Production: what it costs to put on a production. 

How much it costs to put on a show, There are many things you have to think about before putting on a show. Here is a list of the primary things you would have to think about before you even begin to cast a show!

4 actors,



Rehearsal room,

Production crew/set


Stage hire

Press team,

Travel and accommodation




Stage management +living cost


Make up


Box office split




Sound designer

Lighting designer

Rights for the script and score

Front of house assistant

These are the the elements you have to think about when you are taking a show on the road, if it was a performance at one theatre. For example when I have been in shows with The Irving Stage Company, we usually do six performances at the Theatre Royal in Bury S.t Edmunds. Then you can eliminate some additions that are needed for a regional tour. Such as travel and accommodation.


There are a few ways to achieve proper funding for a performance, you can apply for funding from the arts council and keep your fingers crossed that you will be eligible to receive what you have asked for. However you may not always be so lucky! Sometimes you will some to find funding your self though various different ways. The Theatre Royal in Bury have recently been cut from funding by the arts council, Theatre Royal, Bury were lucky that they receive only a small portion of funding so this was not a complete deviation for them. This is because they are a charity and most of their funding come portions and events. Their pantomime is one of their biggest fund raisers as it is guaranteed to be their biggest ticket selling show. They also make the most money though their ice-cream sales during the interval, this along with the bar, merchandise and food perchaces all add up to giving the theatre the money they need to keep it open and full of life.

Commercial and Subsidised. 

Commercial theatre

At the heart of any commercial theatre company will be a producer or team of producers. They will have established a knack for finding ‘hit’ shows and they will have a loyal group of financial backers or investors, known in the industry as ‘angels’. These angels will invest money in a production for a percentage of the show’s profits, once it has paid for its costs. The commercial sector is unlikely to stage the work of a new or unknown playwright, or cast unknown actors in lead parts. Instead, lead roles will be played by well-known actors, often from film or television.

Commercial theatre companies rarely own their own venues – they lease a theatre from one of the commercial theatre landlords for a fixed term, usually between six weeks and three months initially, with an option to extend the term if the show is a success. Some of the West End’s most successful productions have been running for decades – the longest-running production being Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which opened at the New Ambassadors Theatre and is still running today, at the St Martin’s Theatre.

Subsidised theatre

A subsidised theatre is one that makes no profit, and operates using funds donated by a patron. In the UK, subsidised theatre involves a whole section of companies and their chief patron is the British government. The treasury, via the Arts Council, distributes a series of grants that fund arts organisations, including theatre companies, in one of two ways.

A key list of theatres receive annual capital grants to fund their day-to-day operations as well as the productions that they stage. In addition, the Arts Council also issue project grants ranging from a few hundred pounds to multiple thousands of pounds to theatre companies in order that they stage a particular production or project.

Subsidised theatre companies must spend government money properly and report regularly on how they do so. They cannot make a profit and must keep ticket costs at a level that make them accessible to all. In addition to this, the conditions of the grant given include being a resource for their local community as well as carrying out education and participation programmes



I have also recently done a day of work experience where we got the tiniest taste of the financial side of the theatre. I looked at a contract and we had ago at filling one out so we can see what its like form a production company who wants to perform and a theatre like the Theatre Royal in Bury S.t Edmund which is “a hall for hire” in the sense that they don’t usually produce productions other then the pantomime.
I have learnt that the marketing for a production can be very costly and certainly adds up to how much it can cost to put a production on for it to be successful. For example to have an advert broadcast on a radio station it can cost £350! However I have found that it would be cheaper to produce posters and flyers and put them all over town, create a Facebook and Twitter accounts then post on the social media sites because, everyone is glued to thier phones and most people will have friends who are in a production of some kind and will have friends from other companies who are putting on shows and the word will spread like wildfire.


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