Ever thought of owning a Theatre in Education Company? What a fun idea! However, it can also be a tricky business to run. There is so much to consider. This contributed posts deals with all the ins and outs.
A Theatre In Education Company: A Creative Outlet For The Budding Mompreneur
One of the most pertinent aspects of the emotional makeup of any Mompreneur is the impact of everything on their children.
When looking for a business model that doesn’t just stick to the normal conventions, you might wonder how your kids and others can benefit from what you are doing. This is why so many Mompreneurs consider the education of children, as well as their overall well-being, to be a priority.
And while you can flex your creative muscle by going into childcare or tutoring kids to ensure they have the best start in life, a Theatre Company is one of those options that certainly proves up to the challenge.
Firstly, if you have a creative background, especially in Theatre, Arts or Writing or once upon a time you were a creative professional but it had to go by the wayside for the benefit of your kids, a Theatre in Education Company is one of those methods that combines:
- the creative side
- the benefits for children
- is also a business model that is niche enough and
- can possibly be lucrative.
So, with that in mind, let’s dig deeper.
A Unique Approach To Education
Firstly, setting up a Theatre in Education Company is a very left-field approach to educating children across the board. But it’s proving to be a better approach to engaging kids, especially with subject matters that are difficult to deal with in schools, or schools haven’t dealt with at all.
When setting up a company like this, the shows can be incredibly engaging, not just for the fact that it’s a change from the norm for most of the kids in school, but it’s a better way to get kids to learn.
Nowadays, there’s a lot more focus on different styles of educating children rather than just the standard old school approach. But there are still schools that have this antiquated model, which means you could make this a unique selling point.
And as with any business in their embryonic stages, you should be prepared for fallow periods. Financially speaking, you should be prepared for peaks and troughs. As is the case of any artistic endeavour, you will have many dry periods, and this is why you need a financial backup plan to keep you ticking over.
The Work Is The Most Important Thing
It’s an overused expression in artistic circles that it’s the work that matters, nothing else. But actually, it is true.
When it comes to ensuring you have a product to present to schools, the concept and script is the most important thing. When it comes to reaching out to schools and selling your expertise, it has to fit in with what they are teaching. This is, arguably, what will keep you afloat.
It’s nothing new, after all, every business knows how important the act of appealing to a specific target market is and in this case, it’s your ability to create good quality scripts that are in line with the school’s curriculum.
So for starters, you need a handful of good quality scripts. For example, having one that tackles Shakespeare, while another is all about road traffic safety, and another embodies the history of science in a swift, 45-minute production.
Hiring The Right People
It’s not just about getting the right performers, if you aren’t artistically inclined yourself, you need a director, a writer, or even technical people who know what they’re doing. It certainly depends on your budget, which will dictate your scale.
When you are approaching schools with your product, you need to ensure that you can fit in with their school day. This is something that can be a challenge, especially if you hire people that have too much of an artistic temperament.
This is completely the wrong way to go about things. Instead, you need resourceful, hardworking, but ultimately, multi-skilled performers.
This is why so many people that start their own Theatre Company are performers and writers themselves. Because they want an outlet for their creativity. But you still need to leave the school, after the show, with a good impression.
The right people aren’t necessarily the best performers or the most profound writers, it’s those people who are willing to put in the hours and dedication for the overall cause.
The Basics That Aren’t Always Thought Of
Because the overall endeavour of a Theatre Company can be pretty exciting at the very outset, this can mean a lot of the basics are overlooked.
Something like costumes, for example, is something that can be quite expensive, especially if you leave it to the last minute. This is why it’s important to get into the mindset of looking for bargains, and constantly searching for appropriate clothing for your performers.
While standard clothing can be bought in thrift shops, something a little bit more sophisticated or specific uniforms, such as a chef, or a police officer, requires a little more searching.
There are resources, such as Uniforms & Scrubs that can help when you need to bulk buy, especially when it comes to various sizes and there are also costume departments that rent out specific clothing but this can be a considerable cost.
Costumes are one of the major dents in a Theatre Company’s budget, which is why it’s always handy for you to be good with a needle and thread.
When setting up a Theatre Company, one of the biggest issues is that of space. It’s not just costumes but it’s the props, technical equipment (especially if you are planning on having songs), as well as the set, that may prove to be financially draining, as well as the transport.
Ultimately, the clichéd image of a Theatre Company is still ringing true to this day. A bunch of actors, crammed into a van, going from school to school. And this is the one way to keep it profitable.
Doing a show in one school in the morning and another one in the afternoon, is a typical model for most Theatre in Education Companies, as this is where you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
Keeping It Profitable
Often, the most difficult part of keeping it going is all about how the school reacts to the show. Sometimes, you might encounter a school that is incredibly sensitive to certain issues. In cases like this, your actors have to make considerable changes or edit aspects out. Though this can cause a lot of stress, it’s also a good way to gauge if it’s worth returning to the school. If the school is happy with your work, they may have you back again but it obviously depends on their budget and what is on their curriculum.
As a result, having shows for different age groups is a way to keep your business profitable:
- Christmas-themed shows for all ages
- as well as shows that are for young children such as fairy tales
- in addition to the more educational fare, such as science-themed shows will show you are multi-skilled.
This is also is a way to earn a continuous living.
There are resources you should take advantage of, especially when it comes to things like advertising, the American Alliance for Theatre & Education can give you a few pointers so you can head in the right direction.
It’s a very steep learning curve, because not only do you have to keep track of the business side, but the creative side needs to be nurtured. As a result, the battle between business and artistic temperament is something that will be at the fore continuously.
Sometimes it’s best to not invest yourself in the creative side but rather focus on the business side of things. It’s one of those things that you will learn to structure because if you don’t, you will see the negative impacts, either in your performers, or the lack of organization in terms of the finances or even the customer service approach towards the school.
To keep a Theatre Company profitable now is far more difficult than it used to be 20 years ago. Of course, the financial issues in the world are detracting from the arts sector, so you’ve got to be on your toes with regards to the products you present.
Likewise, if you are looking for a creative outlet, a Theatre in Education Company is something that works well as a malleable business model.
As already mentioned, you can tailor your shows towards the various educational curriculum, but also the time of year can dictate whether you do a Christmas show or any other holiday-themed play.
While the battle between Art and Business is something that’s continually fought, if you are looking to create a business that aims to educate the leaders of tomorrow or give them a base knowledge of the essentials, Theatre in Education is one of those businesses that can prove to be a very lucrative model, especially in the creative sector.
Because so many budding creatives are struggling under their own initiative. Finding ways to make a living while also making good art is a very difficult balance to find. If you have a passion for the Arts and business savvy, it’s worth considering this creative business endeavour.
If you’ve ever owned or considered owning a Theatre in Education Company, please leave a comment below.