Wednesday 16 May 2018

Exclusive: Theatre company takes centre stage with private fundraise for new musicals ahead of European listing later this year

Francesca Washtell

I'm City A.M.'s deputy night editor and books editor of the City Pages section. 

Angel investors in theatre production companies are not usually able to see how their money is spent on outgoings such as wages, marketing and other production costs. However, as part of the listing process, Shaftesbury intends to make its accounting transparent for both the holding company and its operating subsidiaries that will produce the shows.

The company raised an initial £150,000 earlier this year.

Shaftesbury Avenue managing director Nevern Johns said: “Traditionally, musical producers have relied on their own network of tried and trusted investors, many of whom support 20 or more musicals over years. Those who invested in Mamma Mia or Cats many years ago are still enjoying the returns.

Eponymous street Shaftesbury Avenue is in the heart of theatre land (Source: Getty)

A new theatre company is seeking early-stage investors from beyond the arts world to help fund the production of its first two musicals ahead of an intended listing on Nasdaq First North later this year.

Shaftesbury Avenue, headed by film producer Stephen Evans, is raising £3.8m via a private placing under the Enterprise Investment Scheme to fund its first two musicals. It is offering almost 11m shares at 35p each.