Today I have been working on the detailed expenses for my Arts Council proposal. It's extremely exacting work for someone who is hopeless at maths. I have to work out what each section of the project is, how long it will take, who and what is involved and how much everything will cost.
I never realised when I first embarked on this challenge how much work it would entail. However, I have learned an enormous amount on the way. I've listened to a lot of advice from the Arts Council officers, my agent Micheline Steinberg, Clive Paget, Chris Grady (Musical Theatre Matters) and numerous other people, who have really gone out of their way to help. Steve and I have always felt a sense of hope because, rather than dreaming up the idea of approaching the Arts Council, it was they who suggested we apply. Jemima Lee, who has now left ACE to work with Box Clever Theatre, came to see the showcase at Greenwich and was my guide through the first stages.
I have contacted almost all the regional theatres in the country that have a resident theatre company and there seems to be a lot of interest. I've also called hundreds of charities and funding bodies from the Funding for the Arts Guide. Only being an individual makes any possibility of funding from one of these companies almost impossible. To work out what people should be paid on the project I have had to contact: The Writers' Guild, The Musicians' Union, Actors' Equity, the Independent Theatre Council, Mercury Musical Developments and a whole host of other people. Tish Francis, the Artistic Director at the Oxford Playhouse has been an enormous support and just knowing that she believes in the project has also been something that has kept me going.
I realise now that what has happened while I have been doing this is that I have accrued a network of contacts I did not have at the beginning. But you have to aim high and have a very steady hand if you want a bull’s eye. I am hoping to get the proposal finished by the end of next week and then the long twelve-week wait will begin. I think this process is a lot harder than people imagine and I am hoping that ACE will invest in our project because at this stage a musical needs all the support it can get. Lyn Gardner, from the Guardian pointed out " that the money that the government gives to the arts is not a handout but an investment. The arts gives more back to the economy than it takes in subsidies, but what cannot be measured is what it gives back in nurturing the imaginative health and well-being of the nation."