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a live theatre show & art exhibition about THE COST OF LOVE, led by Haley McGee, with a team of artists & mathematicians
a live theatre show & art exhibition about THE COST OF LOVE, led by Haley McGee, with a team of artists & mathematicians
a live theatre show & art exhibition about THE COST OF LOVE, led by Haley McGee, with a team of artists & mathematicians
79 backers pledged £3,488 to help bring this project to life.

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THE EX-BOYFRIEND YARD SALE Premiere & Tour

£3,488

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We are fundraising to support the launch of The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale -- its premiere in London (UK) & Canadian tour.

W H A T   I S   T H E   E X - B O Y F R I E N D   Y A R D   S A L E  ?
The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale is a multi-platform (massive) project about the cost of love, led by artist Haley McGee (me) in collaboration with math expert Melanie Phillips & a dream team of artists and mathematicians.  It's comprised of two parts: a live theatre show & an interactive art exhibition

W H A T   I N S P I R E D   T H I S   P R O J E C T  ?  
A couple years ago I found myself on the phone with my credit card company promising to pay off my bill by having a yard sale. As I said this, I looked around my apartment and realised the only things I own, that have financial value, are all gifts from my ex-boyfriends.

As I began to pack up these objects to sell, I started to wonder what they were really worth, given all the ways we invest (or don’t) in our romantic relationships -- and all the ways our romantic relationships cost us.

I started to wonder, how can we determine a price for the objects we’re left with after a relationship ends? A price that accounts for all of the time, emotion and money we invested in the relationship? Can we turn sentimental value into cold, hard cash?

I got obsessed with these questions, and started reaching out to people who know how to create mathematical formulas.  And so, The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale was born.

A B O U T   T H E   L I V E   T H E A T R E   S H O W 
Hilarious and daring, the live theatre show smashes together personal divulgences, maths, recorded interviews with Haley's ex-boyfriends, economics and the politics of commerce in a quest to determine what our romantic relationships are actually worth.  This autobiographical work offers eight items “for sale” – all gifts from Haley’s exes – and introduces a brand new mathematical formula, written by expert Melanie Phillips, to calculate the cost of love.  The show is directed by Mitchell Cushman.

Work-in-progress show at Camden People's Theatre. Photo by Sophie le Roux.
Work-in-progress show at Camden People's Theatre. Photo by Sophie le Roux.

A B O U T   T H E   E X H I B I T I O N
Playful, poignant and interactive, the exhibition features the same eight items given to Haley by different ex-boyfriends. The public is invited to engage with the exhibit as much or as little as they wish — they can appraise Haley’s objects, listen to audio interviews with her exes and even contribute their stories about how love has cost them. We piloted the Exhibition in London at Meanwhile Art Space/Euston Square in June 2018.

The Exhibition at Euston Square, London. Photo by Gary Street/Corrie Images.
The Exhibition at Euston Square, London. Photo by Gary Street/Corrie Images.

W H E N   &   W H E R E  
The live theatre show will premiere in London (UK) at the Camden People’s Theatre, running for 3-weeks, November-December 2018. And in March 2019, both the live show & the exhibition will tour in Canada to The Belfry Theatre's SPARK Festival (Victoria), Pi Theatre (Vancouver) and Outside the March (Toronto). 

Work-in-progress show at Camden People's Theatre. Photo by Sophie le Roux.
Work-in-progress show at Camden People's Theatre. Photo by Sophie le Roux.

W H Y   I T   M A T T E R S  
The questions raised by The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale have universal appeal. I’ve been amazed by the sheer number of people who have shared their insights about the cost of love, and how much they have to say when asked, 'Was it worth it?'  In our increasingly divided culture, I believe we need reminders that we’re more alike than different. The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale has the potential to do this, as it allows people with disparate experiences to relate to each other over two things that are often hard to talk about: love and money.

