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New Diorama sets up 'bank for theatres'

The venue has developed a scheme to help emerging theatre companies

The New Diorama Theatre

The New Diorama Theatre has announced that they will provide interest-free loans for companies, marking the UK's first 'bank for theatres'.

The cash flow fund will provide funding opportunities which may have previously been hard to obtain. The loans will help companies with upfront production costs such as loans for wages, accommodation and venue deposits.

Other financial support will include the UK's only 100/0 box office split in favour of companies. The scheme provides companies who have had initial artistic success the opportunity to become a full-time professional organisation through a series of workshops and networking sessions led by industry experts. Each company is also given an opportunity to perform at New Diorama for which they are paid a fee and keep 100 per cent of the box office.

The theatre also provides two emerging companies with the opportunity of a 'Gifted Week' – a week-long performance, including rehearsal time, marketing and PR support free of charge with the company keeping 100 per cent of the box office.

To help younger companies showcase work, Incoming Festival allows 20 companies to perform across 10 days to help promote new theatre. Tickets are £5 and each company receives a fee for their performances as well as 50 per cent of the box office and a chance to play to a new and expansive audience. The festival also plays host to the Peter Brook Festival Award which sees one company receive a cheque for £1000.

The programme will also include initiatives such as a Female Leadership Fund, a new, free rehearsal space for BAME theatre companies for 40 weeks a year in Central London, European Theatre Travel Grants, in-house technical, marketing and press support, partnerships with regional theatres and universities, full disabled access and STAGETEXT Captioned Performances.

Talking about the new programme, New Diorama's artistic director David Byrne said: "This programme is the culmination of five years work here at New Diorama. When we opened we wanted to have the best Artist Development Programme for theatre companies anywhere in the UK. I think this announcement, full of new ideas and ways of working, really will put us at the centre of the debate as to how we support early-career artists in the country.

A debate that's particularly important at the moment: times are hard for theatre-makers and I've now read every single artist development policy in the country and I think we need to do more."

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