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T H E C A N ON FUNDING PROSPECTUS SUMMER 2017 THE SHOW IN B RIEF Following successful runs in Cambridge and Edinburgh, this year TH E C A N O N returns to the stage. We are looking for supporters who can offer funding or investment to make possible a London preview in July, and a full Edinburgh run in August 2017. Since the first show in 2014 TH E CA NON has been well received by audiences and garnered great reviews across the board. T H E CA NON appeals to a literary crowd, but also those who want some light relief from all the self-importance of student theatre and the Fringe. The company has established a solid basis of fans and supporters, confirmed by the success of the 2015 Edinburgh show, I Wo u l d. T H E CA NON is produced by NO MEAN FEET , a comedy troupe founded at Cambridge University, now working around the UK.

THE CO MPANY Starring Catriona Stirling David Matthews Raphael Wakefield Georgia Wagstaff Justin Blanchard Sasha Brooks

Written by Catriona Stirling David Matthews Daniel Leigh Ken Cheng Directed by Ken Cheng Produced by Joseph Winters

(Confirmed at the time of writing, though subject to change)

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THE SHOW IN F ULL T H E CA NON is now open! We’ve dusted down some old favourites and plundered the archives. Check out the characters in our catalogue, browse our stacks of laughs: this is no average library - silence is actively discouraged. A guaranteed best-seller, this is one fine you won’t regret paying. THE C A NO N is long overdue… Welcome to a comedy sketch show all about books, where you don’t need to be a bookworm to find it funny. With a star-studded cast including the comedic talents of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare, it is already being billed as the most important literary event of our time. Expect shameless irreverence, shallow comment and brilliant puns. Don’t forget to book (look, there’s one already)! An irrepressible sketch show featuring an all-star cast of literary favourites, from Shakespeare to Stephenie Meyer. It’s like SparkNotes, only funny.

THE RUN & THE V ENU ES Our aim is to preview the show in London around June or July before heading to Edinburgh for a full run in August. T H E CA NON is unlike many sketch shows in that it is a fully realised theatrical show, and aims to be far more than simply a well rehearsed Footlights Smoker. This has implications for the marketing of the show, but also the kind of spaces that we want to play in: the theatre must be big enough to allow for the staging, and with technical facilities that can serve the production values and style we are aiming for. More than this, though, we think a theatrical environment is important for setting the tone of the show even before it has begun. This narrows our choices away from the FreeFringe and other more ad-hoc venues. We have begun conversations with the following venues in London: The Cockpit, The Hen and Chickens, The Leicester Square Theatre, The King’s Head (Crouch End), and Battersea Arts Centre. We are interested in the following Edinburgh Fringe Venues: Pleasance Above, Pleasance Beneath, Bedlam, C Too (Main House), Iron Belly, Delhi Belly, Buttercup.

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BUDGETS & FINANCES Below is a ‘most-expensive’ provisional budget for our combined shows in London and Edinburgh. As with all shows of this style and size, we are flexible with our spending, and so these figures are subject to change, depending on the size of investment raised. Expense


Notes £750 Standard day hire @ Cockpit Theatre

London Venue Hire Edinburgh Venue Hire

£3500 Full run hire @ C Too in 2015, mid-afternoon

Fringe Regristration

£400 Standard fee


£250 Based on 2015 spend

Set, Props & Costume





£1000 £250




One aspect of the budget uncommon to amateur shows is the provision for transport. However, it is clear to us that the show will not be financially possible for the company if the travel expenses surrounding rehearsals and performances are not covered. As such, it is a vital part of our expenses. We are expecting income in the following forms: (a) Earned Income (i.e. Box Office returns, School Workshops), (b) Contributed Income (i.e. sponsorship, donations), (c) Invested Income tied to a share of any profits (i.e. University funding bodies, re-investment of profits by No Mean Feet, personal investment). We are looking to raise investment and funding in units of £100. Funding bodies are able to support specific aspects of the production (publicity, show costs etc.) in return for negotiable agreements (a dedicated production role for their society etc.). Investors are able to provide more general capital in return for a share of any profits. We will recoup any shortfall through Earned Income (Box Office, School visits) before sharing profits with investors.

