Cash-starved Creation is facing final curtain

thisisoxfordshire: Creation’s development manager Rebecca de la Bedoyere Creation’s development manager Rebecca de la Bedoyere

ONE of Oxford’s best known theatre companies has just months to raise thousands of pounds or it will effectively cease to exist.

Since its formation in 1996 Creation Theatre has made a name for itself with its quirky, outdoor settings.

But attendances at the company’s summer production of The Merchant of Venice were significantly down because of the poor weather.

This has left the St Clement’s-based theatre company looking for £50,000 by the end of the financial year in order to survive.

Geoffrey Bryant, chair of Creation’s board of trustees, said: “As a charity we cannot trade without sufficient funds.

“Our Christmas show will go ahead and we have robust plans to deliver an exciting artistic programme for 2013 whilst undertaking significant cost savings, but in order to put these plans into action we must raise £50,000 this year.

“We are seeking funding from various streams and are appealing to the people of Oxfordshire, business leaders and anyone who values culture in Oxford, to get in touch.

“Our immediate priority is securing donations, and we are also eager to talk to individuals and companies about underwriting future projects, offering services, and support in kind.”

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June was Oxfordshire’s wettest on record, with 149mm of rain compared to just 46.7mm on average.

July saw 91.6mm of rain compared with an average of 53.5mm while August saw nearly 30mm more rainfall than usual.

As a result the company was £30,000 down on what it takes during an average year.

Creation’s commercial director, Lucy Askew, said: “We have significantly cut this year’s spending in order to give ourselves a fighting chance of survival.

“Core staffing has been reduced by 58 per cent and the remaining team of five is covering the work of 12 people by working additional hours without pay and sacrificing time off.”

Creation is Oxfordshire’s largest theatre producer and was founded by David Parrish after he turned his back on a career in banking.

It has staged performances on the city’s rooftops, in its parks and shops, and even in the Cowley car factory.

And in 10 years audience numbers have rocketed from 3,500 in 1996 to more than 50,000 in 2006.

The company works towards pocketing nearly £200,000 from its summer performance, which allows it to pays its costs and put something away for the next season.

Rebecca de la Bedoyere, Creation’s development manager, said: “The trustees are very concerned about going into a new financial year in a situation where we are insolvent so they are not willing to take the risk of producing any more shows next year.

“If we didn’t raise the money we would essentially go into hibernation. No work would be produced and any staff left would be made redundant.

“We might be able to continue our education work with one member of staff but there would be no other work going on.”

Despite the financial woes, Creation says its Christmas show will go ahead as planned.

The production of Aladdin and the Magical Lamp at the North Wall Arts Centre in Summertown, starts on Thursday, December 6, and runs for about a month.

Tickets cost between £13.50 and £25 and are available from creationtheatre.co.uk.

To make a donation, or offer any other help, call 01865 761393 or email helpcreation@ creationtheatre.co.uk

Comments (4)

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2:25pm Thu 18 Oct 12

C0ncerned says...

Yet again Creation have got the begging bowls out.

They keep pulling this same trick. They have been in this position many, many times in the past - and one thing is clear: they are never going to be a self-sustaining business.

This is at least the third time in their existence that they have faced financial meltdown - surely that tells them something.

Creation should be allowed to fail - putting any more money in now is simply throwing good money after bad.

They have had plenty of time to rethink the way they work, to adapt to the conditions that exist in Oxford - and they simply have not done so.

Oxford has a very vibrant theatrical scene and whilst it would be sad to see a company go under, Creation should accept that they have had a good try but their way of working is simply not viable.

Put the begging bowls away - enough is enough
Yet again Creation have got the begging bowls out. They keep pulling this same trick. They have been in this position many, many times in the past - and one thing is clear: they are never going to be a self-sustaining business. This is at least the third time in their existence that they have faced financial meltdown - surely that tells them something. Creation should be allowed to fail - putting any more money in now is simply throwing good money after bad. They have had plenty of time to rethink the way they work, to adapt to the conditions that exist in Oxford - and they simply have not done so. Oxford has a very vibrant theatrical scene and whilst it would be sad to see a company go under, Creation should accept that they have had a good try but their way of working is simply not viable. Put the begging bowls away - enough is enough C0ncerned
  • Score: -2

3:06pm Thu 18 Oct 12

paul from Kennington says...

