Komedia, the award-winning live entertainment venue in the heart of Bath, announces plans to convert to a Community Benefit Society.

Inspired by the idea of common ownership and the positive response it has generated, Komedia Bath, in partnership with Crowdfunder.co.uk, will launch its community ownership campaign at the beginning of October.

Komedia Bath co-founder Richard Daws says: ‘Community is at the forefront of this new chapter of Komedia’s story in Bath, and we’re giving everyone the chance to get involved. ‘We’ve investigated many options with a view to securing the permanence of the Komedia venue in the city and this is by far the best way forward for us. ‘It’s not about “saving” the venue, which is the case with many community ownership schemes, more about taking a bold step to transform the way we do business, building a genuine and committed relationship with the community we serve. ‘Our aim is to safeguard Komedia’s place at the beating heart of Bath and the South West’s live entertainment scene. ‘Ultimately, we hope this exciting development launches a blueprint that works nationally for other mid-scale venues facing similar challenges.’

In 2008 a small team of forward thinking entrepreneurs rescued the derelict Grade II listed Beau Nash landmark building on Westgate Street and transformed it into Komedia Bath.
Brought back to life with more than £1 million of private investment and support from Dutch ethical bank Triodos, Komedia’s three owners – Richard Daws, Colin Granger and Marina Kobler – completely overhauled the venue, winning the National Construction Excellence Award for the Best Renovation of a Listed Building in the UK.

Komedia rapidly became an important cultural asset in the heart of the city and, over the last decade, has grown to become Bath’s premier independent venue, bringing a wide-ranging programme of award-winning comedy, music, film, cabaret and more to the city each year.

Komedia has won the prestigious Chortle Award for Best Venue in the West of England and Wales five times since 2009.

The comedy programme has been strong from the start, and the music programme has grown considerably as we have improved the space and invested in new equipment.

We have integrated and collaborated with all the Bath festivals, and now offer a diverse and wide-reaching programme including the spoken word, kids’ events, music, theatre and cabaret.

Inspired by the innovative idea of common ownership and the desire to build permanence into Komedia’s future, the shareholders and management team have undertaken Komedia’s conversion to a Community Benefit Society.

To facilitate this, Komedia’s shareholders are proposing to write-off elements of their original investment in order to give the community – as well as themselves – the opportunity to take part in a new joint venture share issue.

Community Benefit Societies (BenComs) conduct business for the benefit of their communities. In this instance, it will be the community itself making the investment in the organisation; anticipated to be the people and business community of Bath, lovers of live entertainment nationally, and the comedy

Everyone! Within the next month or so (we are aiming for the first week of October) we will be launching our campaign through Crowdfunder.co.uk and we’ll be welcoming investments of any size, from £250 to £100,000. We are also welcoming donations between £25 and £249.

So far we have had a very positive response to this proposal and we feel that the city of Bath and the wider comedy and  entertainment community, have an appetite for our proposal of common ownership. We will be launching the campaign through Crowdfunder.co.uk who are very positive about the success of this initiative.

A return of 3% can be paid on investments and remaining profits will be reinvested in the business or returned to the community.

The objective of this transition is to secure the long-term future of Komedia Bath and in doing so, help to remodel and safeguard the future of mid-scale venue operation throughout the UK.

A suite of Member Benefits will be available to investors which will reward them as customers, with preferential booking access as well as discounted rates for food, drink and venue hire.