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S E L L I N G T H E S H OW T H E CA NON has established a clear and recognisable brand, based on the Penguin Classics paperbacks, across print and digital media. At the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe considerable ‘on the ground’ publicity drove people into a venue close to the Royal Mile (C Too, Main House), whilst Facebook and Twitter accounts released regular video content, to raise a wider sphere of attention and online presence. Returning to the Fringe, these accounts are still active, and prepared with existing followers and fans. Likewise, the eyecatching imagery will already be familiar to some Fringe-comedy regulars, and comes with the confidence of having worked before. Our touchstones for marketing are shows such as Austentatious, and Horrible Histories, which have been recent successes based around literary spoof, and an anarchic approach to school subjects. Below are two examples of previous publicity material, which (reworked with new photographs and current information) will form the basis of the marketing effort publicising the show.

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POSTER & ONL INE Publicity materials designed by Atri Banerjee.

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PR EVIOUS PR AI SE PULL QU OT ES "a smart, impressive and brilliantly funny tour-de-comedy”
 Steve Bennett, Chortle “Makes the phrase ‘laugh-a-minute’ look pedestrian” 
 Ed Fringe Review ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “An intelligent and uproariously funny illustration of everything Cambridge comedy can and ought to be” 
 The Cambridge Student, 9/10 “An unmissable treat…the bar has been set high” 
 The Cambridge Student, 9/10 “A triumph of character comedy… deserve[s] a packed house every day” 
 Ed Fringe Review ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Exceptionally versatile”
 Ed Fringe Review ★ ★ ★ ★ “An outstanding performance”
 Varsity “A veritable glut of delights” 
 Varsity ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ “Manages to make plumbing sexy”
 Broadway Baby ★ ★ ★ ★

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T H EATRE GUID E LONDON Back in the fabled golden age, undergraduate revues were created by people who had actually read things and offered their audiences the courtesy of assuming they were literate too. Now from a Cambridge group comes one of the cleverest and most erudite revues since at least the days of Fry and Laurie. Every sketch is built on literary references and every one works, largely because the creators have pitched the level exactly right, not to obscure works only English postgrads would know, but to authors and titles any modestly educated person will recognise. And so we get Dickens demonstrating his mastery of giving the people what they want by writing a cookbook featuring Barnaby Fudge, George Orwell on a TV chat show surprised that anyone sees political metaphors in his children's book Animal Farm, and Virginia Woolf property hunting. Who really wrote the Bronte novels, what is the real story behind Frankenstein, and what kind of chocolate factory boss is Charlie likely to become? The writer-performers' student roots are exposed in a string of horribly accurate sketches about the idiocy English lecturers are likely to spout in tutorials that are alone worth the price of a ticket. OK, maybe one of those stars comes from my delight at finally encountering a revue that is both intelligent and funny. But The Canon is very intelligent and very funny.

G e r a l d B e r k o w i t z 

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ED FRINGE REVIEW (PART ONE) Justin Blanchard does not spin on his stomach on top of a table in a green velvet jacket exuding "Keatsian negative capability". Like the rest of his cast he exudes positive comic capability throughout the range of sketches that make up literary sketch show "The Canon�. Any English student will enjoy the sketches on the traumas of being Anne "the other" Bronte sister, a Barthesian re-reading on Harry Potter, or the sheer density of Shakespearean quotes that penetrate what is ostensibly a football commentary. And at the Edinburgh Fringe, finding a "niche" literary audience is hardly a problem.That said, "The Canon", also does great work blasting the canon to pieces and includes sketches on 50 Shades of Grey, Monty Python and Twilight. All of the cast were very good at what they did. Particular mentions have to go to the exceptionally versatile Georgia Wagstaff, and David Matthews as the seductive and fickle library book available for readers to "rifle through" and "dig deep" at their leisure. The sketches were consistently of a high enough quality for it to be very clear where the punchline was - though this was helped by slick lighting used to divide up one piece from the next. That said, the show was held together as a cohesive whole by recurring motifs: Dickens' new book "15 Minute Meals" reappears in a post-marital Darcy household, and "the objectification of women" is riotously mocked with the actresses occasionally appearing in the cameo role of "Seat" or “Hatstand". The modernists came in for a great deal of banter - Virginia Woolf rocks up to the estate agent only to have trouble picking a room of her own - ("Green Gables?" "I hate gingers"). Another fantastic figure, again played by the vivacious Justin Blanchard, is James Joyce with his "900 pages of nothing". He finally persuades a publisher to accept Ulysses based on "the sexy bits at the end" - as good an explanation as any for this anomalous phenomena. If you've had enough of literary pretentiousness at Edinburgh this show makes a delightful mockery of the whole thing. If you're all for literary pretentiousness you'll equally enjoy the tribute to the gloriously self-indulgent life of an English student.

