How to Open a Theatre Company in a Small Town

Opening your very own theater in a small town is a great way to cultivate a sense of community among the locals. If you want to learn how to open a theatre company in a small town for the first time, there are a few steps to consider and keep in mind during the process. Anyone who has an interest in learning how to open a theatre company in a small town will need to take the time to familiarize themselves with the process and what running a theater entails once the location is open to the public.

Create a Comfortable Environment

A theater should be more than beautiful from the outside. Creating a comfortable, welcoming, and inviting environment is key to any successful theater, even those that are located in small towns. Comfortable environments typically include a well-maintained HVAC system, especially during the hottest and coldest months of the year. Investing in an HVAC closed loop system is highly recommended whether you are building a commercial space from the ground up or investing in a commercial property that was previously utilized as a theater as well.

Why Work With Professional HVAC Specialists

Anytime you are making major updates to a commercial building or space, it’s best to do so under the guidance of specialists. This is especially true when working with the HVAC system in your establishment, as these systems are vital to ensuring your attendees are comfortable at all times. HVAC specialists that work with commercial properties are not only well-versed in regulations and restrictions, but they are also familiar with modernized HVAC solutions for air conditioning and heating that are suitable for your type of building and theater. If you want to know how to open a theatre company in a small town, you will need to make the right connections with local service providers and resources in your area.

Gather Costume Pieces

Opening a theater requires a passion and a commitment to the theater and drama lifestyles. When you intend to build and open a small theater to the public, you will need to gather costume pieces that are appropriate for the type of plays or musicals you intend to host. From colorful costume jewelry to authentic engagement rings, you will need to gather costume pieces from all walks of life to provide your actors and performers with as much choice as possible.

Before you begin shopping around for costume pieces for your theater, consider the type of performances you intend to host. Keep in mind specific themes you want to highlight and showcase with your plays and performances to help guide you in the right direction once you begin shopping for the costume pieces you need.

Set up Your Costume Shop

While you are in the process of learning how to open a theatre company in a small town, consider where you will store your costume jewelry and accessories that are provided for your actors and performers. Setting up a costume shop inside of your theater is one way to offer additional clothing, costumes, and accessories to performers when they need them most. Finding the right pieces of clothing and accessories can take a bit of time, which is why it’s important to get a bit creative in the process.

Once you begin setting up your costume shop, you will need to first stock it with an inventory. You can find costume inventory by visiting local commercial clothes dryer sales or even by shopping online and using various online communities and downloadable apps. Depending on the style of clothing you are seeking and what brands of costume fashion you’re interested in, there are many different local and online platforms to begin your search.

Secure Financing

Anyone who is currently discovering how to open a theatre company in a small town will quickly learn that in order to launch a theater of any kind, financing is essential. Without the ability to secure proper funding, moving into a new commercial space will be next to impossible. A few ways that you can secure financing, depending on your current credit score and financial history include:

  • Bank loans: Working with a traditional bank or investment lender is one option to consider when you want to open a theater in a small town. This option is typically reserved for those who have a stellar credit and financial history to their name.
  • Angel investors and venture capitalists: Depending on the vision you have for your theater and what your theater represents, you can also opt to seek angel investors and venture capitalists for assistance with funding.
  • Crowdsourcing: Another option that is growing rapidly is the ability to conduct crowdfunding. Crowdfunding allows those who support your endeavor to help financially provide for the construction and opening of the theater throughout the entirety of the process.

If you are new to investing in a business or if you are entering the theater industry for the very first time, it’s also advisable to seek guidance from a verified financial advisor. Working alongside a financial advisor will help to ensure you are taking the appropriate steps to secure funding without jeopardizing your own personal finances or future. Financial advisors will work with you to determine the best course of action to take at every turn when opening a new theater, especially when it comes to your finances and making financial investments or decisions.

Renovate Your Lobby

If you choose to invest in a theater location that is already built, you should still take the time to completely renovate your lobby before opening the theater to the public. When it comes to opening a theater, you may only have one opportunity to make a positive impression on attendees and others in your community. Updating the lobby of your new theater is a way to introduce modernized themes and a fresh coat of paint.

In addition to changing the current look of the lobby of your theater, it’s important to also ensure your air conditioning and heating are working properly, especially during the actual grand opening of your theater. Work with a local AC contractor or an HVAC company to find a commercial solution for your theater’s needs.

