Burnt Lemon Theatre: Genre-Defying, Terrifyingly Talented and Anarchically Inclined

The four-hour train journey home from Edinburgh seems to be the perfect opportunity to reflect on the incredible month Burnt Lemon Theatre have had at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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Having started rehearsals for ‘The Half Moon Shania’ back in April, we have gone from first scraps of a script, gripping onto instruments we didn’t yet know how to play, to coming home with five-star reviews and as the recipients of Musical Theatre Review’s ‘Best Musical Award’. We are absolutely thrilled at our Edinburgh success. Successes which would not have been possible without the support of our Click page – the Essex Crowdfunding Platform.

While still in training on the BA Acting and Contemporary Theatre course at East 15 Acting School, myself and co-lemon, Hannah, knew that we wanted to develop a new, feminist, fiery show together, using the skills we had nurtured and developed on the course. We wanted follow in the footsteps of other accomplished graduate companies by taking our show to the Fringe – the perfect platform for emerging companies. However, we soon came to realise that taking part in the festival came with huge price tag, and we simply could not afford it.

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Determined to get our show and its meaningful message out there, we were made aware of Click and began to plan our campaign. We decided to inject the all-female, all punk attitude into it, along with the play’s purposeful message. We booked ourselves into the recording studio and borrowed the school’s camera (big thanks to Matt & Lorena!) and together, we wrote, composed and filmed a spoken word music video campaign.

With a punk rock fundraiser ready to launch, we communicated with the wonderfully enthusiastic and approachable Click team, James and Vicky, and got the fundraiser up and running in no time!

Setting the target necessarily high at £3,000, we made a plan – considering all the ways in which we could spread word of our fundraiser. Unsurprisingly, we took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as our first step.

Not wishing to bombard our friends and family by asking for donations, we began to share elsewhere. Without expecting donations, we contacted women’s charities, like-minded theatre companies and local organisations who might be willing to share the fundraiser with their own followers. Many companies were happy to help, which widened our reach, and soon the donations began creeping in.

Sticking to the spoken word theme, we thanked our sponsors by writing each a Burnt Lemon themed poem of gratitude. I became quite the wordsmith, having written 47 verses of thanks! (A small challenge but the least I could do). We are also sending sponsors small gifts of Burnt Lemon badges, and Half Moon Shania posters.

With the incredibly generous help of the match funded £250 from Essex friends and Alumni, and 47 other supporters, we raised a total of £2,773, funding roughly 39% of our total Edinburgh cost. This weighty contribution improved the quality of our work, so no doubt it played a part in our winning the award! – https://spsr.me/LJQX .

If you are a student at the Uni of Essex have a project that you are passionate about, do not hesitate to apply to Click! Get creative with your campaign – let the project feed how you present it. It not only creates more of a buzz but gives potential sponsors a flavour of your work. A little bit of effort goes a long way.

If you enjoyed reading this blog and would like to hear more about Burnt Lemon and what we do, please follow us on Twitter @BurntLemonTC or find us on Facebook and Instagram @burntlemontheatre.

We will happily help future Click projects if we can, so feel free to message us for advice, or ask us to share your project if you wish!

And now, pulling into a sunny London Kings Cross, we’re beaming with joy and gratitude, overwhelmed by the generous support we received thanks to Essex’s Crowdfunding Platform.

Thank you!

Cara Baldwin

Burnt Lemon Theatre

 

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