Universal Arts was formed in 1998 by Tomek Borkowy and Laura Mackenzie Stuart by amalgamating Arts International Exchange (est. 1994) and Eastern European Media Services (est. 1993). It acts as performing arts promoters, agents, producers and arts related consultants.
We believe that in a market economy theatre production is like any other product, which has to be well developed and marketed to attract potential buyers (i.e. receiving theatres, festivals and, most of all, audience).
The original aim of Universal Arts was to assist international theatre companies to extend their touring reach by showcasing work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and marketing it to international theatre and festival programmers. This has since extended to developing a world-wide agency and a production arm of the business.
We are the winners of 2009 Herald Archangel for 20 years programming and international theatre agency experience.
As International Agents we represent client shows which have already been successful in their home base and which are looking to widen their touring reach. During the last ten years we have represented companies from Canada, Cuba, Czech Republic, England, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Korea, Poland, Reunion Island, Scotland, Venezuela and the USA. We specialise in representing shows that are not entirely language dependent such as physical theatre, dance and musicals. Additionally, we provide directing or co-directing consultancy to help existing productions better suit the international market.
As Promoters we work with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the theatre equivalent of the Cannes Film Festival - THE MARKET SHOWCASE. Every year in August over 700 companies from around the globe present over 1600 productions to nearly 700 worldwide buyers. Good productions are bought and sold by inviting festivals and receiving theatres programmers. Independent producers purchase scripts and productions for further development and TV companies search for new talent. In this environment we provide a package of festival services including, administration, financial management and marketing. We also program and manage New Town Theatre receiving around 40 theatre companies from across the world each festival.
Tomek Borkowy – Artistic Director
Born in Warsaw, Poland, he graduated with a Master’s Degree from the State Academy of Theatrical Arts in Krakow. Tomek Borkowy has nearly 35 years of experience as actor, director, producer, theatre manager, agent and drama teacher. Since his first professional appointment as Artistic Director of the repertory theatre company ‘Young Theatre’ in Krakow in 1978 he has worked on literally hundreds of theatre and film projects. Film and TV management includes running Eastern European Media Services UK. His original agency work focused mainly on Eastern European theatre companies. Recognising the central role which the Edinburgh Festival Fringe continues to play in the promotion of international productions he has worked closely with the Fringe for last 18 years. His impressive track record in presenting innovative international professional work won him a Herald Angel Award. A natural extension of this work was to develop the year-round touring potential of key clients. Developing such links is an on-going priority for Universal Arts in order to maximise the sales advantage to its clients.
Laura Mackenzie Stuart – Managing Director
For many years Laura has worked in business and financial administration of the arts. From 1990 – 1998 she was Deputy Director of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival. Particular areas of responsibility included co-ordinating the needs of over 700 companies coming from all over the world each festival, running the Festival Box-office (turnover of £1.5m in 8 weeks) and running the Sponsorship Department. Membership of the Society’s Management Committee provided 8 years experience in forming a solid foundation for arts business management. Laura joined Universal Arts in 1998 as Managing Director. As the year-round representative of professional touring companies in the UK and abroad she has formed close working relationships with Visiting Arts and a number of British Council offices and gained financial support for a number of clients. Laura has worked with the Producers of a number of shows which have been launched during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and which have gone on to reach international acclaim. She also has a broad based knowledge of current industry standard marketing practice and a proven track record in running large departments and controlling and implementing all aspects of current employment legislation.
For more information please contact Universal Arts:
Tel +44 131 478 0195