Georgina Wilson

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ED FRINGE REVIEW (PART TWO) It is a testament to a comedy show’s prowess, both in its writing and its execution, when, after weeks of rehearsals and performances, the actors still find it funny. This was clearly the case with today’s cast. By No Mean Feat, a production company from Cambridge University, has devised a show that is not only side-splittingly funny in parts, but is also clever, relevant and fun. The sketches, all ridiculous and genius in equal measure, whipped through the procession of literary characters with wit, style and panache. The jokes were heavily founded, and reliant on, a knowledge of literature, writers and theory, and was therefore an English student’s heaven. Featuring everyone, from Dickens to Rowling, sending them up with equal gusto, and featuring pretentious comments about literature as both a subject and an art form, this show had it all. It featured crazy professors, struggling writers and erotic novels (literally), thrusting them into all manner of incongruous situations – Shakespeare-related football commentary, anyone? Saying that, it managed to be intelligent without being so high-brow that it was tedious. Every one of the members of the cast did a fantastic job; Raphael Wakefield was hilarious as a disillusioned Charlie Bucket, and Georgina Wagstaff, as well as sporting an absolutely fabulous haircut, performed every role - from an awkwardly polite Mrs Darcy to an overexcited Literary Theorist - with enthusiasm and confidence. But it was Justin Blanchard who really stole the show. He was spectacular in every role he took on, James Joyce being a particular favourite of mine, despite coming across as ever so slightly crazy, which was undoubtedly the intention. If anything the show as a whole, the scene changes and props, could have been tightened up. If you have no interest in, or knowledge of literature, then it is probably not for you. As an English student I found it hugely enjoyable, if a little soul-destroying to see so many books being ripped to shreds in their use as props. But overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable piece of comedy, which had me giggling and repeating the jokes for hours after it was over. If you’re looking for something to reaffirm your artistic pretentiousness, while having it simultaneously dismantled, this is the perfect solution. Full of energy and laughs, this is not one to be missed. Emily Brearley-Bayliss

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BROADWAY BABY Anyone might be forgiven for apprehension about a literary sketch show. Few things are quite so bad as a bad pun; surely an invitation to obscure allusion can only make things worse? But audiences need not worry. The Canon, despite its many puns on books’ titles, keeps near-miraculously to healthy comedic territory. Part of the writers’ brilliance lies in physicalising wordplay. A supervision sketch built almost entirely out of literalised food metaphors elicited some of the loudest laughs of the performance I saw; Justin Blanchard, the segment’s nutty teacher, is indubitably The Canon’s resident comical genius. Even his “student” was moved to laughter once or twice by his infectious, hyperenergetic mania. What about the play’s accessibility - would its esoteric references appeal only to English students? This is more troubling, and indeed, it seems to me that a reference to Barthes’s Death of the Author misses its target, while a metafictional Harry Potter sketch is taken a little too far. But perhaps the most telling episode is an arrestingly clever take on what may be the most famous sketch ever, Monty Python’s Parrot Sketch.This noir re-imagining will have its audience in stitches regardless of their familiarity with its source. The same is true of the second supervision segment, surely a tip of the cap to Fry & Laurie’s drama teacher sketch. And The Canon’s best skit - David Matthews (book) with Georgia Wagstaff (student) on reading as erotic experience - makes no allusion at all, depending instead on those mainstays of sketch comedy: absurdity, surprise, conviction and wit. They are everywhere in evidence in The Canon. It’s an impressively professional show — well worth an hour of your time. A ro n Pe n c z u

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CO N TAC TS Joseph Winters Producer 07747833048

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THE CANON 2017 | Investment Prospectus  

Prospectus for funding bodies and potential investors of THE CANON 2017. Written by Joseph Winters.

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