Budget for drama program

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MissCeliaB, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jan 13, 2011

    My poor students are getting disheartened because they watch videos of other high school drama departments online, and they have all of these amazing sets and costumes and things. We barely have lights at our school, and we have no orchestra pit! We also receive no school funding, and are rarely approved to do fundraisers, raise ticket prices, etc. How do those schools do it? I was watching a documentary where a high school LOST $17,000 on a performance. We are lucky if we get to SPEND $5,000. A local community group spent $30,000 on a play recently, just for sets, props, and costumes. We just can't compete, but we also can't charge our kids to be in the shows, nor would we want to! How do I build up the morale of my kids who feel second rate in our district where two different schools have state-of-the-art theaters, and we have an auditorium built (and last remodeled) in the 70's? How do I find money so that we can upgrade things and build nicer sets?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 13, 2011

    I know that we get a LOT of donations from parents and the community! You may want to ask businesses for donations and they will be listed in the program. Try Donors Choose or other grants....
     
  4. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Jan 13, 2011

    Our choral music program is top of the line, and they do a lot of fundraising. One constant is that each show program runs ads, often reproducing the business card of the advertising individual or company. They also sell cookie dough, Entertainment books, etc. Do you charge admission for your shows? Are they well-attended? If you're doing a relevant production, do you ask other teachers to offer a bit of extra credit for attending the show? Our school did a Shakespeare comedy this fall, and since we were reading Hamlet I did give a few extra points to kids who attended--the drama teacher made up slips of paper with a distinctive stamped image that couldn't be copied for kids to turn in as proof. Do you sell refreshments at intermission? You could even have a silent auction before each show.
     
  5. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Jan 13, 2011

    I have no idea what the budget is for our drama class but I am sure it is small. Our drama class has worked to include other classes to help produce plays. Our art dept actually has a class called set design and they build the sets, our print shop does the flyers, tickets, and programs and our local newspaper does an excellent job promoting the plays (they put on 1 per semester). They do charge to attend the play which they put on for two nights ($5, I think).

    Good Luck
     
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We are not allowed to do as many fundraisers as I would like because there are so many other clubs doing so many other fundraisers. We can't charge more than $5 a ticket for students to come (we charge $8 for adults) and we don't charge faculty to come. Even if the auditorium was full both nights, it would barely cover the cost of the rights. Teachers do offer extra credit. We are not allowed to sell refreshments. We aren't allowed to do a silent auction because a different group does that. We are going to do a fundraiser at a pizza place soon, if we can get it approved. We are looking into selling ads in our programs, but that would add extra expense of getting programs printed professionally. Ours is entirely an after school activity, so we get no school board money, or support from other classes. Our art department said that helping with our set design doesn't fit in their curriculum.

    We are going to have a marketing crew this semester. They will be responsible for selling ads, asking for donations, etc.

    I'm sure it will all work out, it's just hard making do when my students try to compare our productions to ones with budgets that are five times the amount of ours.
     
  7. Shanoo

    Shanoo Habitué

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    Jan 13, 2011

    We run a canteen at ours to help funnel money back into the drama budget. I'll buy drinks and snacks in bulk at Costco and then sell them - everything usually sells for $1. It's not much, but last year we made about $500 profit.
     
  8. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    Jan 13, 2011

    I was fortunate enough to break in a brand new state of the art high school theater when I was junior in HS.

    We had it bought and paid for my the wife of the local road construction tycoon. Perhaps you could approach and or network with some of the local wealth and society in your area and try to get an endowment or grand donation established.

    BTW It may be different in down in LA but here the school can't tell me not to go banging on rich folks doors trying to build a relationship that may lead to a good endowment. All it takes is finding the right person to get you in touch with the money.

    Good luck:thumb:

    As a side note, I don't mind pimping the local wealth for money but others may find it distasteful. I understand your Point of view but my kids are worth it for me to do a little smoozing to get what we need.
     
  9. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We can't sell food because ROTC sell this, and track sells that, etc. and we can't do competing fundraisers. Otherwise we'd be selling all kinds of stuff!
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I know absolutely nothing about Donors Choose... is there any way you could submit a proposal for the things you want?
     
  11. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    No, because it's for an after school activity. Materials there have to be for classroom instruction. I e-mailed and asked them.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 14, 2011

    Ah, well.

    I wonder if you could sollicit funds from the SAG or other acting/theater-related organizations?
     
  13. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jan 14, 2011

    The movie industry is huge here, and I'll definitely be sending out students to deliver letters to each of the production companies. I am not above begging or borrowing (though I do draw the line at stealing) and getting to know the wealthier PTA members to be able to ask them for money/time when we need it. There's still no way that will all make up for the lousy condition of our auditorium, or the fact that we have no actual back stage area.
     

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