Actors need a hand to stage summer saga

CAP IN HAND: Daniel and Lisa Allan of Body in Space are going on to a crowdfunding site, Givealittle, to raise money to put on their summer theatre.
CAP IN HAND: Daniel and Lisa Allan of Body in Space are going on to a crowdfunding site, Givealittle, to raise money to put on their summer theatre.

The actors behind the popular summer theatre at Fairfield House want to raise $10,000 to stage this summer's show The Three Musketeers.

A couple of naming rights sponsors have fallen through at the eleventh hour, so it has turned to crowdfunding site Givealittle asking for people to donate to the cause.

Body in Space's Dan Allan says the company has been staging the plays on "the smell of an oily rag" since 2011.

The troupe needs financial support if it is to continue, especially as it wants to expand this year to include a show in Richmond's Washbourn Gardens.

"Love and enthusiasm can only go so far. Eventually, we may not be able to attract highly skilled professionals to the project, as they will get attracted to more secure jobs," Dan says.

An estimated 1850 people attended its first season in 2011, when it put on The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Since then numbers attending have grown to nearly 3000 people this year who saw its high-energy version of The Importance of Being Earnest.

Dan says the show's great outdoor summer location, its affordability and the quality of its productions all contributed to its success.

The Nelson public has also been fantastic with its support which is why it really wanted to continue.

"We just need more moolah to make it happen."

Despite the goodwill and donations it received it was becoming hard to sustain.

He estimates it costs about $10,000 to put on the show and on average people who attend donate a ticket price of about $4.50. To achieve the $10,000 all it needs is 1000 people to donate $10.

Dan says four actors and a director dedicated four weeks of full time work to the show, which they had to pay from donation. Donations were also used to pay for production costs, marketing, sets and costumes.

This meant that actors were being paid less than the minimum wage for their efforts.

He says $10,000 for a production is cost-effective and estimates that productions at the Theatre Royal probably cost twice that or more to stage.

Dan says people who donate to the show via the Givealittle website will be given a small prize in return, depending on what they donate. For example a $25 donor becomes an honorary musketeer and is named in the programme, $50 gains a signed poster and a $500 donor buys the right to attend musketeer training.

Dan says the group does not want to charge an entrance fee, nor does it want to reduce the standard of the show, believing that Nelson deserves a top quality summer event. He says the event is one of the highest profile happenings in Nelson during summer.

"In terms of Nelson-run artistic events, we are perhaps second only to the outdoor movie showings, an event run by the council."

Dan says if a company still wants to step in naming rights could still be arranged.

You can help them on