Friday, 27 April 2012

Should theatre companies be charities #awqt

We are now starting a question time session. If you have a question about theatre in education (TIE), film in education, theatre in general, dealing with bullying or anything else you want to ask us (we will answer questions on anything), then please ask away. All questions will be answered. Ask your question by replying to his blog post or send us a question on twitter: @touringschools with the hashtag #awqt Your questions and the answers will be available for everyone to see.
Question from Rose (via Twitter):

What advice would you give to someone wishing to establish an education/community theatre company RE charity stat/fund etc? thnx, Rose

Answer: Hi Rose and thanks for your question. It's a very large question, but I will keep my answer brief. As you know, it is very difficult, especially in the current economic climate, to effectively sustain a theatre company financially. Funding pots are diminishing and many people are going after the same funds. I suggest that if you go down the charity/funding route that you must have a dedicated funding/promotion manager (they won't have time for anything else). You will also need to demonstrate a good track record of work and positive feedback. It can be an all-consuming affair and much like the audition process for actors - you need to be able to take rejection well and be persistent. I do not like the funding application process as I feel it wastes valuable time and resources. I prefer to rely on donations and fee based activity and actually spending time doing the work itself.

As regards being a charity, you need to decide why you are doing the work. Is it really charitable or do you just want the status? A charity is more work to set up - don't do it if you don't need it.

Based on the above I would suggest that, just starting out, time is better spent on producing a creative product that people are happy to pay for and actually spend time doing the work rather than rely on fundraising before you can do the work. Once you have toured/performed and can demonsrate a track record, use this to approach funders. You then have 'showcases' they can attend plus you get to do what you want to do (which is perform), when you want to, how you want to and to who you want to.

I hope the above is useful. Please let me know if you want me to clarify anything.

Thanks for your question.

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