Big Issue Invest

Local theatre company receives £104K in investment from Big Issue Invest

The investment from Big Issue Invest will allow OVO to take on a long-term lease with the Roman Theatre site, which will not only allow them to expand their Roman Theatre Festival, but it will also allow them to invest in reusable infrastructure, such as a permanent stage, dressing room and bar.

OVO, a professional theatre company based in St Albans, has received £104K in funding from Big Issue Invest, the investment arm of Big Issue Group.

The investment from Big Issue Invest will allow OVO to take on a long-term lease with the Roman Theatre site, which will not only allow them to expand their Roman Theatre Festival, but it will also allow them to invest in reusable infrastructure, such as a permanent stage, dressing room and bar.

OVO was started in 2003 by Adam Nichols, CEO at OVO, and Simon Nicholas, Associate Artist at OVO, and have presented nearly 100 productions since 2003. The organisation runs two venues currently, the Maltings Theatre, a small community theatre in the centre of St Albans, and the Roman Theatre, a historic outdoors theatre, where they host the Roman Theatre Festival annually.

The theatre company aim to ‘create bold, imaginative and surprising new versions of classic plays and stories’ and their work has been recognised nationally specifically for the Roman Theatre Festival.

OVO also are invited to the Minack Theatre regularly to perform . In 2016 it won the Minack Trophy for best production.

Since 2011, OVO has been based in The Maltings Theatre, a 120-seat studio in the middle of St Albans high street, managed on behalf of St Albans District Council. Productions at the theatre range from live music, OVO’s own productions, associate theatre companies and community performances.

OVO has also been running the Roman Theatre Festival, an open-air festival at the Roman Theatre of Verulamium since 2014. The theatre was built in 140AD and was in use for 300 years. The theatre was first re-discovered in the 19th Century and fully excavated in the 1930s.

When the Roman Festival is not being held, the Roman Theatre site is open to visitors, linked to the Roman Museum situated across the road from the theatre.

Ben Tiplady, Investment Associate at Big Issue Invest, said: “It is an absolute pleasure to be able to support a brilliant community-based arts organisation like OVO. At Big Issue Invest we want to support social enterprises to grow their trading revenue and increase their social impact – the expansion of the Roman Theatre Festival is a shining example of that. I am very excited to watch them continue to grow and offer cutting edge entertainment and outdoor theatre.”

Adam Nichols, CEO of OVO, said: “We are incredibly pleased to have secured this investment from Big Issue Invest. We are very much looking forward to being able to run our Roman Theatre Festival for even longer and safeguard it for our local community and visitors.”

To find out more about Big Issue Invest, or how your organisation could receive similar support to OVO, please visit: https://www.bigissue.com/invest/

To find out more about OVO, visit their website here: https://ovo.org.uk/

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Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

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