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.