How to setup and run a theatre company

How to set up and run a theatre company.

The first focus that you must have when deciding you want to form a theatre company is what does you company want to say. It's all well and good setting something up because you think it will be fun, but if there is no focus of attitude then you have created something with an impending shelf- life already, and one of your aspirations, I would hope, is for longevity. So decide what it is you want to say, whether there is a political message or a certain type of theatre that you want to show your take on to the world (like immersive or melodrama), and stick with that as the underlying ethos of the company. Remember that this doesn't mean you should limit yourself, it just means you have a strong idea of the direction of your company. A good way of doing this is to write a manifesto that states the aims of your company. These aims could be very specific, such as 'we aim to bring theatre to children who have visual impairments' or much more general like 'we aim to use gesture as a foundation for all our work'. As I say, don't limit yourself.

The next focus you should have is setting up the structure of your company. Make sure, no matter how many people are involved in the initial set-up, (and I wouldn't suggest too many to start with) they all have a role to play. This is important for two reasons. Firstly because you don't want any dead weight, but secondly, because everyone wants to feel that they have made a contribution and this can prevent bad blood later on. A lot of the time you have chosen to set up a company with people you know and get on with, so this structure develops very naturally, but sometimes it's important to set out from the beginning how you plan to develop ideas and, as such, create a solid base for you to work well together.

Finally, the thought that should always be in the back of your mind... What's the next show going to be? What I believe to be the biggest stumbling block on the road to a successful company is doing that first show, finishing it, and then fading away. It's happened to so many emerging companies and that is why you should always be prepared to continue on. Whether you have just finished your first show, or your second, or your thirty-sixth, always be thinking about what's next. This isn't detrimental to the current show, it just focuses the mind as to the point I raised earlier...LONGEVITY. If you are always thinking about what's next, there will be something on the horizon.

So to summarise:

1: Decide on the company's ethos.

2: Decide on a structure.

3: Always look to the future.

I hope this helps.