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Thesps hoard play profits

first_imgAn investigation into the funding of stage shows in Oxford has revealed that unaccountable student companies have kept money intended for re-investment in University drama. Most plays put on in Oxford are underwritten by Cameron Mackintosh, a West End production company that promises to reimburse students for any losses they may incur. In return, the shows’ organizers must sign a contract agreeing to re-invest any excess profit in future productions. However there is little formal supervision to ensure this takes place. Oxford University’s Drama Officer, Sam Sampson, acknowledged that he “[is] aware of the problem.” In response to Cherwell’s allegations, he said: “contractually, producers are obliged to put the money back into the system. Unfortunately, they don’t always do this.” Sophie Ivatts, a member of the University Drama Society’s committee, said: “there probably does need to be a more accountable framework in place to check how the money is used. If students sign a contract with Cameron Mackintosh, they are using that underwriting facility to cover any potential losses, so they shouldn’t then use the system for personal gain.” She admitted that “the issue has been raised at committee meetings. However, it only affects a small proportion of plays, since many make a loss – and of those that do not, only those staged at the Playhouse have a chance of turning over more than a couple of hundred pounds.” Toby Pitts-Tucker, who has been managing a production of The Tempest this term, said: “I think it’s up to the JCRs and other societies to decide what to do with their money. After all, they are free to debate whether the production deserves funding. However, I agree there should be more safeguards and accountability in an ideal world.” The University Drama Officer told Cherwell: ‘I’ve been making an effort to contact all those finalists who’ve had production companies, to encourage them to re-invest in Oxford drama, or donate to college and University funding bodies.” Pitts-Tucker, however, suggested that this was not always the case. He said, “I see the drama officer every week, but he doesn’t have much to do with the financing of my play. Though he does provide fantastic and invaluable advice to many other productions.” He continued: “I think [Sampson] does more to scrutinize the accounts of plays staged at the Playhouse, who have a chance of turning over a large profit.” However, another second year producer, who did not want to be named, claimed: “there’s plenty of informal oversight of all producers’ actions in Oxford. The Drama Officer is very thorough in following up on people.” The student continued: “people who want to get into drama have an incentive not to keep hold of the money. “They want to be trusted and sow the seeds of a future career. Most producers I know have re-invested money in future shows.” Furthermore, Ivatts pointed out that “students who do not have underwriting are entitled to keep the proportion of any profit they make from their own investment. The problem comes when your company has been set up ‘to further the cause of Oxford Drama.’” When asked whether there were any producers that he was currently watching, Sampson responded: “I’m not going to name any specific examples, but there are people I’m in contact with. I think it’s a problem student drama has always had, and will probably continue to have.”last_img read more

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New runner for UB savoury arm

first_imgJapanese snacks company Calbee has reportedly entered the running for the savoury business of United Biscuits.The owners of United Biscuits, Blackstone and PAI, started an auction for the savoury part of the company in August.The sale, which is being handled by Credit Suisse, is expected to raise in the region of £500m and has attracted widespread interest.The latest from the City suggests Calbee has entered the fray, along with CapVest, Pamplona Capital and Intersnack, the maker of Vico and Penn State pretzels.Lion Capital is understood to have shelved its interest in the business, which produces Hula Hoops and KP Nuts.United Biscuits is not commenting on the auction – which is due to complete by the end of November.last_img read more

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Nepalese Long Islanders Seek Donations For Earthquake Victims

first_imgThe 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Saturday, sending buildings rumbling to the streets and leaving precious historical sites in tatters. More than 5,000 people have died, but that number is likely to rise, possibly to 10,000, officials said.Three days after the quake, the United Nations released an update on the conditions in Nepal, reporting that 8 million people in 39 districts have been affected.“According to early indications, 1.4 million people are in need of food assistance,” the UN said. “Of these, 750,000 people live near the epicenter in poor quality housing. Impact on agriculture based livelihoods and food security is expected to be extremely high.”The UN said Nepal desperately needs medical tents, medication and surgical kits to help the wounded.Also included in its wish list: body bags.Prashant Gami, 28, of Selden, moved to the US from Nepal seven years ago. His brother and other relatives still live there. He was fortunate that he didn’t have to wait breathlessly to get in contact with relatives, but the tragedy has been difficult to comprehend. It’s also nearly impossible to maintain conversations because cell phone service is spotty.“We grew up in Nepal,” Gami said by phone. “It was very emotional to see all the destruction. It’s going to take a long time. We need everyone’s help to rebuild Nepal.”Gami and Shah are doing their best to help that effort.“I really want to go,” Shah said over the phone. He wants to be on the ground in Nepal. He wants to help rebuild. But, he said, he’s more useful here—selling t-shirts, collecting donations and coordinating the local relief effort. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York When Chandan Shah of Coram awoke on Saturday to images of destruction in his homeland of Nepal, he was overcome with shock.He immediately thought of his parents, who live in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu—a sprawling city particularly hit hard by the massive earthquake. The 28-year-old man called his parents, but was unable to get in touch with them. Hours had passed, and still nothing. Finally, after 24 hours, he heard their voices. The Long Island Nepalese Society is accepting clothing donations at 6 Rustic Court, Plainview. View image | gettyimages.comShah’s parents were safe. Like many others, they took up residence in a humanitarian aid camp and were living under a tent out of fear of going inside due to countless nerve-rattling aftershocks. Many people haven’t returned to their vulnerable homes since the quake, but do so to use the bathroom or to quickly cook meals.“It’s like a nightmare for me,” Shah said over the phone Tuesday, as he and a friend prepared to sell dozens of shirts in Queens and Manhattan to raise money for quake survivors.The duo was armed with 50 “Pray for Nepal” shirts and were hoping to sell them for $15 each. The money would go toward relief efforts in Nepal. Shah is also coordinating relief efforts through the Long Island Nepalese Society, which is accepting clothing donations in Plainview. View image | gettyimages.com View image | gettyimages.com What quake victims need most, Shah said, is clothes, tents, medical supplies, and food.“The international organizations are helping,” Shah said, but added, “more things need to be done.”“So many people are missing,” he said.last_img read more

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