This project marries the value of logic with that of art in a fresh and exciting way. By using math (which many find intimidating) to tackle an emotional dilemma (heartbreak), I hope this project engenders mutual respect and sparks conversation between people in often isolated sectors — STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and the arts. To support this dialogue Melanie and I have planned a bunch of exciting ancillary events including a Broken Hearts Auction with an expert panel, a Nerd Night where we talk through the formula, a Financial Literacy session for artists, and a participatory Workshop for young women studying STEM & drama.

As an artist, this project is a big step forward for my artistic development. It builds experience as an international solo performer, actor, creator and improviser, and pushes my work into new, challenging territory.  It’s my most collaborative, highest production-value and research-intensive piece yet. It marks my foray out of the theatre and into gallery spaces— learning how to edit audio and create participatory installations.

The scope of The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale is gigantic. It literally straddles the Atlantic ocean. The project forges new international partnerships and deepens existing ones, in Canada and the UK, and in the theatre, gallery and STEM worlds. By contributing to this project you are supporting an innovative, boundary pushing, accessible art led by a young Canadian artist, with a team of international collaborators, to audiences on a national and international scale.

Early notes on the Cost of Love Formula. Math by Melanie Phillips.
Early notes on the Cost of Love Formula. Math by Melanie Phillips.

T H E   A S K   
The team has been incredibly heartened by the support we have so far received, and the rare opportunity to launch our ambitious project in two continents. The breadth and depth of this requires us to think BIG in terms of intention and accessibility. We want the strongest possible version of this project in order to make the biggest impact on as many people as possible. Ensuring we have the resources to launch it right, lays the foundation for EBYS to become a self-sustaining, popular art project with longevity.

To do this, we need your support.

This project is all about the cost of love. And to make it happen we need your love and also, your money. Please. The money raised in this campaign will comprise 7.5% of our total budget for the project. It will go towards:

  • Artist fees 
  • Mathematician fees 
  • Production costs (production design, equipment) 
  • Touring costs (travel, accommodation, per diems, shipping/freight) 
  • Administration costs 
  • Ancillary events 
  • Subsidized tickets 
  • Publicity & marketing costs (PR, print & digital campaigns)
  •  Insurance 

Your contribution to making The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale happen is deeply appreciated. THANK YOU.  If you’ve got no money, but you do have love to spare, we’ll take that too. We’ve made a list of other ways you can help, below.

Exhibition. Photo by Sophie le Roux.
Exhibition. Photo by Sophie le Roux.

I M P R E S S I V E   P R E S S 

★★★★ "refreshingly unshowy, vibrantly delivered… McGee does metatextuality with suppleness and confidence... brilliant” – The Stage on The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale (Wilderness Festival preview) 

★★★★ “funny, strange, excruciating and affecting" - The Telegraph on I’m Doing This for You 

★★★★ “Layered, intelligent and unique, this will challenge and excite in equal measure.” - Three Weeks on I’m Doing This for You

★★★★ “a sad and funny delight” - NOW Magazine on I’m Doing This for You 

★★★★ “a disturbingly powerful production by a hugely talented writer and performer” - The Skinny on OH MY IRMA

Work-in-progress show at Camden People's Theatre. Photo by Sophie le Roux.
Work-in-progress show at Camden People's Theatre. Photo by Sophie le Roux.

C O L L A B O R A T O R S   &   P A R T N E R S

  • Haley McGee, creator, writer & performer 
  • Melanie Phillips, math writer & collaborator, creator of The Cost of Love Formula & coordinator of ancillary events 
  • Mitchell Cushman, director 
  • Deborah Pearson, dramaturg 
  • Holly Beasley Garrigan, dramaturg & movement director
  • Lucy Adams, lighting designer 
  • Kieran Lucas, sound design  
  • Eliza Cass, administrative support & Broken Heart Playlist Master 
  • Derrick Chua, producing support in Canada 
  • Brian Logan, project mentor 
  • Robert Elliot Smith, Lee Smolin & Rajiv Patel, mathematics & finance consultants 
  • Additional outside eye work from Phil McKee, Richard Corgan, Ted Witzel & Richard Dufty 

UK Support from Camden People’s Theatre (Starting Blocks Scheme & Commission), Arts Council England (Project Grant), Wilderness Festival (Commission) Old Diorama Arts Centre (Associate Performer Scheme) & CPT, Battersea Arts Centre & The Albany (Residencies) & PULSE Festival (Scratch Day) & presented by CPT.

