1. Set a budget: planned and marketed well, the school production can be a money spinner for schools – providing you avoid a budget blowout. Your budget might include performance rights, refreshments, sets, props and costumes and publicity. See a sample budget at: http://produceaplay.com/budget
  2. Give yourself enough time; it can take months or most of the year to do the planning, build or collect props, and assemble a team to do everything from makeup to ticket selling. Develop a production timeline.
  3. Don’t reinvent the wheel: schools can re-run a show they have given previously, says Mark Jensen, Northcross Intermediate. Or, adds Claire Buckley, founder of the Showdown Auckland secondary school production competition, they can buy rights to tried and tested shows which come with the scripts, vocal score, director’s script, CDs, choreography DVD, lesson plans, and even brochures for marketing the show. For more information go to: HalLeonard.com, MTIShows.com or Playmarket.co.nz.
  4. Choose the right script: make sure the show is technically possible for your school and it’s family friendly.
  5. Delegate, delegate, delegate: the director shouldn’t try to do it all. Nor, however, should they end up in a situation where there are two, three or even half a dozen directors, says Claire Buckley. Delegate the jobs of producer, musical director, set designer, lighting and sound person, costume co-ordinator, stage manager, house manager and publicity person. And give them all job descriptions, adds Mark Jensen.
  6. Your community: shoulder tap your parents and wider community. Local theatre groups may be able to lend props, costumes, and maybe even a lighting person.
  7. Keep it legal: schools must pay for the rights to a copyrighted show whether or not they have a paying audience. That includes excerpts from a play.
  8. Publicity: don’t just limit your marketing to your school community.Claire Buckley recommends selling tickets through Eventfinder.co.nz, which doesn’t cost event organisers who charge less than $20 a ticket.
  9. Fundraising: make the production self-supporting from ticket and refreshment sales, and other fundraising opportunities such as spot raffles.
  10. Casting and rehearsals: Delay casting until the children are familiar with the script, says Mark Jensen and head hunt to find the right talent. Be careful not to overload the children with long rehearsals.