Blunt Fringe Theatre Production Company

Blunt Fringe is a brand new fringe theatre production company in Belfast aiming to provide a professional platform for our leading talents in musical theatre.

Money, money, money, money: it makes the WORLD GO ROUND?

cabaret.jpeg

There's a song in our show called 'The Money Song' from "Cabaret", where Emcee and Sally sing, 'Money makes the world go round, the world go round, the world go round'. It's got quite a repetitive and, it must be said, convincing refrain.

Money makes the world go round
The world go round, the world go round
Money makes the world go round
It makes the world go round

A mark, a yen, a buck or a pound
A buck or a pound, a buck or a pound
Is all that makes the world go round
That clinking, clanking sound
Can make the world go round

Money, money, money, money
Money, money, money, money
Money, money, money, money, money (Kander, 1966)


If anyone is involved in the arts they will appreciate that money (and the lack thereof) is oft discussed- where can we get money? How can we not lose money? How can we get stuff/ do stuff/ pay actors/ put on a show without money? How can we (God forbid) make money? There's another show about producing a show called "The Producers", where Max talks about money too. His views are very clear:

Max: The two cardinal rules of producing. One: Never put your own money in the show.
Leo: And two?
Max: [yelling] Never put your own money in the show!

The question is, if YOU won't put your own money in the show, who will? Rich old men, it seems. Andrew Lloyd Webber, who is about to open his new show Stephen Ward this weekend (with my darling friend AP at the helm) said that success such as his brought with it certain obligations to the next generation of artists.

"I do believe very strongly that people who have been lucky enough to have the success in their profession like I have must put it back," he said in an interview with the Telegraph. He was speaking at the opening of a new theatre at the Arts Ed School in Chiswick, towards which the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has donated £3.5m. In total his philanthropic trust has donated around £8.5m to the arts.

The fact is without private investment, corporate support and personal philanthropy (although there seem to be significantly fewer rich old ladies or men lurking about in Belfast than there are on Broadway or in London), many arts projects just wouldn't see the light of day. The current coalition government have significantly cut funding to the Arts sector and in turn the Arts Council has had to cut support in many areas.

As a new company I have applied for support from the usual suspects; the Arts Council and DCAL - and some not-so-familiar perhaps; Generator NI and Creative and Cultural Skills, the sectoral skills council. I also applied to the Arthur Guinness Projects which is investing €3m in people and their projects across Ireland over the next three years, celebrating 'the next generation of creative talent in Ireland'. There definitely seems to be lots of 'buzz' around the arts in Northern Ireland at the moment but this doesn't necessarily translate into cold cash support. My issue is that I am setting up a professional theatre company and therefore have to pay my creative team and actors (and everyone else) a professional fee. But because of this, and because of the slight sliver of a chance that I might actually make some money on this (it's highly unlikely, I'm telling you), I am struggling to get funding through the usual channels.

HOWEVER I have been quite taken aback about the amount of help and advice and goodwill that the good people of Norn Iron (and beyond) have been bestowing on Blunt Fringe; everyone willing to help, happy to chat and dole out advice, delighted to meet for coffee and talk theatre.

In the last few weeks I have met with some of the most interesting people in the business, some old friends and some brand new, and have been given unequivocal support from all. On Monday I had a photo shoot to promote the show, where the photographer and the PR consultant donated their services for free. Just like that. 'Don't mention it'. I just received an email this week with some business sponsorship from a family member which I am so grateful for. No problem. 'Happy to help'. Yesterday I contact a friend for help, as I've just hit another hurdle in the production. 'Leave it with me'.

Almost everyone I meet is willing to help, offering their services or their time. I have been quite taken aback by the generosity of spirit and I'm very grateful for it. Honestly, it's heart-warming.

Surely THAT'S what makes the world go round?