Watch as Unity Theatre CEO Gordon Millar chats about the launch of its new crowdfunder
3 years ago
Liverpool’s Unity Theatre knows there’s an abundance of talent in the city, but even it was surprised when it put out an Open Call for creatives to come forward and submit work for its 2021 season – and received 16 times the number of applications than available places.
The Hope Place Theatre has now launched a Crowdfunder to expand the number of places it can offer and give more artists the chance to be part of its respected programme.
“The response has been amazing,” says Gordon Millar, CEO for the Unity, “and we’ve been blown away. We expected a huge response, but we had 96 applications for just seven places.
“It shows that the need has grown because of the situation we’re in.”
Unity has set its Crowdfunder target at £7,500 to increase the number of places to 10 – and possibly more if the amount is exceeded.
“It’s about giving artists who are perhaps struggling to make a living or those trying to find their way in the industry an opportunity and support,” adds Gordon. “And, by supporting artists, it’s also about making sure we have work to programme for our audiences to enjoy, when we finally emerge from this pandemic.”
The Open Call programme was made to help artists survive and come back stronger after a year of restricted income and opportunities caused by Covid-19, and sent a shout out to a wide range of people from theatre companies to performers, musicians, comedians, puppeteers, and more.
“Local artists have long been the cornerstone of Unity’s mission and we have already tried to support them through the crisis with programmes like our Building A Future events and Creative’pool,” says Gordon.
The Open Call gave artists the chance to submit work for consideration, and to have it professionally recorded, giving their project life beyond a one-off performance. It gives them a resource to share with programmers across the UK with the hope of future bookings.
The programme already features exciting work from Liverpool-based artists including live theatre productions, stand-up comedy, workshops for young people and digital art. And it has been important to theatre bosses that they ensure voices not always represented – including Black and Asian stories, young people, LGBTQI+, disabled and neurodivergent artists – are involved in it.
Gordon says: “The money we raise from the Crowdfunder will go directly into the pockets of artists, which is hugely important to those in immediate need of pay for their work and doing what they’re good at, and to try to help them be sustainable moving forward with the additional support and mentoring that we can offer.”