What sponsors do you have. How do you get money for lights.

Well, our school allows a local church (Ashburn United Methodist Church) to use our Auditorium every Sunday morning. AUMC often buys new gels and gobos as they need them, and because they use our space, we share everything bought for the auditorium. They may have even purchased luminaries for us, but this I am unsure of. As far as dimmers are concerned, our school came installed with a total of 108 dimmers installed on the catwalk and four electric battens (Rosco IPS dimmer bars, to be specific), so this really isn't an issue for us.
Our theatre's entire budget comes from ticket sales and donations of time and money from PALs, a group run (mostly) by parents of the student performers. The department gets minimal funding from the school, which allows us to have crucial autonomy (we probably wouldn't have been able to do Sweeney Todd or even Jesus Christ Superstar if the administration had their way).

I would talk to any groups in your area that support the Arts. Explain to them that you're strapped for cash and in need of lighting equipment. If you have a definite plan for spending the money, they will probably consider a grant.

Also, appeal to the parents of the performers. As a parent, they want their kids to have the best facilities available, and if they see giving you money as a way to manage that, then they'll do it.

Hope this helps...
Heh, I have the same problem trying to get equipment for my old high school. They, too, came with about 100 IPS dimmers from ROSCO... unfortunately, they came with zero lighting instruments (and the 25 subsequently bought were highly ineffective)

Check with the school administration to see what you can get as far as grants. In our school district, there was a person whose job description included searching for and writing out grant aplications for various things in the district. If you do have such a person, let them know what you need.
RandyBraunm said:
Heh, I have the same problem trying to get equipment for my old high school. They, too, came with about 100 IPS dimmers from ROSCO... unfortunately, they came with zero lighting instruments (and the 25 subsequently bought were highly ineffective)

Granted that 25 lights is not a lot, but how is it that they are highly ineffective? Light coming out of a coffee can has an effect. With some imagination and placement just about every light can be useful even if all you have is a six channel Dove board and some clip lights.

Granted I lived a good deal of time with some Colortran Mini-Ellipses without shutters until I made them for the fixture - such a fixture was not even really designed for theater use it's an architectural fixture by the catalog listing of it. Beyond that all, they had green lenses, even a radial style of Altman would have thrown out a more effective light thus I also cursed them and their dim lamp every day I used them, but some Lekos was still a far cry from no Lekos or any stage lighting equipment I had worked with at times. Curse your equipment but treat it as gold. Learn to use it to it's best advantage, than ask to supplement it instead of overall replace it. Look what I can do with this, I'm limited in it's overall use but given more and better gear we can go even further might be a better presentation for the need for more gear.
Another suggestion wouldbe toget together with alocal, but fairly high-profile, charity. They will often have a list of regular sponsors. If you say that you're doing this show for charity, and all you want to do is break even, than many groups will be more willing to donate money to your production costs, in return for being named official sponsors. This could help you generate funds for buying more lights. Another fun idea is building your own quasi - PAR Cans (well, makeshif ones, anyways). A store - bought floodlight with a coffee can attached as a barrel will work for some uses. Just find a base where you can screw the bulb in, that won't make it hard to attach the barrel, and then find a way of attaching the base with the bulb securely to the barrel, and hook it up to your dimmer rack, and you have a fixture.
We rent/sell the freshman into slavery.

A small chunk of money comes from renting out the theater to dance groups and what not, a while ago I got my hands on the form with the prices on it but I forgot where I stuck it.

Also we have a drama parents group which os like out booster club I think its mostly donations and such becasue selling punch and cookies at intermision does not pay for what they buy us.

We get small deals on paint and wood from the hard ware store and lumber yard. The TD has no problem with using the messed up mixs for the show for example if someone wants a light blue but the paint mixer for some reson makes a light green the store will give us the paint instead of throwing it out and write it off for taxes, or at least thats how I think it works never asked but I am fairly certian.
Also we try to keep cost low, most of the timn the greatest cost will be the rights and scripts, which hopefully will be made back buy ticket sales.
soundman said:
We rent/sell the freshman into slavery.

Now thats the best idea i've heard yet!

Also, you could always try to do a talent show, lip sync type of thing. These depend on the size of your school and the size of your theater, but usually you can make some money (and the investment is next to nothing). There are a few fundraising threads around the forum if you look around for them.
soundman said:
We rent/sell the freshman into slavery.

That would be a good idea, but we already use the freshmen as batten winch operators, since we can't afford to buy electric batten winches. :p
You and your fancy battens.
A batten is a long metal pipe that is suspended over the stage, and are often used to hang luminaries from. We have a total of 4 electric battens, that is, they have dimmers on them. We also have a number of non-electric battens, which can be used to fly scenery and cannot be lowered.
my school went to a large company that is HQed in our town and asked for money..it looks like its working..we are in the final phases of the grant approval for $150k

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