A new stage musical adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s classic novel The Wind in the Willows is set to open in London’s West End, and producers are giving theatregoers the chance to invest in the show.
A big new £6.5 million musical adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s much-loved children’s classic The Wind in the Willows is to get a lavish new production in the West End.
A high profile creative team for the show includes Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes writing the show’s book, and music and lyrics by Betty Blue Eyes creators George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Fellows, Stiles and Drewe are reuniting following their success working on Cameron Mackintosh and Disney’s stage adaptation of Mary Poppins.
And in a new twist the musical is offering the public a chance to invest in the production and share in its success. Producer Jamie Hendry is running a Kickstarter-like scheme offering theatregoers the chance to part-finance the West End musical. Investors can put in from £1,000 up to £5,000 in the production.
Producer Jamie Hendry said: “Kenneth Grahame’s classic is such an iconic piece of British literary heritage that we are thrilled to have created the means for as many people as possible to own a stake in this new adaptation. Traditionally commercial theatre investment has only been available to a small group of individuals from whom significant funding has already been secured. Crowd funding has become a growing trend in the arts, however this scheme converts the idea into a financial investment with potential for return. Given the national ownership of the piece, I am delighted to reserve a limited 10% of the Capitalisation for individual investors in amounts from as little as £1,000.”
The investment opportunity also has the backing of Mark Rubinstein, President of The Society of London Theatre.
West End producers have long tapped theatregoers, or Angels as they are known, to invest in productions, forever immortalized in Broadway movie and musical The Producers! Cameron Mackintosh famously made millionaires of a number of people in the 1980’s after persuading them to invest in Cats.
Producer Jamie Hendry’s recent work includes Let It Be, currently playing at the Savoy Theatre in London, Legally Blonde the Musical and La Cage Aux Folles.
There is no current news on which London theatre will house the musical or the cast of the show.
It’s a great idea to open up opportunities for people to invest in shows, allowing them to get closer to the action and enjoy a small part of the magic of putting on a musical. This might be the time for someone entrepreneurial to set up a Kickstarter-like platform for shows, or even just fund a major West End musical using Kickstarter.
But it is also worth highlighting that investing in musicals remains a risky business with as much chance (maybe more chance) of losing money than making it. The general rule, with all investment decisions but especially musical theatre investments, is don’t invest any more than you can afford to lose.