SoapBox People

Members Club

Welcome to SoapBox People.

My name is Amy Wragg, and I run getonthesoapbox. I've been promoting original musicians and poets in East Anglia since 2006 (that's a huge 18years). Over that time, I have run hundreds of live events, many of them free, which only platform original artists. I have covered the costs of these events - venue hire, marketing, rider, artists fees - with my own cash, earned from working a whole host of day jobs, or from doing 'ticket-split' deals with artists and venues. That is when a ticket price, for example £10, is split between the artist, venue and promoter (the latter usually getting between 10-30%). This model has enabled people like me, without budgets or much money, to put on incredible events. (Many venues can't or won't offer ticket splits anymore due to the increasing costs of keeping a brick & mortar venue open). Lots of famous poets and musicians are still kind enough to do ticket splits with me, even today, as they know how tough it is when you are an unfunded/self-funded working artist & promoter. 

I feel very lucky to have been a small part of many (now) well-known musicians & poets early days, and I have put on so many that I am immensley proud to have hosted on SoapBox stages. Artists include: Scroobius Pip, Kae Tempest, Ed Sheeran, Bessie Turner, Let's Eat Grandma, Freya Roy, Salena Godden, Hollie McNish, Chris T-T, Dan Le Sac, Eliza Shaddad, Loula Yorke, Attila the Stockbroker, Harry Baker, Dean Atta, Alden & Patterson, Honey & The Bear, Luke Wright, Rowan James, Piers Harrison-Reid, Johnny Marriott (Pet Needs), Andy Bennett, Fay Roberts, and so many more. I have a pretty amazing archive of unreleased video and audio footage that I would love to do something with one day.

I am similarly proud - maybe even more proud - to have given hundreds of poets & musicians their first ever gigs, creating warm, friendly, and supportive events where they feel safe to share their art with strangers in a room together on a mic. This is my favourite thing. You don't have to make art, write poetry, or play songs with some lofty aim in sight. Make art cos it feels good. Make art cos its important, and your voice and ideas have value. Make art cos its part of being human. For me, making art, poetry, music, zines & events has kept me sane, and kept me connected and inspired. I want to share that joy with others cos I know how much value it brings to this thing we call being human.

I have never been officially funded. By the Arts Council, by a local council, by any organisation at all, ever. I have done all of this myself (with support from fantastic family, friends, volunteers & local businesses over the years). Maybe I should have applied for funding before now? And yes, people tell me that, and they are probably right. However. Funding applications are scary, and always felt very 'out-of-reach' for me. I used to look at the forms and feel overwhelmed, and unworthy. Post-pandemic I got a 'job-job' fundraising for a local charity, and have gained the skills and confidence to take on funding applications. I have also started to be aware that I am 'allowed' to be proud of what I have achieved, and I have given myself permission to celebrate my small impact on the arts in this part of the UK. I have worked extremely hard to self-fund getonthesoapbox, so I have lived, promoted and produced on a shoestring. It has taught me resilience, tenacity and creative problem-solving. I have also learnt not to be afraid to ask, but also be accepting of rejection. The worst someone can say it 'no'. Sometimes they say 'yes' and change your life.

Which brings me to this idea, today, SoapBox People.

I am creating a new membership community, that I hope will solve the problems I see local artists struggling with - developing their work, reaching new audiences, networking, industry knowledge, professional development - and after 18 years of doing this I have those skills (and if I don't, I know someone who does and can direct you to the right path). This membership will also solve some some of the problems I currently face: lack of disposable income and time to pay for organisational development. SoapBox has always been a non-profit endeavour, and has many times operated at a loss, cos thats the chance you take when you put on an event to platform original artists. Im not asking for sympathy. No one asked me to do this, but I have always known this area is rich in undiscovered, new and emerging artists, and I have strived to give them a bigger platform for their work. Much of my artist development work has been undertaken informally, and without recompense, so I have created this membership to formalise the process and allow me to work more closely and professionally with artists. 

By April 2024 I will want to have set-up SoapBox as a CIC (community interest company). This will allow me to apply to funding bodies and councils for support to deliver the many vital projects I have in development. In order to do this, I need your help. SoapBox People membership is £36 per year - (which works out at £3 per month). Or SoapBox People Plus membership is £60 per year (which works out at £5 a month) for those who can afford a bit more. The membership payment is set-up through PayPal, you don't need an account with them to subscribe, and either the full £36 or £60 will be payable immediately upon joining. (The 'per month' explanation is to demonstrate the value of this project). Both memberships are exactly the same. I created the more expensive option after seeking feedback from local creatives, with one person saying 'they would give more as they are able to', so I have made a way for that to be possible. Having been skint myself for a long-old-time, it is important to my values and ethos that membership is accessible, hence the low access point.

