SOR 004: Theatre For Fun and Profit
I’m going solo in this episode of the podcast, talking about money. It’s always bothered me that so many theatres and acting companies (often those that put fantastic work up on the stage) do such a bad job of operating as a business. Just like any other business we are creating a product that people pay for, and we should have every expectation of operating at a profit.
I listened to this podcast after recording it, and I have to admit: I ramble a little bit here. Part of that is because I do get genuinely frustrated around this topic when I see organizations that are truly exceptional from an artistic standpoint and no plan for becoming financially stable. I may be the only one who notices it, but I hear the frustration in my voice when I listen to this episode. I’m keeping it, though, because it is authentically how I feel.
I really cover two financial topics in this episode. The first is the subject of making money. Logically most of us get that having more money means we would be able to do even more things with our art, but there seems to be some head trash around the idea that we would have to sacrifice our artistic integrity in order to become profitable. There are more ways to become a profitable organization than to do nothing but Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat all year long. I call shenanigans.
I also touch a little bit on the idea of government funding – and to a lesser extent corporate funding. I think funding can be a very good thing for organizations, but if it isn’t handled responsibly it seems like it can cause more harm than good.
In this episode:
- What nonprofit really means – it’s just a tax designation, not a philosophy
- How government funding can be bad for your finances – there are ways to use government (or corporate) funding that can be a boon to your organization, but other ways that can trap you
- Where funding should go in your budget – the right place to allocate these types of funds to make sure you remain financially stable
- How profitability gives you more artistic flexibility – more money means more resources for your shows and infrastructure, and if you know how to market a show you can still produce edgier fare
- Stop Making Excuses for Non Profits – a blog post by Gedaly Guberek where he challenges the idea that a nonprofit organization can’t operate like a for-profit business
- What if…We Cast Off our Non-Profit Status? – In a thought experiment, Chad Bauman explores how becoming a for-profit business would change the mindset and actions of the people involved in a theatre
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