The true costs of putting on a Musical Production

People often wonder why tickets are so expensive to ametaure shows or even why companies charge for parents to see student productions.
In this weeks blog i am going to look at the true costs of putting on a Musical Production and why tickets are often in excess of $40.00!
There were two huge expenses that I was surprised by when we first put on a full fledge musical
  1. The cost of the rights
  2. The cost of venue hire
The regular rights to put on a musical production in a 120 seat theatre cost around $4000 – $5000 up front. This payment is simply permission for us to perform this show 6 times. This is the first payment we encounter way before we’re even sent scripts and music scores to start rehearsing.
  1. Theatre Costs
To rent a small theatre space costs an absolute bomb. For instance, to rent a small 120 seat Theatre on the Central Coast for 2 weeks costs $29,000 dollars. To be fair; this huge expense is not necessarily the venue hire itself but having to use 2 of the Theatre Technicians @ $60 – $90 an hour and pay front of house staff, along with $3.95 taken for every ticket sold. You can see how the Theatre costs quickly rack up!
Then you have to pay the amazing team who put the show together:
  • Musical Director: $5000
  • Director $5000
  • Lighting designer $2000
  • A designer $1500
Oh yes and you can’t forget the items that need to be hired:
  • Any extra technical requirements eg. Lights, projections $2000
  • Set $3000
  • Props and costumes $2000
And we can’t forget that we need to get the word out for the show to have an audience:
  • Advertising $1000 – $3000
So you can see that we have racked up a total bill of $51,000. Now it’s time for us to have a look at the potential to make some of this money back!
The theatre holds 120 patrons
You run 6 shows
720 tickets available in total
If you do the math on the premise that the show sells out (which rarely happens) the potential money made Is only $28,800. And yes, your math is correct… it is $28,000 and no; it doesn’t cover Theatre costs or the extras that come with it.
As you can see the cost of putting on a musical is astronomical. So the next time you have a night out at the theatre, know that you have supported the local arts community and helped someones creative dream become a reality!
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