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Looking for a Fundraiser? Why Not Put on a Show?
If you are looking for a fun and unique fundraising idea, why not consider putting on a show. You offer people, not just a product but an experience. Producing a play need not be expensive. It will be some work, but it can also be a lot of fun.
Scripts on a Budget
Traditionally, when putting on a show, scripts are purchased from a drama service and a royalty is paid for each performance of said scrip. However, if one wishes to avoid royalties, there are many options available.
Any script written by someone who passed away more than seventy five years ago is no longer under copyright and thus free of royalties. Be careful of translations. While the original script may be under public domain-- for example, ancient Greek drama-- the translation may be recent enough to be bound by copyright.
Many new playwrights are simply looking to have their work produced and may be willing to wave the royalties, especially if it is for a good cause. Like wise, if you or someone you know is a decent writer, you may be able to get him or her to write a script specifically for the event.
You may also take a treasured book, legend, folk or fairy tale and adapt it into a play. Again, beware a story that may still be under copyright.
When I was in college, student directors who directed lab shows had a budget of $50 and access to the school's costume and prop storage. One student directed a production of Peer Gynt with sets decorated with newspaper.
Don't be afraid to get creative. Shakespear does not have to be performed in big skirts and ruffled collars as long as the design is cohesive. Why not set Hamlet in present day? Or Edipus?
A production does not have to have complicated sets, either. Perhaps more of your budget goes toward making stunning costumes and then the set might be simple things like large blocks or plain wooden chairs-- think Our Town. Sometimes, all that is required is a suggestion and the audience can fill in the blanks.
You might also consider getting involved with a community theater or college theater department. Many are willing to loan items in exchange for a small fee or a mention in your program.
Last but not least, tickets must be sold. What good is a fundraiser if funds are not raised? Advertising campaigns can include putting up posters, word of mouth, online social networking, flash mob, local television and radio.
It is also worth noting that children's shows do very well. A show like Annie or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, shows which incorporate a lot of children, sell tickets very well. I, personally, am aware children's shows in which additional shows were added to the schedule in order to accomodate a long waiting list. It may sound like a mercenary tactic, but when you put children on stage you sell tickets to parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.
When all is said and done, it is possible to put together a nice production for relatively little. Depending on the size of the performance space and the number of performances, you may even be able to make a tidy sum to put toward your cause.