Friday, November 18, 2011

Ways Theatresource Can Make Money Without Spending a Dime

One issue that Theatresource has always had was the non-efficient use of space. Relatively little of our space is revenue-generating.
On the other hand, the space when you first walk in the door it seems very... inviting? People take a deep breath and say "Oh, I love this place" when they walk in. And it seems to me that's mostly the space in the front of the theater and leading up to the landing.
But let's take a look of the non-revenue-generating parts of the space and what can be done.

First a couple assumptions about the finances of a theater operating at 177 MacDougal Street. I'd estimate that the absolute minimum "nut" of the space is $20,000 a month. That's $240,000 a year. Note that I'm talking about "absolute minimum" here. I think that we need to get the total revenue up to about $500,000 a year. But under $240,000 a year and the City Marshal arrives and serves you papers.

Right now the little office I'm in called "DigitalSource" (blame Mitchell for the name) is downstairs in the back-most office. What you need to do is to entice us to move elsewhere. Because the space we're in could be used as a rehearsal room right away. As soon as we're out of there it becomes a rehearsal space -- no construction is needed. It's a little on the small side for a rehearsal room, but hey, it's usable. And there's no issues with noise. Believe me, I've played guitar in there at impressive levels with no complaints.
Let's make up some conservative numbers. Let's make the room $15/hour and rent it for 20 hours a week for 50 weeks.
That's $15,000 a year.* Or, er, 1/16th of your budget? Approximately?

We're trying to keep our numbers very conservative here.

Now what if we had dedicated desks for resident theater companies? I've seen every price under the sun for open workstation space in New York. So again, let's be conservative. Let's say we can rent 5 different workstation spaces to what we might call "resident theater companies" at $300 a month. That's another $18,000 a year with no cost outlay.

The City Samanas playing in the windowbox.
Start a theater company. Non-equity company, get 30 members at $300 a year. That's another $9000 a year in revenue.

Have people pay to be a member of the theater. Those people would have (say) voting rights and such. They pay $150/year. A hundred members is $15,000 a year.

So that's another $57K a year we can add to the revenue of this space without doing any capital outlay.

Other, less concrete things we can do would include focusing on grant money, bringing in new theater companies to produce, and raising donations by individuals and corporations. I know, these are all radical ideas, but with people focused on them, they can be done. (Yes, calling them radical ideas is sarcasm son.)

But we need (as an organization) e'en more money than that. How can we do that? Well, some of those things will require a capital outlay. And another blog post.

*There's no way that the space DigitalSource is in is rentable for the summer months without installing air conditioning. So while this idea works right now because it's the middle of November, it won't work starting in April or May without getting some HVAC in there.

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