Install a Marquee Sign

If you want to make a major impression on the members of your community and passersby, you can do so by installing a marquee sign. Marquee signs can help you to draw attention to your theater while allowing you to do so with lit lights or LED lighting solutions in place. If you want a marquee sign that genuinely stands out from the rest of the commercial properties in your town, search for a provider that offers sign installation and design.

The Importance of a Marquee Sign

Installing a marquee sign above your theater is not just a way to attract potential attendees to an upcoming show. In fact, it can work well in establishing your brand and helping to spread the word about your current theater’s location and offerings. Additionally, using a marquee sign that can be edited and changed on the fly is also a way to promote upcoming performers, artists, and events you are hosting.

Finding the Right Sign Installer

Choosing the right design for your marquee design can have a significant impact on how others view your theater, especially if they have yet to visit the theater inside for a show. Working with a sign installation professional or specialist is key to ensuring your signage appears exactly as you envisioned in your mind. Working with the right sign installation company or professional is possible by seeking recommendations and by researching portfolios and finished work online. You can also use official websites and social media platforms to seek out reviews from those who have also enlisted a local sign designer to create a marquee for their own business. Using photos, videos, and reviews, you can find a marquee sign designer and installation specialist who is just right for your small theater’s signage.

Install a New Door

Anyone who is seeking a way for their theater to stand out should consider installing a brand-new door or entrance into the theater itself. A door can significantly have an impact on how others view and interpret your theater or performing arts center. Depending on the budget and vision you have in mind, you can also consider investing in an automatic door operator. An automatic door operator will help you to modernize the entryway into your theater.

Additionally, an automatic door operator is also ideal if you are intent on making your small theater as welcoming and accessible as possible. If accessibility is a top priority for you as the manager and operator of a theater, an automatic door operator is a vital and necessary element to consider.

Gather Lighting Equipment

Lighting can make or break both the interior and the exterior of any theater. Investing in the right interior for your theater can instantly transform its atmosphere and the environment you intend to create for your attendees. From purchasing dimmers for the lights inside of your theater to investing in LED commercial grade Christmas lights for the holiday season, there is no shortage of times in which lighting is key.

Why Lighting in a Theater Matters

Visiting a theater for most, is all about the experience. Immersing oneself in the atmosphere of a theater is a way to truly make the most out of a performance in front of you. The right lighting can help to set the mood and tone of a particular play or even a specific theme. Investing in a complex and robust lighting system will also attract more prominent performances and shows in the future as your theater grows and expands.

Gather Sets and Props

Before you can open your theater to the public, you will need to spend time gathering sets and props. Sets and props will vary from theater to theater based on the type of shows and performances you intend to host. Whether you are looking for a summer flowers arrangement or furniture to fit a retro play you are putting on, sets and props are key to any theater organization.

Finding the Best Sets and Props

Finding the best sets and props can be done with a bit of imagination and plenty of research. Before you begin hunting down props and sets, create a list of the type of items you intend to add to your inventory. You should also consider various themes and costume styles that may be fitting for your theater based on the type of plays and performances you will be hosting for the public. Visit local shops, resale stores, and browse online to find props and sets that are not only suitable for your theater plans, but also affordable for any budget you have set in place.

Set up a Gift Shop

Another thing to consider when you’re wondering how to open a theatre company in a small town is the layout of your theatre. Once you have the basic layout of your theater, you may have additional rooms or leftover space that can be utilized for revenue generation purposes. If this is the case in your theater’s building, you might want to consider setting up and opening your very own gift shop. Building and opening a gift shop inside of your theater provides the perfect opportunity to generate revenue from merchandise licensing deals as well as by working with other local artists and performers in your area. Additionally, gifts sold after a performance to guests are another great way to make money for your small theater.

Whether you choose to manage the inventory of your gift shop yourself or you opt to work with a bulk screen printing company, there are many options to help you get started with your endeavor of operating a gift shop inside your theater. Working together with a local print company that offers bulk printing can help you streamline the process of restocking your inventory while simultaneously saving you time and money.

Those who are serious about learning how to open a theatre company in a small town should consider all of the steps involved in building, buying, and even moving into an existing theater space. The more familiar you become with learning how to open a theatre company in a small town, the less likely you are to encounter interruptions, delays, or issues along the way.

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