HOME is a multi-arts institution which opened in Manchester in just 2015. In comparison to the National, they have commissioned a full new programme of work for the crisis. Homemakers contains virtual content from across the UK, artists ranging from celebrated performance artist Bryony Kimmings to Manchester emerging company Plaster Cast Theatre. All of the performances are available to watch whenever you want between now and the end of the year, and can be purchased on a Pay-What-You-Want basis. This is a slightly different tactic to the National’s ‘donate if you want, whatever you want’ policy. Audience members are again fully welcome not to pay, but this time they have to go through a ticket page specifically selecting their ticket type. When faced with the reality of selecting exactly what they can afford to pay, with options as low as £2.50, many are more likely to consider exactly what they “can” afford and donate just that little bit to the experience.
Another key difference is that HOME’s audience members are donating towards newly created work. HOME are using this unique situation to create work that would never have otherwise been devised. As the National Theatre is telling its story as a long-time producer of seminal works, so HOME is telling its own story as an innovative place for new work to be created. HOME are incredibly lucky in that they have the resources to continue to develop and produce work during lockdown, but they are utilising this as they ask the audience to donate. They are asking them to remember the role that the institution plays in the UK’s theatrical landscape, and what they are asking them to help continue. They are also authenticating this messaging in extending the reach of their fundraising: not just securing the building’s future, but employing artists who have lost many of their usual streams of income.
Across the country, institutions are reacting adaptively based on their assets, the narrative they want to tell and the difference they want to make. I think there is much to consider from decisions being made at any level of theatre, which is why over the coming weeks I will be looking at a range of these in a relation to each other.
And, on a personal note, I am ecstatic to have live theatre back in any form.
Any especially excellent suggestions for streaming of live performance? Or ways that you can use your art to fundraise at this time? Let us know on twitter @artsfundraising or via email here.