Dear West End Producer: ‘Should we use an offshore tax haven for our profit-share fortune?’
— Nick Hern Books (@NickHernBooks) November 7, 2017
My dear – the Cayman Islands, Jersey or Isle of Man each offers different benefits to the seasoned tax avoider. Whether you want to anonymously hide your money in a different company, or just shelter your wealth in a legal way, any of them may be the perfect investment opportunity for you.
However, the problem is that you could become like some of the richest people in the world – including Her Majesty, Mrs Brown, Prince Charlie and Donald Trump’s friends – and be splashed all over the newspapers.
To be honest you are very unlikely to save anything by doing a profit-share show anyway, almost as unlikely as when doing an Equity minimum tour. Low-paid theatre shows are tough on the wallet, and you must ensure you are doing them for the right reasons.
Generally speaking, profit-share shows only tend to make a profit for those putting on the profit-share show. However, they can still be good to do, and are often of a high standard.
In London, particularly, they can be very useful. Not only will they be performed in an accessible venue – meaning you can invite industry folk along – but the work will be reviewed by relevant press and websites.
And, of course, you may simply be really keen to play the character, and that is reason enough to be involved.
Before looking into these types of shows, do your research about the director and team. Many well-respected directors do the odd low-paid show, as well as their other work – so it can be a good way of leading to more jobs.
But I would say the main reason actors do profit share is simply because they feel the need to perform.
After lengthy periods out of work, actors can feel desperate to work, and being involved in a show gives them a creative output again. And this is so important.
Also, it is very unusual for a profit-share show to run longer than a month, so you won’t be giving your time away forever.
There are some profit-share companies who have excellent reputations, and whose work I admire. Phil Willmott, for instance, a fellow writer for The Stage, produces excellent work, and offers a brilliant season of classic plays at the Union.
Keep your eye on his website, where there are already updates about next year’s winter season. Here you may get the chance to play big classic roles that you may not with some of the bigger companies who prefer employing only beautiful people from Oxbridge who have floppy hair.
And of course, being in any good show allows you the perfect opportunity to get a new agent.
So yes – doing a profit-share show has its advantages, but that doesn’t include earning huge sums of money to put in an offshore account. On the other hand, it does mean you’ll have lots of expenses to go against your next tax bill, dear.
Send questions to your dear agony aunt via Twitter @westendproducer