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Brexit sterling crash creates budget shortfall for UK producer in New York

Claire McKenzie and Scott Gilmour of Noisemaker. Photo: William Topping Claire McKenzie and Scott Gilmour of Noisemaker. Photo: William Topping
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A UK production company opening a musical in New York has claimed to have suffered a shortfall of around £10,000 in its budget, following a drop in the pound’s value after Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

Noisemaker, comprising writers Scott Gilmour and Claire McKenzie, is due to open musical Forest Boy in New York later this month. Forest Boy was the inaugural winner of the S and S award in 2013.

Gilmour said the company had needed to raise £42,000 to mount the production, which it had done in the UK prior to arriving in the US.

The money was raised prior to the EU referendum vote in June, following which the value of the pound has tumbled.

Gilmour explained that the money promised from UK trusts and grant schemes was coming through “incrementally” and added: “The more the exchange rate falls, the less money we are getting that we were successful in applying for.”

He said the production had lost around £8,000 overnight following the vote in June, and that it was currently short by £10,000.

“It’s systematically getting worse, as we are still waiting for money to come through and the pound is just falling and falling,” he said.

Gilmour said Noisemaker was now looking to US funders to make up the shortfall, and added that the company was considering operating on a smaller budget, by making reductions to areas such as marketing.

“I feel confident that there is enough support in the US for us to make it back, but it was never part of the plan to do it that way. We have been thinking on our feet and responding to a much bigger crisis that is having an effect on a project,” he said.

Gilmour warned that this might represent the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of shows being affected by the decline in the pound’s value.

“I can’t imagine what it means for bigger-scale projects. It’s an unsettled, unstable environment at the minute,” he said.

The pound has been trading largely below $1.35 in the aftermath of the British referendum vote to leave the EU, at times dipping below $1.30. At the time of publication, £1 was equivalent to $1.33.

Forest Boy will run at the Pearl Theatre in New York from July 27 to August 2 and is part of the New York Musical Festival.

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