Theatrical triumph supported by Advantage Creative Fund
A highly acclaimed theatrical experience, described by the Sunday Times as the “coolest musical in town by miles,” will enjoy a sell out three night residency at the Birmingham Hippodrome this month due in part through funding from the Advantage Creative Fund.
The £5 million venture capital fund, that specifically supports the creative industries within the West Midlands, invested in the show’s producers and creators UK Arts Productions in 2004.
The investment of £150,000 by the Fund has enabled the company to develop a range of shows that will appear in theatres all over the country and potentially transfer to the West End.
The latest production is called “The Harder They Come” and is based on the iconic seventies film and follows the life of Ivan Martin, a country boy who heads for Kingston with a head full of songs and a dream to become a reggae star.
Reviews for the show, that reaches the Birmingham Hippodrome stage this April, have been extremely positive and UK Arts Productions are hopeful that the musical will continue to sell out theatres for years to come.
UK Arts Productions, founded and run by Jan Ryan, who used to work at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, approached the Advantage Creative Fund with a business plan to create a series of shows that could be developed into full scale theatrical productions and attract additional investors.
The attraction of a venture capital fund for the company was that it would allow the freedom to develop shows, traditionally a complex and expensive process, without having to solely rely on subsidies.
The Advantage Creative Fund with its focus on West Midlands based creative industries was an obvious partner for UK Arts.
With “The Harder They Come” now having had successful London runs at Stratford East and the Barbican, the show now comes to Birmingham where the show’s creators are based and reside.
For ACF Investment Manager Rex Bird, the proposition for an investment partnership with UK Arts was an attractive one for the Fund.
“It is notoriously difficult for small theatre producers to get significant funding to develop shows. Unless you are produced by one of the main London production companies, then it is almost impossible to raise funds to stage commercial productions. This is where funding from ACF can help as a venture capital fund specifically targeting creative projects and ideas we can take a longer term view with our investment and also provide not only the funding but business and strategic support.
“We were impressed with the business plan presented to us by Jan and her undoubted pedigree in theatre. Therefore we are delighted the current show has been such a success with both critics and audiences alike. As UK Arts use this profile to now find additional investment the partnership and backing from ACF has undoubtedly been the impetus for the company to move forward.”
Visit the UK Arts Productions website, www.ukarts.com