30th January 2016 – I am back from New York. I have an essay deadline in two weeks and I have not started the reading yet. This is the last Saturday of my long absence from work, and the feeling of a real weekend creeps up on me. I am on the bus and I go to the library. Not to study, but to put down on paper our actual budget. I can say many things about my real job, but one of them is not “I have not benefited from it one bit”. Why in the library and not at home? I live in one of those classic Victorian flats, very pretty, but also very fucking cold.
I have had doubts over Edinburgh. Because, realistically, previewing in London and transferring to Edinburgh in less than three months means running two productions at the same time with all the consequences. I am going from never knowing anything about theatre to having to find two venues, two date-slots to propose this, as well as sorting out accommodation, travel and transportation. The Marketing campaign is also very complicated, addressing two different crowds. Arranging press for both shows.
When we talk about this with Lizzie over a coffee, the previous Wednesday, she categorically rules out London and says we should then only go to Edinburgh. The level of exposure there is much higher as well as the possibility to be seen by “the people who really count” and she may contribute financially and she may have free accommodation guaranteed for all. Back in November I chose Lizzie because she was assertive and ballsy and she reconfirms this. I leave our meeting focused on Edinburgh.
It’s Saturday, though, and the numbers and fees have followed one another on my colorful spreadsheet. It is simply not doable. Edinburgh, so far, without counting props, is £7979.20 more expensive than London.
The reasoning is simple: if I wouldn’t invest so much money in this – and it is my own play that I have dreamt putting on for a year – why would anyone else?
I explain this to Lizzie in an email at the end of the evening, attaching the budget and giving her my version of things. With death in my heart I admit to myself that she may pull out if we do not go to Edinburgh.
But I have decided. We are not. Also because, all of a sudden, a primitive thought lands on me, the clear memory of the sheer feeling I have had that morning, when I decided I was going to self produce. That I wouldn’t have done it for exposure or to get back the money invested. I would have done it because I needed and wanted to put up a play. Whether my actors would have been perfoming in front of empty seats, whether my money would have simply disappeared, it didn’t matter and, again, it wasn’t mattering now.
Because I am young, because I am passionate, because I believe. And also because! I am balancing my life between a part time MA, a full time job and very little money for myself. I have the luxury to keep theatre in a happy place, away from anxieties and expectations.
Call me stupid. But, oh, how well I live right now!
5th February 2016 – Lizzie texts to let me know that after a week of thinking and rummaging, she has decided she won’t do the play.
We are happy to share the full version of our budgeting sheet. Contact us on our Facebook page.