Building the Successful Theater Company

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In the 21st century, the default setting for multiple voices is, of course, the Internet, and those with stories to tell cannot ignore the power of the web for communicating their message. Successful modern theaters understand the need to harness those channels.

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By this point, even most traditional old theaters have at least begun to make a place for themselves in cyberspace, but the vanguard is completely comfortable there: the Internet is their living room, their office, and their playground. They no longer conduct letter-writing campaigns; they send mass emails. For title3, there was no question that web presence went hand-in-hand with a new venture. They began not only with a website, but also with a strong presence on social media channels such as Facebook. Allison Williams also understands the driving force of Web 2. For modern theaters, there can be no conflict between these two modes, and offering up some content in public forums can only lead to positive publicity.

You may simply need to get creative on both sides. Newman himself has sunk a great deal of his own capital into getting shows produced in the past, and, like many producers, watched the dual evolution of a critical success alongside a fiscal failure.

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Now, it looks as if Trial by Fire is finally poised to achieve solid financial ground. But, the group was dedicated to following through. How did they get funding in such a short period of time? They made direct appeals, sending letters to everyone they knew: family, friends, former professors. Rather than simply asking for money, they explained their mission statement and helped donors understand how their contributions would further that cause.

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They also filed for fiscal sponsorship through Fractured Atlas so they could receive tax-deductible donations. The next step for title3 will be to increase their fundraising efforts, and to begin applying for government grants.

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Stand Up 8 took a different, and very modern approach, to finding funding. Brett Wilson, now a half-owner of Stand Up 8. For the Aerial Angels group, Williams keeps the overhead low.

The Angels usually perform at street festivals and similar outdoor events. They often book gigs that are paid in advance, but just as often they conclude their shows with a hat pass. Her belief is that, if you are selling a desirable product, people will buy it, and you can feel good about encouraging them to do so. Selling herself onstage is the same as selling herself before the show.

Curtain Calls. Live theater, Williams believes, is ready for a revival. But companies like Stand Up 8, title3, and Trial by Fire are committed to combating those attitudes. The world needs live theater, and the modern world needs a modern theater. Research your competition and how your own particular vision will either provide something unique to audiences or complement the existing venues.

Choose a name for your theater company that reflects its professionalism and artistic repertoire. Check with your state registrar's office to see if the name you want is available. If so, register the name, take out a business license, pay the required filing fees and put a notice of your new establishment in the local press. In this regard, the steps to make your theater company an official entity are no different than any other business enterprise.

Building the Successful Theater Company by Lisa Mulchany -

Set up a business bank account, order checks and apply for a business credit card line. Design a professional website that will include a production calendar, photographs, cast bios, play synopses and easily accessible ticketing information. Appoint members to your theater company's first board of directors.

Even if you're going to make all of the artistic decisions for your theater company, the collective brainstorming advice provided by an attorney, an accountant, a public relations professional, experienced actors and successful business people from your community is invaluable in moving your new productions forward, says Donald Farber, author of "Producing Theatre: A Comprehensive and Legal Business Guide.

Lake Dillon Theatre Company

Determine what your first season will be to acquire scripts and attain performance rights, conduct auditions and rehearsals, hire crew and sell tickets for performances, advises Lisa Mulcahy, author of "Building the Successful Theater Company. Have your staff counsel draft boilerplate contracts for talent and technical crew that identify payment schedules, working conditions and production duration. Familiarize yourself with union organizations since members of professional theater companies belong to these and are subject to union contracts and negotiations.

Ghostwriter and film consultant Christina Hamlett has written professionally since Her credits include many books, plays, optioned features, articles and interviews. She also travels extensively and is a gourmet chef.

How To Start a Theater Company - Ep. 01 How To Do Your Thing