If you choose to become a member of 'SoapBox People' you will get a monthly printed zine & a whole raft of support, services, workshops, and professional development. Your membership will also help me 'prove' to funders, once I am set-up as a CIC, that there is a need for my work, and that is has proveable value. Setting up a CIC properly isn't cheap, and I promise to be transparent throughout this process. I will blog and share my journey to becoming a CIC so you will see exactly where your money has gone. Yes, some of it will be spent on living costs, and having my day-to-day costs covered would mean that I could devote more of my time to writing applications developing new work. 

SoapBox People, Annual Membership, £36 per year (or £3 per month) or £60 per year (£5 per month).

= Handmade Membership card which entitles the bearer to:

- 10% discount on all products sold at the SoapBox Arts & Crafts Stalls throughout the year, at any location.

- 75% discount on the new SoapBox Poetry Pamphlet publication service. (Public price will be £200, Member price will be £50).

= 12 zines per year, posted to any UK address (or can be collected at events)

+ Invitation to submit writing, events, art or news to the SoapBox zine. Preference given to SoapBox People Members.

= 1 handmade recycled textile garland upon joining, in a colour of your choice.

= 1 free ticket per year to a SoapBox Workshop. Three sessions planned for 2024:

- Writing for Performance (poetry writing session).

- Best Practice (spoken word performance skills workshop).

- Make Your Own Zine workshop.

= A free 60 minute 1-1 session on developing your Creative Practice. Custom advice & consultancy session. Can be taken at two 30 min sessions, online, or in-person. SoapBox specialist areas include:

- Festivals & Gigs Application Preparation

- Event Planning Consultancy

- Funding Advice, identifying funds & preparing applications

- Marketing, Press, and Communications Planning

- Networking & Increasing Your Profile

= Artist (or Organisation/Business) Profile on the SoapBox Website.

= Exclusive access to video and audio content about SoapBox’s work, both from current/future projects, and from the extensive 18year archive. Think interviews with poets & musicians, and much more. (Sent vis email)

= Advance notification of (paid-entry) events with nationally renowned poets & musicians, with option to purchase tickets at reduced price, before they go on sale publicly. Next gig with Harry Baker in May. Whoop whoop!

= 2 free tickets to 'SoapBox Socials', to be held quarterly at venues across Ipswich. These will be fun, friendly and creative networking events with other atists. Share work-in-progress, get feedback, make new connections, explore new possibilities, and make new like-minded friends.

= 2 free tickets (per member) to the Annual SoapBox People Party, an exclusive gathering for SoapBox supporters featuring live performances, artwork, deejays & more.

My Credentials:

  •  - Stage managed at Latitude, Bestival, Sonisphere, and WOMAD
  •  - Run 7 years of Fringe Festivals, in both Ipswich and Norwich, selling adverts to fund print runs of programmes. 
  •  - Created, from scratch, festival stages. Literally landscaping the area where they take place, designing and building the artwork.  
  •  - Vast experience in sourcing and booking all the performers (paying close attention to gender balance) 
  •  - A flair and talent for designing promotional materials.  
  •  - Run festival bars with charm, panache and inclusive banter  - on which note.... 
  •  - Dealt assertively and effectively with Keith Allen
  •  - A personal alcohol licence, and am a very experienced event manager. 
  •  - A great record of success with funding applications in my previous employment, so can advise on this too. 
  •  - A very large network and meaningful connections with artists, organisations, bands, poets and cultural institutions across the region. If I can't help you, I know someone who can and will introduce you. 
  • - Professional workshop leader, having delivered sessions with Future Female Society, Festival of the Beats, Harlequin Fayre, Maui Waui, Suffolk Archives, and the National Writer's Centre.
  • - Poetry show producer, creating events for Festivals, and custom shows including 'Tell Me Again Why We Don't Need Feminism' for SPILL in 2019.
  • - Promoted & managed independent live music, poetry & arts events under the name of 'getonthesoapbox' for 18 years.

If you're in a position to be able to support my work, then I would be so very grateful for your belief, and will work my socks off for you. If you can't afford to join, don't worry, you will always be 'SoapBox People' and many of my events will always remain free entry. If you call me, I'll help you if I can. Its a personal passion of mine. Arts should not just be accesible to those with money.

To formally launch SoapBox People, I will give away two free memberships to people who can't afford to join, so pop me an email and I will sign you up. No questions asked. You don't need to tell me why you can't afford it. First two people to email me will be gifted membership. (If you've read this far, then I bloody love you)

Thanks for reading, thanks for listening, thanks for being SoapBox People. xxx



The membership payment is set-up through PayPal, you don't need an account with them to subscribe, and either the full £36 or £60 will be payable immediately upon joining. Paying the full membership immediately is extremely helpful for my development plans. Thank you, so much, for even reading this. If you can't afford to join, please don't, you are and will always be SoapBox People.

p.s. Just in case you're reading this, have some disposable income, and value what I do but don't want to join. You can make a donation of any amount vis this link >>> PayPal Donate to SoapBox <<<