The commercial producer, who runs Sonia Friedman Productions – which co-produced shows that accounted for around half of this year’s Olivier Awards prizes – said she hoped the new tax-relief scheme would bring more radical work to the West End.
In his Budget last month, chancellor George Osborne confirmed a new relief system would be introduced this autumn in which producers of touring shows will be able to claim 25% tax relief, while other productions will be eligible for a 20% tax credit.
The initiative will apply to plays, musicals and other live performances such as opera, ballet and dance, and is expected to benefit both subsidised and commercial producers.
Friedman said: “Certainly for new producers and younger producers, it’s going to be a game changer because it’s very hard to raise investment. The statistic of three in 10 shows recouping is real – I have to say not in the case of my company, but if one is generalising then it is.”
She added: “It’s very important because film has been doing it forever, and I hope it will bring in much more exciting and radical new work into the West End.
“In the end, commercial theatre doesn’t have subsidy, so we do need support from somewhere. So to gain it from the government like this is a huge, huge accolade to everything we’ve been doing.”
Friedman said she believed Osborne had proposed the scheme partly because he had seen a lot of commercial theatre in recent years.
“He’s obviously clocked that this is important for the economy, important for tourism and important for export, and has seen that if he can do this hopefully a lot more work will spring up,” she said.
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