Yesterday, we launched a new crowdfunding page on Patreon. But it’s not like regular crowdfunding. Instead of one-off donations, we’re seeking a monthly pledge of $1 from each of our fans.
Ongoing support would make a huge difference to our work. We’ve produced a bunch of wonderful shows over the years but, as you probably know, Lady is our main creative baby: Lady Sings it Better is feminist comedy cabaret; it’s musically adventurous, it’s hilarious, it’s unapologetic and it’s joyful. We’ve collaborated on other creative endeavours, but always in pursuit of telling stories through music and humour, and always with a feminist or queer eye for the arts. As emerging producers, we know there are things we could’ve done better but we’ve had loads of successes too.
All this has been possible because of other people’s energy, passion, generosity and willingness to experiment. Musicians, artists, photographers, hairdressers, designers, vocal directors and more have donated their time. Audiences have returned to see our shows time and again, providing much needed enthusiastic (and at times critical) feedback. Our friends, family and fans helped us crowdfund a tour to Edinburgh, given advice, time and support. We feel incredibly lucky and happy.
As we write, it’s May 2015. We’ve performed at Slide, Late Night Library, Courtyard Sessions, Sydney Comedy Festival and Vaudevillia, and we’ve got 2 interstate Lady tours under our belt, as well as a stack of exciting projects lined up for the rest of the year. Lady is soon touring to Tasmania and Canberra (and hopefully Queensland), and we’re collaborating with some incredibly talented artists on new shows, including a folk barbarian musical, vocal workshops, a women’s comedy + cycling event and a cabaret about gin! (Van Badham,Richard Wise, Iain Isdale, Elly Clough, Jeremy Brennan, Catherine Devenyand Cate Madill to namedrop a few…)
But – and this will come as no surprise to anyone who knows a working artist – money is always incredibly tough. At times, it’s prohibitive. We’ve had to turn down two amazing touring opportunities (sorry Brisbane and Perth) because the costs of travel just couldn’t be covered by potential ticket sales. We’re really passionate about taking our work to the next level, with more collaborations, tours and shows.
So, we’ve decided to be honest about what it costs to put these shows together, in the hope that some of our fans will become ‘patrons’ of Lady Sings it Better and our associated work. We’ll tell you our current financial situation, what we could achieve were we to have a monthly income for the company, and what we’ll give you in return for your hard-earned cash.
We want to be clear: we aren’t doing this to whinge or beg. We feel lucky to work in the arts. But we can’t ask for your money without explaining how our finances work in the first place. Let’s get into it:
How things are now:
We’re an independent company, which means Phoebe and Maeve are fully financially responsible for our exploits. When we first started our performers barely got paid. We toured them to Edinburgh through a combo of fundraising and our own savings. In 2013, we started guaranteeing a minimum $50 per gig. In 2015, we started guaranteeing minimum $100 per gig. We rehearse in Maeve’s lounge room because rehearsal space costs money. A lot of our contractors (publicist, photographer, designer) work for drastically reduced rates or nothing at all. When a tour doesn’t go well, Maeve and Phoebe cover costs with their own money. No one gets paid for rehearsals, and we rehearse at least 3-5 hours per week. Our artists pay for costume bits and pieces out of their own pockets, and Libby has spent god knows how much money on props, kazoos and novelty hats!
How things could be:
With your patr(e)onage, we could make more work, take more risks, collaborate with more artists and support ourselves while we’re at it. Essentially, you’d see your venues filled with more feminist comedy, we’d release recordings and videos of our arrangements, we’d write new shows, and our artists would be fairly compensated for their talents and work.We could make more shows, tour more, pay our performers more, record an album, make videos and take risks. We’ve also got new projects in the works: a folk barbarian musical with Van Badham, a cabaret about gin with The Ginstress, a Sydney ‘Pushy Women’ with Catherine Deveny and more. We just need $1 per month! That said, larger donations get you show discounts, private concerts, video messages (cabagrams!) and other benefits. If we hit $1000 per month total, everyone who pledges will get a download of our first EP! We love making crazy, feminist comedy, cabaret and live music events. We want to make more. Check out our page and watch the video to see if you’re up for donating.