Canadian Support from the Ontario Arts Council (Theatre Creators Reserve Grant recommended by The Theatre Centre ) & presented by Outside the March, Pi Theatre & Belfry Theatre.

Exhibition. Photo by Sophie le Roux.
Exhibition. Photo by Sophie le Roux.

OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP 

If you can’t make a $£ donation now, here are some other ♥ ♥ ♥ ways you can help:

  • Ask your friends, co-workers, family members with an interest in art/love/money/math to consider donating.
  • Introduce us to your contacts in the private sector who may be interested in donating or sponsoring the project. (We can give them a charitable tax receipt if the donation is over $1000 CAD or £600.)
  • If you know of any gallery spaces that are looking for installations, tweet me with your suggestions. 
  • Come see the show in November (London) or in March (Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto). 
  • Add your songs to our ‘BROKEN HEART PLAYLIST’ on Spotify – made up of your most listened to break up songs. Send your picks to our wonderful Playlist Master: eliza.cass12@yahoo.co.uk 
  • Spread the word!  Share this page on social media and talk to your friends about it.

Exhibition. Photo by Richard Keiss.
Exhibition. Photo by Richard Keiss.

Risks and challenges

Our hopes for The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale are big (including more national and international touring, more events where conversations around love and money happen, interactive digital art, a book, a podcast series and on and on). And our goal is that The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale becomes a self-sustaining entity, that connects people all over the world through the question, 'What is the cost of love?'

But before we can do all of that, we must be meticulous and rigorous with our approach to these first performances in London (UK), Toronto, Victoria and Vancouver, which means having the resources in place so the project is able to achieve its greatest potential in impact.

In particular our focus is on creating strong publicity and marketing campaigns that will reach audiences who aren’t typical theatre-goers or gallery visitors, keeping ticket costs and entry fees low so that the project and ancillary events are accessible to everyone, and finally prioritising artist fees and design so that audiences receive the highest calibre work for their time and money.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $7

    ♥ + $

    Big loud thank you on social media.

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    Pledge £12 or more About $16

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    Your name in big proud letters on the website + a big loud thank you on social media.

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    Pledge £30 or more About $39

    ♥ + $$$

    Your name on the donors list in the show programme + your name on the website + a big loud thank you on social media.

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    Pledge £50 or more About $65

    ♥ + $$$$

    A thank you voice memo from Haley + your name on the donors list in the show programme + your name on the website + a big loud thank you on social media.

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    Pledge £100 or more About US$ 133

    ♥ + $$$$$

    A handwritten postcard from Haley + a thank you voice message from Haley + your name on the donors list in the show programme + your name on the website + a big loud thank you on social media.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $327

    ♥ + $$$$$$

    Haley's handwritten top ten break up tips + a thank you voice message from Haley + a handwritten postcard from Haley + your name on the donors list in the show programme + your name on the website + a big loud thank you on social media.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About $654

    ♥ + $$$$$$$

    An appraisal of one of your objects from an ex-lover using our formula + a thank you voice message from Haley + a handwritten postcard from Haley + your name on the donors list in the show programme + your name on the website + a big loud thank you on social media.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,307

    ♥ + $$$$$$$$

    VIP treatment at a performance of your choice AND an Associate Producer credit + an appraisal of one of your objects from an ex-lover using our formula + Haley's top ten break up tips + a handwritten thank you postcard from Haley + a voice message from Haley + your name on the donors list in the show programme + your name on the website + a big loud thank you on social media.

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Funding period

- (30 days)