The Means of Production

The Means of Production : Gloss

Note: The company delivers the following text in whatever form they want to. They are encouraged to illustrate, add to, and/or deviate from the script as they see fit, and to insert details about the means of production relevant to their particular circumstances.


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All artists and/or workers involved are paid a living wage for all phases of pre-production and production. They are also allocated “parachute payments” for a period post-production if they are temporarily out of paid work (like English football clubs relegated from the Premier League). They are entitled to: pension benefits; paid leave schemes for parents and other carers; paid support for continuing professional development; paid leave for periods of, for example, illness, holidays, and research; and, if required, support in securing affordable housing.

The funding for the work is provided by fair, universal taxation. This is likely to require significant systemic change. Some suggestions for such change include:


  • raising the top rates of income tax to further address inequality;
  • properly taxing large corporations which exploit globalization to avoid paying reasonable local taxes;
  • requiring comparatively wealthy for-profit parts of the cultural sector (e.g., professional sport, West End/Broadway theatre, Hollywood cinema, major social media companies, fashion retailers, casinos, and providers of new media technologies such as smartphones) to pay significant dividends to the not-for-profit, state-subsidized, and amateur cultural sectors which feed them;
  • requiring corporations which parasitically exploit the arts to sell their products (e.g., alcohol producers) to pay significant dividends to the arts; and
  • requiring corporations based in the same place as the producing company, and reliant on the cultural vibrancy of that place to attract and retain good workers (corporations in the financial industries, for example), to pay significant dividends to the arts.


Everyone working on the production has some autonomy but also collaborates and compromises. Individualism does not trump teamwork and collectivism. All participants are encouraged to be ambitious, whatever that means to them. Time and resources allocated to pre-production are sufficient, not inadequate.

The production’s run is long enough that the makers can have satisfaction exploring it properly, and audiences have decent opportunities to see it. As much as possible, the production should incorporate opportunities for creative development (including during performance), allowing the makers to experience the work as constantly interesting. The production period will not be overly long. The production schedule will not put undue pressure on the makers.

Each production has a reasonable budget and its makers know what that budget is in good time, providing the security that enables proper planning and experimentation.

Resources are recycled wherever possible.

In the wider theatre ecology where this production takes place, resources are shared. Bigger, wealthier theatres are required to share with those that are less well-resourced. This is intended principally to benefit the less well-resourced institutions. The bigger ones may benefit (for example, by seeing interesting experiments and outcomes); however, they must not exploit the smaller companies by attempting, for example, to take any credit for the smaller companies’ work, or to make claims to being risky or innovative simply by association.

All tickets are genuinely affordable.



About the Author

Jen Harvie is Professor of Contemporary Theatre and Performance at Queen Mary University of London. Her monographs include Fair Play: Art, Performance and Neoliberalism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), Theatre & the City (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), Staging the UK (Manchester, 2005), and The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance (co-author, Routledge, 2005). She co-edited Making Contemporary Theatre (with Andy Lavender, Manchester, 2010) and The Only Way Home Is Through the Show: Performance Work of Lois Weaver (with Lois Weaver, Intellect, 2016). She co-edits Palgrave Macmillan’s series Theatre &. Her current work examines austerity economics and feminist theatre.