My name is Caroline Horton, I am a theatre maker. With my new show Islands (and your help!) I want to lift the lid on the poisonous world of tax havens.
Oxfam estimates that there is $18.5 trillion siphoned out of the world economy into tax havens by wealthy individuals alone. Christian Aid has calculated that the lives of 350,000 children under the age of five could be saved every year by tackling corporate tax abuses. This is not just a political or economic problem; it's a matter of human rights.
Although we increasingly hear about tax avoidance in the news, and the occasional strongly worded "ticking off" is issued by a government minister or the G8 - there's a reluctance to act because we're scared of big business taking their big business elsewhere. Governments are reluctant to clean up their own back yards - happily pointing fingers at Jersey or the Cayman Islands whilst conveniently disregarding the City of London right here on our doorstep! So we continue the charade and only the poor and the middle class pay tax - everyone else does what they like.
In my own way, I want to make some noise about it.
You may have seen one of my previous shows, You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy (about my grandmother’s life and loves during World War 2) or Mess (about my own experience of anorexia and recovery). You can check out the trailer for Mess below, which was fortunate enough to win lots of awards.
"I have spent my career investigating the scandal of Britain's tax haven empire. The political failure to tackle this scandal epitomises the corruption and hypocrisy at the heart of our Establishment." John Christensen, Director, The Tax Justice Network.
Islands will be an illuminating, absurd and powerful new show about tax havens, little empires, enormous greed and the few who have it all - yes, your bit too.
‘This is my world, I am the king, I make the rules and everyone else can go to hell. This is off-shore.’
Hilarious and unnerving, this ink black comedy with music plunges you into a monstrous, secretive world where it really seems that no one has to pay.... for anything. Head offshore with those who have it all worked out, as they feed their addiction to wealth, power and material stuff.
‘As you know, I have made fighting the scourge of tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance a priority…’ David Cameron
Well ... while good intentions aren't to be dismissed, we thought the PM might need a hand.
But in the meantime, so do we!
If you can, please help us to raise awareness of the offshore financial system and its poisonous effects, by supporting this project. I have a great artistic team working with me and an extraordinary opportunity to preview the show across the UK in the autumn, before opening it at The Bush with a 5 week run starting in January 2015.
This piece has the potential to be seen by over 4500 people across the UK and in London - the very heart of the financial and political system, and will tour to thousands more in coming years. It can make a difference.
We have been extremely successful in securing financial support from the venue partners and Arts Council England but we find ourselves at the start of the last stage of making the project with a budget deficit. The £5,000 we are seeking to raise through Kickstarter will ensure that this project is made.
Risks and challenges
I have been very lucky with my previous work reaching receiving great critical acclaim and attracting large audiences across the UK and further afield. You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy won The Stage Best Solo Performer Award and was nominated for an Olivier Award. Mess won The Stage Best Ensemble Award and was shortlisted for an OFFIE. Between them these two pieces have been seen by over 20,000 people. I believe that with your support Islands will be my most powerful work to date and might just in a small way help to change things for the better.
This is a huge step up in terms of scale for me. Working with China Plate we have secured a world class team of actors, the brilliant Oli Townsend will design and I will be working with Bush Theatre Associate Director Omar Elerian to realize it.
Most importantly, I have been working with the inspirational John Christensen of The Tax Justice Network who has given us all a great insight into this murky world and helped us to think about how we can make a piece of theatre which can address the political side of this work with rigour and sound research.
Tax havens are a very real threat to societies across the world. If we don't speak up politicians will continue to brush them under the carpet.
Lastly, in addition to The Bush, Warwick Arts Centre and The Tax Justice Network, I would like to say a huge thank you to the venues around the country who are helping me to develop the piece: South St Reading, Oxford Playhouse, Live Theatre and The Junction in Cambridge.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)