Daily Dojo

Producer-Landlords

I just want to call attention to a post by Garrett On Producer-Landlords, which he got from Bloomberg, which I think we should be discussing much more (if the subject be theatre, anyway).

I have always thought it seems a bit hinky, how some of those houses work . . .

I remember a few years back, when a producer had a property of mine and was looking to get it up on a bigger stage . . . She told me (and this is second-hand, not verified, it’s only hearsay, your honor) that one house she went to (which shall be unnamed, because . . . she didn’t tell me the name, heh) wanted a rent of $11,000 a WEEK!

Yeah, that’s right. Eleven grand. And that didn’t include what the actors would get paid, any of the designers, any of the help. That was just for the space, four walls and a floor, some seats.

Wait, it gets better.

They (the landlord) also demanded gross points.

So not only did they want rent, they wanted profit-sharing, though they risked nothing in terms of investment in the production themselves.

Added to that, they maintained the right to pull the plug on the show if the attendence fell below a certain percentage, so they could bring in a more popular play.

So it seemed that not only did we have to play rent, use their staff, split the profits with them, we didn’t have the power to keep the play going if we thought the audience would eventually find it.

My point, to the producer, was . . . can’t we BUILD an theatre for less than that?

Seems to me we could take a bank loan and build a theatre and the mortgage payments would be less than eleven grand a week.

Again, this is all just hearsay, folks . . . I’m not saying it’s true, I’m just saying, it’s what I was told, some years ago.

I’m not a finance guy, I’m only a hard-working word carpenter.

It would be interesting to hear more about that particular world, and in particular, to hear specifics.

Anybody got some info on that?

2 Responses to “ Producer-Landlords”

  1. mirroruptonature Says:

    Sad but true.

    As far as building a theatre for the same amount. Also kind of true.

    Although the first thing you have to realize is that when you are renting a theatre for the purpose of presenting a show, you have a way to recoup the costs —ticket sales.

    Once you are leasing your own theatre space on a long term basis, every moment you don’t have a show up and running is eating into you financially.

    We don’t own a performance space, but we do have a nice studio/rehearsal space. We teach classes there, but we also have to manage subletting it to different groups because otherwise the cost just eats into our bottom line. If we aren’t producing a show, where we can sell tickets, and we aren’t teaching a class, the cost fo the rehearsal space immediately starts eating away.

    The first thing any small theatre group should realize if investing in their own space is much of your life will be coordinating rentals to other organizations.

  2. Joshua James Says:

    Right, but the same is true of every landlord . . . most landlords, however, don’t ask to be a part of the gross profit plan for every starbucks built . . . they simply ask for a rent they feel profits their investment on the space, right?

    I dunno, the way the big show houses do it here in nyc, from what I’ve heard (and it’s all hearsay) seems a bit fishy.

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