View single post by muncy
 Posted: Sun Dec 27th, 2009 11:01 am
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Joined: Sun Dec 31st, 2006
Location: Cheshire, United Kingdom
Posts: 331

Thank you for your post. I think that you should be congratulated for having the bottle to come on here and defend something that you believe in when you know the majority view of the forum. I respect you for that. However, you have not changed my opinion.

It is interesting that the festival was conceived by a group of actors sick of the expense and uncertainty of Edinburgh. How enterprising to set up a festival on their own doorstep to showcase their talents, at no risk to themselves because it is paid for by writers. How about I hire a theatre and put on one of my own plays and have this paid for by actors who will have to pay to be in it? I'm being flippant but the comparison is not unreasonable.

More worrying is the revelation that it is not just a £30 fee to enter, but the writer/producer is expected to meet the costs of the production. I know about the fee because I read the terms and conditions of entry - at no point does it mention that if I am 'successful' I will be expected to fork out several hundred pounds. Not only is this misleading I'm not even sure it is legal! I have to question what the organisers do with the sponsorship money from the co-op. I had assumed that this went to meet production costs but apparently not. The organisers are making money from the submission fee, a proportion of ticket sales and they get sponsorship. I am sure that this more than adequately covers the cost of their posters and website!

As to the original point of contention, the fee, I cannot accept the arguments that you put forward. There are many ways to receive worthwhile feedback on our writing. This forum is one of them and, in the UK, the BBC provide an excellent, free, service providing that the writing is of a reasonable standard.

It is true that if an author cannot afford thirty quid he will not be able to afford the several hundred of pounds required to put on a production. Unfortunately this information is not made generally available to the audience. They will attend the festival thinking that they are seeing the best new writing, not just plays written by people with plenty of disposable income.

This brings me to the final point about the fee. If you look around this forum you will read numerous success stories from the writers who come on here. Speaking for myself, I might not be the next Alan Bennett but I have had some success. In the last year I have been a finalist at three festivals and won two and I have never paid a penny to enter a festival. I am concerned that writers who do stump up the thirty quid will either be unaware that a fee is not the norm or they have never had any success submitting work to other festivals. If the latter is true then 24-7 is a festival of unsuccessful plays.

The shame is that this whole thing is a missed opportunity. Manchester is a vibrant, exciting city with many brilliant theatres and a public keen to support the arts. If this festival was run on equal terms so that everyone involved had the same risk and the same potential then I would be singing its praises. Unfortunately all the information that I have points to the fact that the limited company behind the festival are in it for the money first and for art second.

This isn't a personal attack on you David. As I said at the beginning, I admire you for standing up for something you believe in but I suspect that this is something on which we will never agree.