It happened. Your fifteen year old daughter came home and announced she wants to join the theater program at school. You nod in a way you hope looks encouraging while your mind fills with visions of shabby high schoolers slumped on a grungy stage, and your daughter sporting a nondescript costume that has been used since the 70s to represent A Beaver, Second Candlestick, and Juliet Capulet. You think: As long as this is just for fun in high school and doesn’t have her packing up for Los Angeles after graduation.
We’ve all heard the term “poor starving actress,” and for good reason. And while your high school student is not trying to make a living off the school productions of Our Town and Suessical the Musical, you’re probably not seeing the same level of support and enthusiasm for a theater program as you are for the upcoming football game. Does this have to be true? Is something you can do to help? Enter: theater booster club (stage right).
A theater booster club is a group usually organized by parents or other interested persons who want to enhance a school program and strengthen its impact.
So, how can a theatre booster club help your daughter’s high school theater program?
Poor, Starving Actress?
First off, a theater booster club can raise school morale. We’re not talking about a kid with his face painted blue and white, screaming and waving a banner. Instead, think a little deeper.
When you consider it, school morale can be powerful. It means the students feel they are part of something significant, something larger than themselves, something they can be proud of and fight for. Sound a little ambitious for a theater booster club? Maybe not. Starting a booster club for theater proves that you believe that the program, the school, the teachers, and your students are worth investing in. The involvement of parents immediately begins to foster a familial environment, including greater stability and confidence. It tells teachers that they are seen and valued. It encourages students to get excited about what their school is doing and to feel that their efforts are seen and valued. It says that important things are happening at their school and motivates them to be a part of it. This can have positive ramifications not only for the student actors’ in theater class but for other classes as well.
What happens when more parents, teachers or volunteers get involved in the theater booster club? Others become interested and ask questions to learn more.
Excitement is contagious and developing an arts booster club will draw more interest, more talent, and the good ideas of more people into the theater department. Through the drama booster club, parents have an opportunity to meet one another and build relationships, and to feel like they are part of a team. This team spirit is how your program can really take off.
A Theater Booster Clubs Means Everyone Enjoys a Good Show
A theater booster club can help financially fund the theater program. Now, this doesn’t mean you empty your vacation savings. Instead, it means sharing efforts with like-minded parents, teachers, or community volunteers to open up the door of opportunity. Get your students involved here. (High schoolers are great brainstormers.) Work together to see what you can come up with. From car washes and t-shirts to dinners and grab bags, you can have fun and build community while making some cash for your theater program. The more parent and student participation you have here, the more you will also widen your circle and have additional people to market to, from families to churches to members of the community.
What will you do with your new funds? Sure, take those costumes a step up. Have the Candlestick and Juliet wear different dresses. You can also use the money to purchase better lighting and sound equipment. Simply having better quality sound or colorful, dappled lighting can make a show much more exciting. You can also purchase materials for new set pieces. No more borrowing silk trees from aunt Sue’s living room. A better production is not only more interesting to watch, but speaks volumes about the student theater program. It is a visible representation of the effort put into the department and the students, and shows the value that the school places on the arts. Not to mention, a better production draws more spectators from the community as well. Now you’ll be filling that auditorium with theater enthusiasts who appreciate a good show, in addition to aunts and uncles.
Another way to use those funds is to bring in a professional to teach a master class. What better way to motivate a student actor than to bring in his favorite icon? Take that theatre booster club to the next level!
Theater Booster Club: Lights, Camera, Future!
Having a thriving theater program, supported by a theatre booster club, can also have a wonderfully positive impact on your student’s future and increase opportunities once they leave high school. As the program grows and you draw more support from the community, this also helps to enhance the reputation of the school program.
This way, if your student does decide to pursue theater after high school, coming from a reputable program will increase their opportunities to connect with quality college programs or theater companies. Not only will your student have better experience, but they will be more likely to get the attention of recruiters and directors who are looking for talent.
Even if they do not wish to pursue theater, they now have the experience of being part of a thriving group and working hard to produce something of excellence. They have learned to think big and not limit themselves and to place value on their endeavors. They have begun to see the results. This can only aid in whatever they decide to pursue. It’s a win-win.
Does the idea of starting a theatre booster club sound overwhelming? Unrealistic? It’s okay to start small. The key is to get the ball rolling. You want to create a snowball theatre program – one that gains mass and momentum as it goes.
For specific ideas on how to start a theatre booster club, fundraise and manage logistics, as well as other helpful tips, check out some of the other articles on our site. And don’t forget to have fun.