The British are coming! And now they want us to come to them.

Yesterday I talked about how we were getting crushed by the Brits in the stage to screen war.

Well, today I’m reporting that they are also advancing on other fronts. And on November 18th, they are landing on our shores and looking to take some prisoners back to their homeland.

I got an email from the Head of UK Trade and Investment NY a few weeks ago that I’m sure was sent to all of the members of the Broadway League. It was a very nice invitation to a reception at the British Consulate General (fancy, right?). What was the reception for? And would there be tea and crumpets?

This official invitation in a very official setting was for a presentation and Q&A session about . . . wait for it . . . UK theatrical tax relief. More specifically, “This event will provide theatre producers, managers, financiers and related professionals with all the information they need to know about the newly introduced UK Theatre Tax Relief, which provides a cash rebate of up to 20% of production costs incurred in the UK or Europe.”

In other words, it’s a presentation that says, “Hey, it’s cheaper to produce over here!”

And all of us Broadway producer peeps were invited.

You see what they’re doing there? It’s a super smart sales pitch.

Now you see why I feel we’re getting beaten at our own game? I mean, where’s our tax relief?

It’s not the Brits fault. And I commend them for this invitation, and their theatrical innovation (in addition to tax relief and filmed productions, they’ve got crowdfunding legislation as well).

New York State and New York City have always had the snobbish opinion that they didn’t need to offer assistance to Producers because unlike movies, which can be shot anywhere, Broadway can only happen on Broadway.

The British are making a claim that maybe Producers would be better off if Broadway was in Great Britain.

And I’m starting to wonder if they are right.


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  • Stephen Buckle (Landor Theatre) says:

    I have been amazed we are not awash already with USA producers mounting shows in London where capitalisation costs are up to 50% less; and now there are HMRC incentives. The West End recoupment rate (financial success) also appear very little different to Broadway so overall risks must be less here in The West End.

  • Joe Carraro says:

    That’s what we did in New Mexico when I helped pass, with Governor Richardson, rebates and credits for movies filmed in our state. Very successful I might add. Of course, Hollywood films and the Broadway stage are worlds apart. The “stage” is reluctant to encourage new works that might present contemporary views encouraging more visits by those who have been there done that, and those who have never been there to experience all the diversity that Broadway has to offer. My CONVERSATIONS WITH AN AVERAGE JOE is a prime example of a play that would bring new customers to Broadway and new ideas that can help revitalize the wonderful experiences of the theatre. But for you to dismiss new works out of hand because they don’t fit a template of what a theater experience is to you, just deprives Broadway of new ideas and new blood that can help do what the creative British have done.

  • Although I am dual British and American, I’ve spent equal time in both countries, and about equal time in NYC as well as London, and equal time in theatre pits and orchestral platforms in both cultures. I must admit, I’ve never thought of Broadway as the world’s center of Musical Theater [sorry! don’t lynch me…].

    In fact, in all my music-related travels on four continents, the only people I’ve come across who think NY is the center of the financial and musical worlds are, in fact, New Yorkers. Plus those in the surrounding States. As you casually state above, the West End’s theatrical innovation (and I would add “the public’s [not necessarily tourists, either] support of musicals”) in the UK is commendable, possibly enviable, and it has long been second-to-none.

    (Of course, rating “greatness” by comparing actual dollars to pounds is a futile exercise related to some of the reasons stated in both the post and the comments above, plus many more.)

    Our society here in the USA can and should learn a LOT about live/ performing arts from over there. I’m trying in my little corner down South 🙂

    Actually, this reminds me of the opening scene of The Newsroom:

    • Ricki Holmes says:

      Hi Stephen,
      Absolutely agree. We Brits are supposed to be the snobs, but when talking with New Yorkers about theatre you would think the world stopped two feet into the harbor.

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