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New York theatre producers to benefit from tax relief

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New York state is to offer financial incentives to investors in new theatre productions in the form of a 25% tax credit from the beginning of 2015.

The benefit – which will be capped at $4 million (£2.4 million) per year – will be available to producers who create and tech shows within the state’s boundaries. The move makes New York the fourth American state to provide tax breaks to theatre producers and follows concerns that eight key upstate venues were losing work to nearby Rhode Island and further afield to Illinois and Louisiana, where similar schemes are already operating.

Al Nocciolino, a vice chairman of industry body the Broadway League and chief executive of touring company NAC Entertainment, said the initiative “will, without question, drive millions of dollars into New York.”

He added: “With other states offering aggressive tax incentives for theatrical production, New York’s venues have struggled to stay competitive and attract new shows. Producers balance four criteria when determining where to tech: availability of skilled labour, infrastructure, accessibility and cost. With this programme, New York will be one of the most attractive places to invest in new productions while also providing a massive boon to the many beautiful venues that serve the upstate region.”

Philip Morris, chief executive of the Schenectady-based Proctors theatre, described the move as “a game changer”.

“Not only because upstate cities and theatres get more richly connected to the hum of Broadway by attracting more national tours, but what has been New York’s theatrical industry – scenic construction, costume building, lighting and sound design – has less reason to be dissipated to other parts of the country. Five years from now we will all be wondering what we would have done without this upstate theatre credit,” he said.

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