18 Tips for Starting Your Own Theatre Company

Launching a theatre company is a monumental task that demands dedication, a clear vision, and a blend of creative and business skills. Here are some invaluable tips and insights from seasoned theatre company founders to help you navigate the complexities of starting your own theatre company.

Building the Right Team

Balancing Business and Creativity:

    • It’s crucial to have a mix of business-minded individuals and creatives. This ensures that both the artistic and financial aspects are well-managed. Take an inventory of your resources (are you good at taxes? Can you direct? What about fix a leaky roof?) Ensure your hires excel in whatever you lack in.

Forming a Supportive Board:

    • Assemble a board that offers strong support. Attempt to get startup costs paid through donations, highlighting the importance of a committed team. A board can make or break a theatre, so ensure you have members that are in  for the right reasons.

Financial Planning and Fundraising

Detailed Financial Records:

    • Keep precise records of all income and expenses from the beginning. This practice will make the incorporation process smoother and facilitate dealings with the IRS. Your best bet is to find a ticketing platform that automatically does this for you from the beginning!

Fundraising Before Productions:

    • Consider raising funds for a year after obtaining 501(c)(3) status before staging your first show. This ensures you have a solid financial foundation. Check out our other blog post: Strategies for Theatres to Secure Sponsors

Seeking Sponsorships and Grants:

    • Look for sponsorships and grants early on. Explore grants from regional arts alliances and state programs, and use library resources to find grant opportunities. The AACT has a great post on how to secure grants.

Legal and Structural Considerations

Incorporation and Nonprofit Status:

    • Get advice from people familiar with incorporation and nonprofit procedures. Use available guides to understand both federal and state requirements.

Understanding Employment Laws:

    • Be aware of employment laws such as California’s AB5, which requires workers to be employees rather than contractors. This can significantly impact your financial planning.

Insurance and Legal Assistance:

    • Secure a business attorney and good insurance. Legal advice can help you navigate contracts, intellectual property issues, and other legal challenges.

Operational Strategies

Clear Vision and Mission:

    • Define a strong mission statement. Understanding why you’re starting a theatre company instead of producing individual shows is crucial for long-term success.

Engaging with the Community:

    • Ensure your company meets a community need. Partnering with existing groups and supporting local theatres can build a strong support network.

Networking and Collaboration:

    • Build relationships within the community. Networking and collaboration can help fill seats and create a loyal following.

Production and Programming

Starting Small and Growing:

    • Begin with smaller productions and scale up gradually. This approach allows you to manage resources better and establish a solid reputation.

Offering Diverse Programs:

    • Consider offering youth programs, which can be financially beneficial, while adult productions help build your artistic reputation. You can also consider offering classes or camps! Ensure that you start with a ticketing platform that can help you do this.

Effective Data Management:

    • Hire a data specialist early on to handle classes, tickets, budgets, and demographics efficiently.

Personal Reflections

Developing Thick Skin and Patience:

    • Stay committed to your vision and be prepared for differing opinions. Developing a thick skin and standing your ground is essential.

Passion and Dedication:

    • Keep your passion for theatre at the forefront. Remembering why you started can help you persevere through challenging times.


    • Be sure to get a ticketing system that is built for musical theatre, is low cost and allows you to keep the service fees.


Starting a theatre company is a challenging but immensely rewarding endeavor. By building a supportive team, understanding legal requirements, engaging with the community, and staying true to your vision, you can successfully navigate this journey. Remember, a blend of creativity and business acumen, coupled with a passion for theatre, will guide you through the complexities of establishing your own company.

Looking for a ticketing system that can do all of this and more? TicketPeak has a seamless sales process, along with low ticketing fees so you can keep more per ticket in your organization. Schedule a demo with us if you’re looking to learn more.