Crowdfunding for The Fringe

Artists across the world are raising funds on Crowdfunder to put on incredible cultural performances at Fringe Festivals

2015 saw a huge variety of projects crowdfunding to support their acts at the Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest art’s festival… and with Brighton Fringe just around the corner… now is the time to look at some of the UK’s most innovative arts crowdfunding projects. If you are gearing up to plan a Fringe fundraiser  – check out who’s been there, done it, and crowdfunded their way to the stage… 

Each project educates or entertains people through all manner of art forms; from rapping about scientific theories to a taxidermist puppet show! Here’s how 5 fringe projects ran successful Crowdfunder campaigns.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 17.27.441. The Rap Guide to Evolution

A peer-reviewed hip-hop show, The Rap Guide to Evolution breaks down the complicated theory of evolution and makes it accessible for students. Created by Baba Brinkman the show debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2009 and won the Scotsman Fringe First Award for outstanding new writing.

Baba decided to set up a Crowdfunder campaign to create a full length album with an accompanying video for use in schools. For this he needed a professional film crew to shoot and edit it, as well as a website to distribute the videos.

He set a target of £10,000 but managed to raise £12,588 from 306 backers in 60 days. Very impressive! Backers received their name in the video credits as well as a free digital download of the DVD once it was ready. Top end backers also got the opportunity to have Baba come perform at their venue of choice.

2. Shattered!

An attempt to help “shatter the stigma of mental health”, Shattered is a play featuring monologues written by people actually dealing with mental health issues.

After being well received at a mental health charity fundraiser, the play was destined for a bigger audience. With their sights set on Edinburgh Fringe Festival they launched a Crowdfunder campaign to raise money to promote the play.

The target was £300 – enough for an advertisement in the Festival Fringe brochure — and it was secured in 45 days with 10 backers. Not only did the backers get the warm fuzzy feeling of helping to highlight the importance of mental health, they also got credit as a co-producer, free tickets and signed scripts, depending on the level of their pledge.

3. Sing for your life

Described as “the greatest show that ever died” Sing for Your Life is a musical featuring a range of real life, dead animal puppets. In order to put the show on, taxidermist artist Charlie Tuesday Gates has: “scraped up roadkill, bought deceased dogs on Gumtree and revived her family pet to bring you this five-star, death-defying and hilariously unsettling musical comedy.”

To get the show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Charlie decided to set up a Crowdfunder campaign. Over 28 days the artist raised £5,400 from 124 backers. As a result, she could afford to build a better set, hire an extra puppeteer as well as a pianist, saxophonist and bass player.

Charlie thought outside the box for rewards and offered a range of creative options such as a personalised video from the animals, taxidermy lessons and even an “original skull sculpture by festooned with jewels.” The lesson here? Creativity is key!

4. Poetry Can F*ck Off
Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 17.29.29

Heathcote Williams’ wanted to bring his latest work Poetry Can F*ck Off to the Edinburgh Fringe festival. The piece involves five performers and lives music and explores the way in which poetry has changed the world. But putting on a show is costly, so Brainfruit — a registered, non-profit making charity – decided to set up a Crowdfunder campaign.

They set a target of £2,120 which would be spent on the venue hire and promotion of the work. They reached their goal from 18 backers in 56 days by offering rewards of limited edition poems by Heathcote Williams designed by Nigel Allen. Definitely playing to their audiences desires!

5. Key Change 

In the UK over 50% of women in prison report having suffered domestic abuse, 1 in 3 has suffered sexual abuse and almost 40% leave prison homeless. With over 17 years of experience working with marginalised women, production company Open Clasp aim to bring about societal change through theatre. Their play Key Change aims to do just that by highlighting women as survivors rather victims.

In order to put the play on at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Open Clasp created a Crowdfunder campaign to try and raise £2,823, 32% of the total cost involved. This would pay for the Artistic Director to put on free workshops with women’s groups as well as pay for accommodation and food for the actors involved. They achieved their target in 28 days from a grand total of 73 backers!

As well as helping a worthy cause, backers received rewards such as twitter thanks, signed posters, tickets to the show and even drinks with the cast members.

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