Three Innovative, Money-Saving Tips for Community Theaters

Everyone’s feeling the pinch…am I right? There are hands in our pockets at all times and community theater organizations are in the same boat as the rest.Are you daunted at the thought of your organization’s upcoming season? Don’t be. We’ve put together some innovative (and just plain simple) ideas to help you lower your upcoming costs while still producing top-quality events.

Dream Big but Produce Small

CC Image by Nomadic Lass
CC Image by Nomadic Lass

Think about producing shows with smaller casts. You should be able to save time and money on your rehearsal space costs because there are less people to block, direct, and correct.


Consider staging something from the public domain. They’re called classics for a reason; Shakespeare can be reinvented and produced in incredibly innovative ways. For example, check out the Independent Shakespeare Company based in Los Angeles, California. In operation for just over fifteen years, this non-for-profit organization now puts on some absolutely beautiful outdoor summer productions in Griffith Park that are free of charge to the public (that’s right. FREE!).

If Shakespeare isn’t your thing, there are many other fabulous playwright that falls under public domain! If you’re not sure if a play falls under public domain, click here to access comprehensive flowcharts for American and Canadian copyright laws, as well as general flowcharts for other countries.

There’s No “I” In Team

Explore the idea of teaming up with other local theater or arts organizations. These types of team productions could result in great things for all parties involved! You might gain new fans and audience members and the other organizations might receive better exposure for future events. However it works out, team events have the definite potential to result in a “win-win” scenario!

CC Image by rama_migeul
CC Image by rama_migeul

Think Beyond the Box on Props and Costumes

Props and costumes can be expensive, especially if you are renting or purchasing them. Try to think beyond those traditional methods of obtaining the necessary goods for your production. Why not contact a real provider to trade or borrow major props? For example, if you’re producing a show that requires medical equipment, maybe you should get in touch with your local hospitals and see if one might be willing to loan out some supplies in a trade for some real estate in the program? If they go for your deal then you will both get something out of the partnership.

If your organization buys most of their props and costumes, than why not rent them out to help generate additional revenue? Many smaller theater companies and high schools do not have the funds or closet-space to purchase and store props and costumes so this might turn into a mutually beneficial relationship!

These are just a few of the many, many ways that your community theater organization might be able to cut costs. Remember that the magic always happens away from our comfort zone, outside the box!

CC Image by Kennisland
CC Image by Kennisland

(Who doesn’t love a little magic?!)

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