How to raise money to run your own touring company

If you are reading this then of course you are probably at the point that you have a show, you might even have an idea of who will star in the show and who might direct it. But you have the major issue of getting money to pay for them and everything else.

Every little thing that is mentioned in this article is listed in the order of the amount you can hope to receive with the largest first and also the likelihood of you actually getting that money.

The Arts Council

The Arts Council uses public money and supports every level of theatre/arts. They do have a list of things that they do not fund and you can find that via the website they have. But let’s assume for the purpose of this question you’re doing a production of Macbeth, but you’re the reason you’re doing it is because your using just female performers because you feel that it is a great opportunity to show more women in theatre. But on top of this you’re taking it to rural areas where there might not be a lot of theatre taking place, especially something as bold as how you plan to produce it. DONE. How simple was that? You just summed up the show you plan on touring in two sentences and you have got two selling points. If you were just going to do Macbeth with a multi-gender cast to just a few urban areas you probably won’t get funding. Mainly because they (The Arts Council) need to invest the money (Public Money) in what they think the public would enjoy the most. So that’s the basic bit of how to sell a show to them. Let’s imagine you apply for the Grants for The Arts Fund. It recently changed and now they accept around 60%+ of the applications they get for under £15,000. If you are applying for funding for the first time then do not bother applying for more because you need to prove you can handle the money properly.

Crowdfunding

The amount of sites online now that do this is CRAZY! So first thing first go on all of them, watch all the videos about theatre. Make notes of what is funny what is awkward and what is just a brilliant idea. Is there a connection between a good video and the amount of money they have received? Essentially do your research. Crowdfunding is a chance for you to show the public the people behind the project, and you should offer them some sort of reward for them giving you money, don’t be horrible and offer them a picture of the cast if they give £10. Be generous as it is that money that will make your show able to tour, maybe for £15 they get a free ticket? Because if you give one person a free ticket you normally have them bring a friend.

Writing to companies

This option if very rare. People do not tend to have a lot of money to give away especially in the current climate, so if a company does they normally want some great advertising. It’s normally best to try and get discounts etc. in return for adverts in your programme.

Writing to celebrities

I have known this to work one or twice but I would suggest you send out 50 letters and cross your fingers that one gets back to you.

Other than the above options the only other things is to find 'Angels' like crowdfunding but with this option they will buy shares/credits in your show. For example they give you £5,000 this equates to 1 credit. When the company has made a profit you take a percentage of that and divide it amongst the amount of credits you have. A breakdown of how this might work is below.

Profit made £1000
Credits 5

Divide the profits 40% going to the producer/production company 60% going to the credits.

£600 left for credits
Every credit then equals £120.

BUT if you are writing to 'Angels' watch your wording it is a very scary place to be between theatre and the tax man so know your position and make sure you don’t sell credits to anyone that you know too well. The law states many things about asking for investment and it has to be done as an invitation and you can’t say things like "The show will definitely make a profit" Because it is very rare shows even on the west end make a profit.

So after all that I hope you still have plans to go ahead and tour the show because if you do, do it, then you will feel such a sense of achievement after it. It will be stressful but, why else do we work in this profession, it wouldn’t be fun if it was easy.

Written by: Peter Stone - Visit author's website

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