May 31, 2022Updates, Announcements


Go Home Curry Muncha, 2019. Photo credit: Ankita Singh

It’s a real privilege for me to share with our communities of supporters that in 2022, Basement is taking some solid measures to reduce the financial barriers our artists encounter when working with us. 

COVID-19 put a microphone to the very real hardship that Aotearoa’s independent artists have faced for a long time. Sector research combined with our own findings that we gleaned during the recent lockdowns clearly evidence the urgent need for infrastructures like ours to be more financially accessible for artists. It’s very clear that it’s time to make change, in a really brave way.

In 2012, Basement Theatre received funding from Creative New Zealand as part of the Toi Uru Kahikatea investment programme to run under the ‘Risk-Share’ model. This meant that Basement could be a co-presenter of an artist’s work and a collaborator on their production, its marketing and publicity, as well as being invested in seeing the artist thrive and be well during the process. Under the risk-share model, we would normally take a 20% cut from the box office as a venue hire charge. However, considering the rocky times we are in, we have decided to switch up this model. For 2022, Basement Theatre will be ‘Risk-Free’ for artists -  meaning that we will not be taking a 20% cut from box office. This means that artists will keep more money from box office as well as getting the usual wrap around producing support from the Basement team.

We believe that if we don’t work to remove barriers that exist within our systems, the long term impact on the overall resilience of our industry will be significant. We are often the first port of call for emerging artists entering the sector, a gateway to their career… if they can’t even get in that first door, how are they expected to continue? Basement has taken a real knock due to Covid, but we don’t think that should stop us from protecting artists as much as we can, and stepping up to our responsibility of shouldering risk.

Committing to the risk-free model for 2022 could not have been done without the guidance of our board. United by their strong desire to centre artists in all decision-making and not shy away from bold choices, we mihi to our trustees for their courageous leadership and support.