Popular venue Komedia Bath has become a fully-fledged community owned asset, following a crowdfunding campaign and months of work to secure the conversion from a limited company.
Thought to be the biggest conversion of its sort, the high profile mid-scale venue that operates from the Grade II listed former cinema on Westgate Street in Bath became a community owned asset on Wednesday 27th March.
The Komedia Bath venue founders set out on the path to disperse the ownership and control of the business on a community share basis in 2017.
They laid out their vision for the future in a detailed five year plan, with advice from Dave Boyle, Community Shares and Coops UK helping them define the structure of the society.
Over a 69 day campaign run on Crowdfunder.co.uk, they gained 304 investors and backing from Big Society Capital, as well as exceeding the investment target of £350,000 by an additional £29,000.
The money will now be used to recapitalise the business and invest in its long term future. Since the campaign concluded, the FCA and venue bankers Triodos carried out detailed due diligence on the conversion, culminating with the FCA converting the business into a society that will be run on cooperative rules.
The share offer laid out plans for the existing management team to continue to run the business in the Komedia venue model, extending the offer to add further community strands and benefits to the operation.
The board of the new society, called the Beau Nash CBS, but trading as Komedia, will be strengthened with the addition of Adrian Boreham as venue manager, and Chris Borkett, a member and advocate for community ownership with vast business experience.
The venue’s partnership with Bath Spa University will also be strengthened with Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Andy Salmon also set to join the board.
Speaking about the conversion to a community owned asset, Komedia Bath founder Richard Daws said: “Since we set off down the path to community ownership, the reasons for doing so have just grown stronger.
“We are already more embedded in the city and region than we ever have been and I can now envisage the venue we dreamed of setting up in 2007 still being around and thriving in 2107.”
The initiative gained backing in the entertainment industry with artists including Katherine Ryan, Daliso Chaponda, The Hooisers and Mel Giedroyc offering video messages of support.