Starting a Performing Arts Company

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: May 2016
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • What qualifications and skills are required?
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

A performing arts company produces and performs theatrical, dance and musical shows for the general public and schools, community or charity events. The term 'company' in this context refers to a group of performers rather than to the legal structure of the organisation. Some companies tour regionally, nationally or even internationally, while others are resident in one place and typically are attached to a particular venue. Performing arts companies vary in size and scope, from small generalist theatrical companies with a local community bias to national ballet companies. Some specialise in mime, musical theatre, puppetry, opera, circus, dance or mixed media.

Productions often require the skills of a variety of professionals including performers, directors, set and costume designers, technicians, administrators, marketers and managers. Staff are employed on a permanent basis or hired for productions as and when they are required.

Income is typically generated through ticket sales. Some performing arts companies also rely on funding from organisations such as the Arts Council and local government, although central government cuts have led to funding for the arts being significantly reduced in recent years. However, it is also possible to generate income by running workshops and educational events, by operating a friendship or members' scheme or encouraging donations for specific projects.

This profile provides information about starting up and running a performing arts company. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and some of the key trading issues. It also explains the legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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