How to start a theatre company

For many Theatremakers, a big career goal may be to have your own theatre company. While this might feel like a distant dream, something you’ll get to when you’re further into your career with a lot more experience, it doesn’t have to be.

Of course, you might want to start small - think fringe theatre rather than the West End - but if you have a strong idea for a company and believe it could fill a gap that no one else is covering, starting your own theatre company doesn’t have to be a dream you save for much later in your career.

So you’ve decided you’re ready to start a theatre company? Great! But where do you begin? What do you need to know from a legal perspective? How do you create a business plan? Where should you market your shows?

Artistic Directors of the Future has produced some really helpful videos as part of the Bite-size series that answer all of these questions and more. Keep reading to watch a sample of this series, or if you’re from a Black, Asian or ethnically diverse background, you can become a member of Artistic Directors of the Future for free to access the series in full.


Understanding legal structures

It’s really important to choose the right legal structure for your theatre company, otherwise it can end up preventing you from accessing the funding you need. Solicitor Keith Arrowsmith, who provides legal advice for individuals, organisations and funders in the creative sector, takes you through how to choose the right structure and where to start with making this key decision.

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You might want to also read: How to become a freelancer in theatre


Introduction to business planning

Creating a business plan from scratch can feel like a very daunting task. Executive Director of Tamasha Valerie Synmoie breaks it down into what you might need for the first three years. Find out what a business plan is, why you need one, what to include, and where to look for further help.

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Find definitions for theatre language and terms here


Marketing your company

Once you’ve set up your theatre company, how do you spread the word and encourage audiences to your shows? Courtney Glymph and Chris O’Gorman from YourStoryPR talk through the fundamentals of marketing and PR, including strategy, branding, media platforms and messaging.

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If you’re interested in theatre marketing, check out our blog post: What does a Theatre Marketer do?


Writing ACE funding applications

When starting your theatre company, you will need to think about how to fund the company and its productions. Producer, Spoken Word Artist and Loop Vocalist Koko Brown shares some tips on how to navigate Arts Council England funding applications, from creating your account to setting a budget and writing your application.

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To learn more about funding, you can read our blog posts on funding in Scotland or what a Theatre Fundraiser does. Or find all funding opportunities on Get Into Theatre here.


Published: 5 November 2021

Blog photo: Pexels

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