How to promote your theatre project in order to attract funding

There is something very important to consider when trying to atract funding for a theatrical project you are creating, and that is, what do you want to achieve?

The mistake that often befalls people trying to get funding is that they see who has money to give at the time and then try and squeeze their project into the parameters of the funders criteria. This will destroy your project as it won't be what you wanted to create, and it will annoy those trying to fund you because you are catering to them but may not actually be able to deliver what you promise.

The main thing to keep in mind is what do YOU want to do? Will it have certain messages you wish to get across or will it fit a certain ethos. From there you can seek out funders that fit what you are doing. This is more beneficial for you as you are free to create what you want in the first instance, and better for those funding you because they will have put money into something they belive in and also something they know the people working on it believe in.

Now that I've said that, I will slightly do a U-Turn on this matter as I don't think tailoring a proposal to funders so it suits what they are looking for is a bad thing, AS LONG AS YOU DON'T HAVE TO CHANGE WHAT YOU ARE WORKING ON. If you are, for instance, doing a piece that deals with mental health issues, then getting a doctor to come and watch the show in rehearsal and then comment on the authenticity of the piece can create a buzz around what you are doing with charities and other funding oppotunities, but you didn't have to change what you were doing, you just had it verified and altered by and expert. Also, if you are working on a piece that can be linked (however loosely) to a classical text, see if that text is on school's curriculum for the year. This means you can push the links with schools and even try for a grant for 'Theatre in Education'. These are just some ideas, but the point I am trying to make is that it is ok to tweek ideas to make them more accessible to funders, but don't let that control your ideas.

Finally, I just want to mention some amazing places where you can get funding for ideas without having to compromise your work. Places like Ideastap, Kickstarter and WeFund are all amazing places to find funding for your projects. They are either without limitation on what you want to do or have very loose briefs that allow you to get funding for a passion project. A word of warning though, for places like WeFund and Kickstarter, these are real people giving you money based on your pitch on your page, so make it sound good, exciting and worth-while or you may find yourself with nothing.

So, to summarise, don't comprimise your entire show to make a funder happy, but tweeking it slightly to appeal to specific funders is more than alright.