Hundreds of fans of The Singing Kettle have ploughed thousands of pounds into a crowd-funding campaign to ensure the show can go on for the children’s entertainers after their “final” show in Aberdeen yesterday.
More than 600 different donations poured in after Kevin Macleod, Gary Coupland and Anya Scott-Rodgers issued a £20,000 plea to keep their popular stage shows going under a new guise.
The trio, who raised the cash in less than a month, were left facing unemployment after the plug was pulled on the long-running business by founder Artie Trezise after 33 years and 6500 live shows. He and his wife had bowed out of performing two years ago this month, but did not announce the demise of The Singing Kettle until last September.
Trezise decided against selling the company he had been managing director of, or even allowing the performers to keep using The Singing Kettle name.
The performers have had to plough £90,000 of their own money into a planned new venture, “Funbox,” which was announced in December, but they had to mount a crowd-funding campaign to ensure a launch show at the SECC in Glasgow next month could be filmed.
The success of a planned DVD is thought to be crucial to the long-term viability of Funbox, which is going on tour around Scotland over the next eight months, including appearances at music festivals. The trio say they plan to stage more than 150 shows each year, to an audience of more than 75,000.
Macleod said: “The basic reason for doing the fundraising campaign is that all the finance that has gone into creating Funbox has come from the three of us so far. “We don’t have any kind of cushion from the years of touring. This isn’t a cynical rebranding or renaming, we’re setting up a brand new company from the ground up. We’re doing absolutely everything at the moment and it is costing us around £20,000 just to pay for a set of the show.
“To be brutally honest, we are following a lot of the pattern that The Singing Kettle did. When Artie announced that it was shutting up shop we phoned around the venues and we have taken the dates where it would normally have toured. It sounds soppy, but we just loved working together.
“However it’s been a real leap in the dark for us. Right from the start, we felt we had to produce a DVD to act almost as a calling card. We are almost like a band walking into a pub and asking to play. The first thing they’ve be asked is whether they have a DVD.
“We felt we would have to prove ourselves. We just didn’t know what the reaction was going to be, but in just over 24 hours we had made half our target figure, it was just incredible.
“We’ve heard so many lovely stories about little kids emptying their piggybanks.”
The first official Funbox show is at the SECC in Glasgow on 1 March.