Gavin Barlow, CEO of the Albany, in response to the I’ll Show You Mine debate prompted by Bryony Kimmings, outlines our financial deals with artists.
So much has been written the last couple of months about how much venues pay artists, and the dysfunctional touring market, that I really don’t want to add to the debate. I was struck though that no venue has really responded to the entirely reasonable call for more transparency, made by Andy Field and others. This prompted me to look at the figures and I can’t think of a good reason why we shouldn’t share them, so here goes…
In the current financial year, we expect to take £129K in ticket sales, and we will pay artists £123K for those performances. So artists get about 95% of what the audience pays.
We do every possible type of deal with artists and companies, and we do negotiate and we drive a hard bargain when we need to: we wouldn’t survive if we didn’t. But we take into account the artist’s situation, most obviously if they have funding in place and if they need to travel to perform. The worse deal we offer an artist is 60% of ticket sales, and usually that’s when we have supported the production of the show as well.
Of course, we also pay for the technical and front of house costs to support those performances, and we work hard to make sure there are people there to see them – we’ve increased audience numbers by over 50% in the last two years.
For full context, we also pay artists for commissions, to perform in (mostly) free festivals, to deliver workshops, take part in participatory programmes, and we provide free space and support to develop new work. The Albany receives funding from the Arts Council of £175K a year.
None of this is simple. Keeping a building open and trying to deliver to audiences in different ways every day takes resources and costs money. Like many others we survive partly by working every angle and having a dynamic business model, not relying just on funding. I’m not sure what we will or should change at the moment, but we will keep thinking about it and keep evolving. For now though, it helps to get a few facts out there.
Gavin Barlow, CEO, The Albany