Founded in 1976, the Theatre Investment Fund exists to give practical and financial help to young theatre producers. So far, it has invested £3.4 million in more than 700 productions. And as Stage One, they plan to take their investment schemes a step further. So far, being a theatre "angel" has generally been seen as something risky and unaffordable to most people. But the new Stage One Club gives would-be backers the chance to invest in productions for a new-low minimum of £300. That doesn't mean putting the money into a general investment fund — the investors can choose which productions receive their help.
Stage One announced details of bursaries to help young producers plan for the immediate future — in association with the Society of London Theatres (SOLT), sponsored by the international soccer federation FIFA and supported by the Mackintosh Foundation, the Wingate Foundation and Clear Channel Entertainment. In the three years from the end of 2004, over £500,000 is already committed, of which £250,000 is matching funding from SOLT. The scheme not only provides money, but experienced producers as mentors to guide the bursary winners where appropriate.
Previous winners of the bursary have included Matthew Byam Shaw and Richard Jordan. The 2004 recipients are Virginia Buckley, Louise Chantal, Dolya Dragasevic, Sally Homer, Cath Longman, Jenny MacDonald, Katy Quayle and Miranda Robinson, Andrew Nelson and Denise Silvey.