Theatre Law

Counterculture's services for the performing arts

What we do

We enable actors, dancers and theatre companies to focus on what they do best – creating live performances – while we watch their back. Our services help you to protect your rights, revenue and reputation, for performances in festivals, found spaces, studios, regional theatres or on the West End. We are theatre lawyers, experienced solicitors and specialists in your sector.

Counterculture's entertainment lawyers work across the UK with everyone from companies just starting out to established artists, producers, managers and investors – including some of the biggest names in the business. We also act for community theatre groups, umbrella organisations, festivals, promoters, venues and ticket resellers. And we help groups and organisations from abroad who want to perform here.

In every client relationship we aim to be:

  • Clear – so you understand the issues, the thinking behind our advice and the costs involved
  • Simple – so you can concentrate on making the right decisions and not waste time on complicated paperwork
  • Swift – so you don’t miss an opportunity or allow an issue to grow
  • Smart – so you get a canny, professionally rigorous solution not a standard, off-the-shelf answer
  • Affordable – so you can properly protect yourself from day one.

How we can help you

Our team has experience across all areas of entertainment law including the latest technologies and business models. That includes:

  • Contracts – including venue hire, concession agreements, and co-production deals
  • Commercial agreements – including events, sponsorship, merchandising and brand partnerships
  • Artist agreements – including acting, stage management, designer and artistic director agreements
  • Rights – including production licences, options, commmissioning, publishing and moral rights
  • Revenue – ensuring you’re getting paid what you’re owed
  • Negotiation – from contract negotiations to settling disputes (we’re nice people but we have sharp teeth when necessary)

We often help clients who are looking to innovate or expand into new areas – like merchandising or digital distribution. And we can help you with any aspect of your finance, accountancy, fundraising, capital projects and tax issues too.

Put simply, we cover pretty much every area of performance related law that’s likely to affect you. You’re welcome to surprise us with something new.

“Working with Counterculture was a godsend! They helped us through the complex and time consuming process of becoming a charity with exceptional professionalism and attention to detail. As a result, our submission to the charities commission was approved in just 2 days. They also provided valuable knowledge and assistance in making our first Theatre Tax Relief claim. We would highly recommend Counterculture to other developing performing arts organisations.”

Donna Meierdiercks, Producer – Alexander Whitley Dance Company, April 2017

Who are we?

Theatre lawyers

We are entertainment lawyers, qualified solicitors who have specialist knowledge and experience of working in the sector. We set up Counterculture as a multi-disciplinary firm, so that we can offer management, governance, tax, accountancy and other professional services too, all under the same roof.

Keith Arrowsmith

Keith is a partner at Counterculture. He qualified as a solicitor in 1995 and has worked in law firms in London, Manchester and Sheffield. He works across the arts, heritage, digital and media sectors. His specialist areas include contract, intellectual property, data protection, business and internet law. Keith has advised venues, producers, artistic directors, actors, dancers and writers. He's also produced musicals and has appeared on the West End.

keith@counterculturellp.com

Kathryn Worthington

Kathryn is currently a Trainee Solicitor, but was previously an actor working in theatre and TV (trained at Goldsmiths College and the Birmingham School of Acting) and the Festival Director at the award winning 24:7 Theatre Festival in Manchester. Having been on both sides of an audition panel she’s familiar with the issues faced by both individuals and companies in the sector, and supports Counterculture clients with staffing, governance and charity matters.

kathryn@counterculturellp.com

Joanne Peters

Joanne is an experienced consultant, producer and arts manager who specialises in business development and fundraising, project management, mentoring and training to individuals and organisations. Before joining Counterculture Joanne was the executive director of a dance company and began her career in the arts as Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Arts Council England. As a producer, she supported two national dance companies and has strong, practical experience of working with artists and organisations through review and development processes.

joanne@counterculturellp.com

Meghan McConnell

Meghan is Counterculture’s legal and arts administrator.  She recently competed an MA in Arts Management.  Her previous theatre experience includes working as a producer, administrator, and manager at the Eclectic Company Theatre in Los Angeles. Meghan co-produced their annual new-works festival, managed the theatre’s budget, trained volunteers, and mentored new producers.

meghan@counterculturellp.com

To contact us

If you need help fast – or you’d just like to find out more – call us or email. We’re a friendly bunch, we love our job and we love good theatre.

Manchester office: 0161 826 1266

London office: 020 3388 9901

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