Why did the Roy Hart Theatre move to Malerargues in southern France?

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In the early seventies several things happened to the Roy Hart Theatre’s finances.

......1. The English economy was wobbling about considerably, causing the following results -

...............a. The cost of borrowing went up, with the result that repayments on Davide Crawford’s over draft for the improvements to the buildings of the.‘Abraxas Club’ became impossible.

...............b. Many of the members of the theatre became unemployed.

...............c. The cost of renting a flat in London went up.

...............d. The cost of travelling for the theatre’s tours to Europe for a cast of 26 meant that any profit from these tours was wiped out.

...............e. The English government did not provide us with any grant.

.....2. The net result of the above was that a great deal of our time and energy was lost trying to correct these deficiencies and that meant that the time we had left available to rehearse our future performances was insufficient.

......3. Even so, we made moves to economise our situation by looking into buying a large property in England (not London) with a view to cutting the cost of our individual rents. But the price of property was impossibly high.

.......4. Nearly all our performances were taking place on the mainland of Europe, so the idea of staying in England was not a viable one. (see 1d)


................Davide Crawford (Kevin’s father) was a property developer and played a very important role in all that took place due to the above situation. The first thing that happened after failing to find a suitable property in England was that Davide developed three private houses in Switzerland in the canton of Geneva. This was very nearly a disaster, the complications of our taking up residence in Switzerland were such that it was impossible. It was only because the value of the Swiss franc went up so high that the losses that Davide would either wise have made on the transaction were made up when converting back to the pound. (One of the three houses, in the end, had to be bought by the architect to complete the transaction!).
................It was decided to try and find something in France. Three cars were sent out from England looking for a suitable place, each car covered a certain area. It was Davide that found Malerargues, a property big enough and cheap enough for us to be able to take it on. It must be said that it had been of the market for ten years and was in a very dilapidated state. It took us twenty-five years to pay off the mortgage and thirty years to bring the buildings up to standard.
................The whole deal could also have ended in a disaster, since originally the house was part of the whole valley. It was only because Davide managed to divide the property into two parts, the house and the land. We had (in theory) to buy both parts and therefore to sign two ‘promesses de vente’. We defaulted on the second one which involved breaking the contract. This was of course pursued in the law courts for several years but we ultimately came to win our case.

.................And here we are still operating the estate thirty-five years later!

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