed theatre ever since. I am full of admiration for the creative teams and the actors who bring such pleasure night after night.
I first began investing in theatre when I saw an advert in a theatre programme seeking investment in a company being set up to support drama productions. I invested and then really enjoyed the sense of involvement it gave me. I got to know a number of theatre producers and was given the opportunity to get further involved.
I see the investments as being made in a good cause and therefore get reward from seeing the pleasure the productions bring, quite apart from any financial success. I also get to attend first nights and meet the actors!
I invest in a diverse mix of productions: from pre-school age children’s productions to serious drama. I am particularly interested in musical theatre though. Current productions include Hairspray, Singleß Spies and Peppa Pig – all which will visit or have visited the Theatre Royal in Newcastle.
I am now known to theatre producers and they approach me with ideas. Rather than look at it on a production-by-production basis, I tend to back the individual producer and invest in a portfolio of their work.
Investing in theatre is not something I’d recommend to anyone from an financial perspective – although I am still, personally, in the black. That is mainly because I was lucky enough to invest in the Andrew Lloyd Webber shows in the West End where casting was chosen on prime time BBC1 reality shows – this created a real buzz and it set me up financially for my hobby.
Investing in theatre is an unusual hobby but everyone I know is supportive. I’ve regularly taken family and friends to first nights and productions. They’ve loved that.
One of my favourite productions I’ve been to is Sunset Boulevard, which I saw in London in 1993. I went in the opening week and it really felt like an event. The music, singing and acting all came together and there was a rousing standing ovation at the end. I am going to see Glen Close in the same musical in London in May.
I think the North East is very lucky to host some great touring productions at the main regional theatres. We also have producing houses like the Live Theatre and Northern Stage which we should all support. Added in the Sage Gateshead and I think we’ve very well catered for.
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