The Finborough Theatre has an enviable reputation for turning new writers into success stories. So what's the problem? Cathryn Horn explains. 'As our reputation has grown, so have people's expectations of us, forcing us to work to higher and higher standards. That's good, but we've hit a sort of catch-22. If we want to programme a play, people think it must be good, so we end up being gazumped by other theatres who can afford to pay the actors properly. Whenever we lose a play, all the investment of time and energy goes down the drain.

'We seat 50 people and exist purely on box-office takings. Each show funds the next one. It's impossible to work under that kind of strain.

'There's no funding structure that we fit into but we have to find money to pay our core costs. We need to be able to plan ahead, pay ourselves, and renovate the theatre. All of the equipment is at least 20 years old.'

Graham White's Bleat opens next Monday and unless finances change dramatically, it will be their last production. Writers Naomi Wallace and Anthony Neilson (whose The Year of the Family is pictured below) have been taken up by The Bush and the Royal Court. No one blames them. But shouldn't someone be funding this venue so that it can continue to hone future talent?

Finborough Theatre

118 Finborough Rd, SW10 (071-373 1853)

(Photograph omitted)

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