Shakespeare's Globe theaters sets stage for new funding for culture

Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:33pm EDT
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By Astrid Zweynert

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - - William Shakespeare's Globe theaters is taking on a new role as a financial trail-blazer by seeking to tap into a form of funding dominated to date by social enterprises and charities.

The Globe theaters on the banks of the River Thames in London is in the early stages of preparing a five million pound ($7.5 million) social impact bond which it hopes will help finance a new library, archive and research center.

Britain launched the world's first social impact bond in 2010 to help raise funds from private investors for a program to reduce re-offending among male inmates at Peterborough Prison, 95 miles (152 kms) northeast of London.

The aim of social impact bonds is to raise funding for social enterprises or charities directed toward creating social or environmental good with investors receiving returns if a specified performance goal is met.

There are now more than 30 social impact bonds in Britain, covering areas such as homelessness, foster care and youth unemployment.

Anthony Hewitt, the Globe's director of development, said the theaters was the first cultural organization to be considered for a social impact bond.

"It would be a good fit because we pride ourselves on our entrepreneurial spirit and we can demonstrate social impact in bringing Shakespeare to as many people as possible around the world, including many free performances," Hewitt told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

He said the theaters, which does not receive a regular public subsidy and relies on philanthropic donations and ticket revenue, was keen to expand opportunities to raise funds.   Continued...

A camper van is lifted by a crane to be placed on the stage at London's Globe theatre June 17, 2007. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico