Komedia is looking for the general public to invest £350k in its future. They’ve got nearly £70k so far, but there’s only 2 weeks left for them to get the rest.
So what reasons are there to invest? Well, the first must be a 3% return on investment (ROI), which isn’t bad and better than many banks offer. Though regular business investors might look for something a bit higher. So, what’s the real incentive, why should I care about what happens to Komedia?
Let’s look at the full offer first. For a minimum £250 investment Komedia are offering the aforementioned 3% ROI, 1 vote per investor/member, members only benefits, the chance to ‘co-own a piece of Bath history’ and also to ‘be part of the solution’.
That last bit could be a concern. If an organization is asking me to invest, I want to hear that there are no problems and that the future is bright. That’s why the 3% ROI is so interesting. Listing that as something you can be reasonably certain of receiving shows a bit of confidence about the future of the venue and if you look at their past awards, perhaps their confidence is well founded.
However, I needed more than just their confidence to convince me that this would be a good investment. So I contacted Komedia to find out more.
It turns out they’ve been performing better than in previous years and the financial hole they need filling, is being caused by a founding member withdrawing their investment. Whatever the reason is for them doing that, it has presented Komedia with three main choices.
- Close down. Bath loses a venue, people lose jobs and The Arts loses another piece of its soul.
- Find one or two private investors to plug the hole. This could cause events to be focused on the profit margin over artistic value and thus more hen and stag parties.
- Obtain community funding. This would provide the option for Komedia to connect more with the community and as such provide more of the entertainment Bath wants to see.
Komedia list other sources of capital as coming from a: ‘charity/community benefit society’ rates discount of up to 80%, audience growth due to the interest of the community investors, and ‘£100k of Big Society Capital match-funding’ available to community projects.
“Bath isn’t going to watch another one of its businesses close”
It sounds like they’ve got a good plan financially and if they can get the assistance of the people of Bath and make it work; it would undoubtedly be a genuine coup for Bath’s arts scene.
So what about the non-financial side of things? Komedia did manage to convince me that they aren’t going anywhere for a while and thus the real question is in what form will Komedia continue; as a community owned centre for the arts or as a privately funded cash cow?
With the community influence, we could hope to see a greater focus on nurturing local talent, not just in music and comedy, but perhaps in other areas of art too. Also to take into consideration is the climate of the time. It could be said that there is a national growth in movement against the objectification of women. Would community influenced programmes put an end to Komedia’s Burlesque nights? Such issues may greatly effect who goes to Komedia in the future.
It could be argued that the private investor ‘profit margin focused’ framework Komedia has existed on till now is largely responsible for it becoming a hen and stag party magnet in the past.
The rise in ‘Party houses’ has been a topic of recent debate in Bath and no doubt Komedia has profited from the hordes, and if I needed any push to invest it would be the chance to turn Komedia into less of a beckon for booze-tourists.
But perhaps the real incentive hasn’t got anything to do with who goes to Komedia or the programme it offers. Perhaps the real reason people should invest is because we don’t want another boarded up building in Bath. Earlier this year The Chronicle counted nearly 40 vacant shops in the city centre. Maybe its time the people of Bath came together and said “Bath isn’t going to watch another one of its businesses close”.
Written by @LordSkitch
Thank you to Komedia for the photos
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