Brighton festival promotor goes bust owing £600k

Posted On 31 Jan 2023 at 10:25 am

The Brighton production company behind The Warren and Electric Arcade has gone bust owing almost £600k to the bank, taxman and dozens of suppliers and artists.

Otherplace Productions Ltd have appointed liquidators to wind the company up.

The company didn’t bring The Warren mini-festival to Brighton Fringe last May because of cashflow problems.

And in November it said it was putting its new beachfront venue, Electric Arcade, into hibernation.

A statement of affairs, posted on Companies House this month, shows the company owed £596,678.45 when it appointed liquidators RSM UK.

The biggest creditors are HMRC and NatWest bank who are owed £95,413 and £184,871.33 respectively. Brighton and Hove City Council is owed £15,917, Brighton Zip operators Paramount Entertainment £11,382.22 and Komedia £8,576.

The document also shows the directors Thomas Arr-Jones and Nicola Jones put £50,000 of their own money into the company.

The biggest individual creditor is one man show performer Keith Alessi, who appeared at The Warren in 2019.

The statement of affairs says he is owed £38,305.73. Mr Alessi declined to comment.

The rest of the 66 creditors include local suppliers such as Brighton Catering Supplies, Shabitat, Cloak and Dagger Brewing Company and Lucky Bean Ltd, and art organisations such as Paddleboat Theatre Company and the Tall Stories Theatre Company.

On paper, the company’s assets are worth more than quarter of a million – but in practice, liquidators are only confident of realising about £18,000.

This is mainly because it’s uncertain how much can be raised from selling the company’s plant and machinery (book value £40,185) and structures (£178,347).

The company only has £4,178 in the bank.

In 2021, the company was given £152,451 from the Culture Recovery Fund – one of the highest awards in Brighton and Hove.

But last March, the company released a statement via Brighton Fringe announcing it was taking a year off from running The Warren, which had run for several years at sites on Valley Gardens.

It said this was to address financial challenges experienced in 2021, when it had been late paying artists, staff and suppliers.

It then hoped to return to the fringe in 2023.

Electric Arcade opened in summer 2020 underneath the Brighton Zip and was given a permanent alcohol licence later that year.

Last October, it hosted the Brighton Comedy Fringe Festival.

Brighton Fringe Festival said it would not be commenting.

Otherplace Productions Ltd was approached for comment.

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