Hello . . .
We're Arbery Productions - an informal group of Edinburgh-based actors and directors with a track record of successful theatre productions. We'd like you to help fund The Satyricon.
What is The Satyricon?
At heart a bawdy comedy, the story is timeless, telling us as much about human relations today as it did when Gaius Petronius wrote it 2,000 years ago. His picaresque tale shifts from the crowds in the Forum to a rich man's feast, from the rites of secret worship to a ship at sea and beyond, and from theft and debauchery to love and death. Throughout lives are driven by desire in every form - desire for sex, for food, for power, for money, for freedom, for life itself.
With Petronius as their guide the audience steps into the past while keeping one foot firmly in the present. Behind the comedy of outrageous words and action - and occasionally song and dance - lie shocking moments of tragedy, obscenity and disgust. Life, sex and death are seen from the Roman perspective, and the Roman perspective seen from today. Throughout, the audience is on a roller-coaster ride that dips in and out of illusion and in and out of laughter, until the final scene when . . . well, you'll just have to come to the play.
The primary movers on this project are co-directors Martin Foreman and Junior Cross, who first met collaborating on his one-act play Casanova Dreaming at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018.
Martin's work as playwright and director includes several four-star productions, including Sunset and Now We Are Pope, J B Priestley's The Rose and Crown and Ben Jonson's Volpone. He is currently directing Noel Coward's Hay Fever for a short run in March 2020.
Junior Cross was a fixture on the cabaret / concert / physical theatre scene in Buenos Aires before moving to Scotland. As well as appearing on stage and in film in this country, she worked on Arbery's award-winning, four-star production of Mike Bartlett's Bull at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019.
Martin's strength lies in words and character, Junior's in movement and design. They work well together and after several months of preparation and two intensive audition workshops, they have been joined by a fantastic team of talented actors.
Heading our cast is Adam Tomkins, who has appeared in theatres across the UK and on television and film (most recently Outlander and the forthcoming The Last Bus), playing Petronius. He also appears as the boorish Trimalchio, whose dinner party offers both fabulous food and frightening threats. Protagonists (you can't call them heroes: pic below) Encolpius, Giton and Ascyltos are played by Gordon Houston, Craig Binning and Ross Cairns - three young actors who consistently impress audiences with their energetic and insightful performances in whichever characters they play.
Our four characters are supported by five versatile Actors who take on every other role - Joseph Cathal, Cat Collins, Mike Robert-Brown, Abbie Robertson and Beverley Wright - in a mixture of ages and sexes creating a kaleidoscope of people and places across the Roman Empire. All our actors, except Adam and Cat, feature in the above film. Everyone's theatre biographies can be seen on https://thesatyricon.uk/people.htm and you can hear each of them in the film below.
When is it on?
We've booked a one-week run (six performances) in the Festival Studio Theatre, a prestigious venue in the heart of Edinburgh, for 23rd to 27th June. That's the main theatre in the picture - the Studio entrance is round the back.
Why do we need money?
Because theatre is expensive. We have to hire rehearsal space and the venue. We have to build sets, create costumes and buy props. Publicity must be paid for. There are administrative costs. Above all, we believe cast and crew should be paid! In a world where everything on the internet appears to be free, actors, writers and directors still have to earn a living.
“Don't you make money from tickets?” people ask. Yes, but not enough. If we have a sell-out run, we will make about £14,000, but our costs - including paying cast and crew for their work - will come to £21,000. That's a loss of £7,000 - and the loss will be even greater if we don't sell every ticket.
That's why we're asking for £7,000 on Crowdfunder. We're optimistic that our ticket sales will be good. If we get more than £7,000 and sell out, we will use the extra funding to take the show on tour.
Crowdfunder is one potential source of income. We are also offering advertising space on our website (thesatyricon.uk) and in our printed theatre programme but nothing is certain and the more potential sources we cover the better. Your contribution helps ensure that we put on the best production possible.
What will we spend the money on?
Here's the breakdown of the full £21,000 budget. Numbers have been rounded up or down slightly.
£5,420 (25%) rehearsal and theatre hire
£11,330 (54%) actors, directors, stagehand
£1,000 (5%) set, props and costumes
£1,850 (9%) publicity
£1,580 (7%) miscellaneous and contingency
Money raised on crowdfunder will primarily be allocated to rehearsal and theatre hire, set, props and costumes. That will allow us to divert the income from ticket sales to paying cast and crew.
While we're talking about money . . .
There's a competition among cast members as to how much money they raise (they get to give away a free ticket for every £100 that comes in their name). So, if anyone impresses you, just put their name in the message box that comes up after your donation, or if you don't want others to see, you can tell us at email@example.com.
That's not all, folks
We are putting a lot of effort into The Satyricon and we don't want it to end on 27th June. We think this production could last many years and entertain audiences across the UK - but we can only get to that point if we have a successful first run. We are optimists, however, and have started making plans for a possible tour.
The Last Word
Finally, here are the cast asking for your support, each in their own inimitable way. Please take ten minutes - have a coffee or a herbal tea - to listen to them; they and we will really appreciate it.