Surely an appeal to that nice Mr Webber would result in him donating his spare change. That should keep them going for years to come, don't all the "luvvies" help each other out?
Surely an appeal to that nice Mr Webber would result in him donating his spare change. That should keep them going for years to come, don't all the "luvvies" help each other out? paul from Kennington
  • Score: -55

10:23am Fri 19 Oct 12

Tiger1ily says...

Creation Theatre Company is a valuable addition to the Oxford scene and its loss would be a sad one. I saw its production of The Merchant of Venice this summer and loved it. It was of a very high standard. I enjoyed it more than many productions at the Playhouse or the Globe.
http://www.oxfordpro
spect.co.uk/The-Merc
hant-of-Venice.html
Without a doubt this excellent company has been hard hit by the terrible weather combined with the sharp recession. When I saw The Merchant of Venice the auditorium was 2/3 empty, yet it was a cracking good show.
I think it is a pity they no longer perform in Oxford Castle, but one thing is certain: the CREATION THEATRE COMPANY IS AN ASSET TO OXFORD and we should do everything that we can to encourage it and enable it to survive. If you know any rich "angels", ask them to put their hands in their pockets now. Let's appeal for Lottery funding, private contributions, emergency loans, anything to keep these talented young people in the business!

NB I think the message above of the person calling themselves "COncerned" is rude and deplorable.
Creation Theatre Company is a valuable addition to the Oxford scene and its loss would be a sad one. I saw its production of The Merchant of Venice this summer and loved it. It was of a very high standard. I enjoyed it more than many productions at the Playhouse or the Globe. http://www.oxfordpro spect.co.uk/The-Merc hant-of-Venice.html Without a doubt this excellent company has been hard hit by the terrible weather combined with the sharp recession. When I saw The Merchant of Venice the auditorium was 2/3 empty, yet it was a cracking good show. I think it is a pity they no longer perform in Oxford Castle, but one thing is certain: the CREATION THEATRE COMPANY IS AN ASSET TO OXFORD and we should do everything that we can to encourage it and enable it to survive. If you know any rich "angels", ask them to put their hands in their pockets now. Let's appeal for Lottery funding, private contributions, emergency loans, anything to keep these talented young people in the business! NB I think the message above of the person calling themselves "COncerned" is rude and deplorable. Tiger1ily
  • Score: 0

10:50am Fri 19 Oct 12

C0ncerned says...

Given that Creation is set up as a charity, the trustees have a legal duty to see that the financial position of the company is secure. They are clearly right to have identified that the current situation is no longer viable.

At the end of the day, they have been given every opportunity to change and develop a way of working that is sustainable - and they have failed.

Money has been poured in - and they have lost it. Over and over again.

I have no desire to see people lose their jobs - but if something is failing over and over again then it is only right that it be allowed to closed.

If they succeed in raising the £50k they are seeking, I am certain that it will not be the last time the begging bowls come out.

There are many good companies who are resident in Oxford or who visit on a regular basis. Yes, Creation would be missed - but I do not believe that any further financial assistance will do anything other than delay the inevitable.
Given that Creation is set up as a charity, the trustees have a legal duty to see that the financial position of the company is secure. They are clearly right to have identified that the current situation is no longer viable. At the end of the day, they have been given every opportunity to change and develop a way of working that is sustainable - and they have failed. Money has been poured in - and they have lost it. Over and over again. I have no desire to see people lose their jobs - but if something is failing over and over again then it is only right that it be allowed to closed. If they succeed in raising the £50k they are seeking, I am certain that it will not be the last time the begging bowls come out. There are many good companies who are resident in Oxford or who visit on a regular basis. Yes, Creation would be missed - but I do not believe that any further financial assistance will do anything other than delay the inevitable. C0ncerned
  • Score: 0

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