Stephen Fry seeks new backers for U.K. theater
Out actor Stephen Fry and stage maven Andrew Lloyd Webber are among the big names in the U.K. theater community who are appealing to wealthy stage fans there to invest in a new company that will share the risk of mounting pricey stage productions. BBC News reports that Theatreshare, headed by Fry and allied with Webber's Really Useful Group, has hopes of becoming a major player in London's West End theater district. Potential supporters are asked to contribute a minimum of £2,500 to the company, which will develop, produce, or coproduce a number of plays and musicals in the hopes of combating the post-September 11 slump in theater ticket sales there. Investors are promised a share in potential profits from ticket sales, theater transfers, and film and TV adaptations. "Commercial theater is one of Britain's great success stories," says Fry. "Whether the attraction is a new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, a Hollywood star on Shaftesbury Avenue, or an extraordinary event like [the play] Stones in His Pockets, the demand, from Londoners and visitors, is enormous and there to be fed."