Help keep Vaudeville alive and our ticket prices affordable by lending your support to our summer show, Vaudeville on Vacation.
Who are you guys and...
Dark Follies began creating street vaudeville shows in 2008 when someone thought it would be a great idea to bring together a bunch of talented friends, some drummers and a megaphone and put together an outdoor, vaudeville inspired, variety show during one of Portland's First Friday Art Walks. We were only going to do it once.
Today we are a troupe of 17 versatile performers including dancers, musicians, jugglers, comedians, fire dancers, singers and more. Together we collaborate to create skits, write music and assemble a live show that is funny, smart and entertaining to people of all ages.
Over these past four years we've had a ton of fun, made lots of new and wonderful friends and we've learned a few lessons along the way. One of those lessons is that bringing Vaudeville back to life costs money.
....why should we give you money?
One of the things we love about doing our summer street shows is that they are 100% free and anyone who wants to make their way to Monument Square in Portland, Maine on a First Friday Art Walk from June to September can see the show. However, there are limits to the length of time we can perform and what kind of entertainment we can present in the cobblestone square. So twice a year we bring Dark Follies from the street to the stage for a full theatrical production.
Lights, costumes, music, theater rental, props, batteries (yes...we use a lot of batteries), programs, advertising, rehearsal space, signs for Miss Polly and of course paying our performers and crew. All of these things add to the cost of a show and while we could decide to charge $25.00 or more for a ticket to come see our show, it simply would not be in the spirit of what we want to do.
We want our stage shows to be as accessible to the public as our street shows are, and while we can't do them completely for free, we'd like to keep the ticket price as reasonable as we can - no higher than $12.00, which is less than the cost of a movie on most nights.
It's family entertainment...
Dark Follies is one of the few live entertainment events that appeals to those of any age. You can bring your kids, your mom, your sister, or your grandfather and each will find something to love about the show. Whether you attend our show alone or you bring your family and friends, we don't think that live entertainment should be priced out of reach.
And so we are asking for your help in bringing our summer stage show, Vaudeville Vacation, to life from June 21st to the 23rd. Your contribution will do more than just help fund our show and pay performers. You will be helping to keep the cost of attending a live show something that is affordable to most everyone.
We have some great incentives to show our gratitude. Everything from a heartfelt thank you in our program, to a Vaudeville serenade by the entire cast of the Follies!
Since beginning our Kickstarter campaign earlier this week I've been asked by a few folks exactly what is the cost of putting on a show? Don't ticket sales cover the cost of a show?
The answer to the second question is not entirely. While ticket sales may help with the cost of the show we also draw revenue from other sources such as sales in our show program and funds set aside from our street show 'hat fund.' We often cover certain costs by bartering such as a reduction to our printing costs in exchange for an ad in the show program. These sources generally cover about half the cost of a show and rest, the rest does indeed come out of ticket sales.
What exactly will this $2,000 cover?
Theater rental: $900 – This is our largest upfront expense. We need to have a place to put on the show and we do love, love, love Lucid Stage. Their theater space is not only one of our favorites to perform in; it is also one of the most affordable in Portland.
Printing costs: $300 – Posters to promote the show, programs to give to our audience, set lists for the cast and about 100 or so miscellaneous photocopies. We our best to keep this cost low by bartering and by asking audience members to recycle their programs so we can use them during another show in the run but even so printing is expensive.
Promotional costs: $250 – Our director sends out press releases in an almost obsessive fashion beginning about a month before the show, however whether or not the recipient of the press release decides to do anything with it is beyond our control so we do have to run ads in local publications in order to attract attention for the show.
Technical needs: $250 – Every show needs light and sound. We can’t be on stage and make sure that music will play at the appropriate time or that the stage will be lit properly so we pay someone to do that for us. We also have to pay for things like microphones, the occasional extension cord and music licensing fees.
Design costs: $200 – Posters, advertisements, program design and layout. While those that do this work for us are fans and kindly cut us a break on costs, we do still pay them. They are local artists who do some amazing work for us at a very low rate.
Miscellaneous: $100 – Batteries for LED props, water for back stage, safety pins to prevent costuming mishaps, paint to touch up props…there are all sorts of small expenses that are a part of every show and they do add up.
There you have it. This is what your $2000 will cover. Of course we do have other expenses like costuming, new props and paying performers that are not listed here, but we are seeking to cover what we call our static costs. These are items that we know the cost of far in advance of a show which are generally paid before the show opens. Having the items covered will allow us to keep tickets prices affordable, pay our performers well and continue to bring vaudeville to the stage.
Thank you for your support and please help us to spread the word.
If for one reason or another you are unable to make use of your ticket you do have the option of sharing your reward with a friend who will be able to attend the show.
For those that live out of state but who still want to support the show, we will gladly substitute Dark Follies merchandise of equal value for your reward ticket. This will likely take the form of a pound of the Dark Follies blend coffee. Yum!