Some tips on how to get THE FUNDING YOU NEED!

Last year we helped out with writing 10 grants.

Eight of them came through and now eight schools have labs in the classrooms. This is a promising track record!


The grants centered on six talking points

1- Energy reduction

2- Classroom equipment upgrades

3- Technology grants often from student tech fees

4- New ideas in teaching / creation of new courses

5- Ready to work skill training

6- Accessibility and ADA compliance


Green or energy reduction related grants

The 1-to-6 lab uses about 8% of the electricity of a standard light lab or theatre. The use of the LED moving lights, color wash units, and the cyc lights drastically bring down the total wattage used.

This new technology is also training the students to use LEDs in the theater which will further reduce the electrical consumption as they use these “best practice” techniques in the profession.

Classroom equipment upgrades

There are often specific grants or budgets available for classroom upgrades, (think smart boards). It is also worth asking what classroom material budget lines might be available that you may not even know about.

Technology grants

This is an obvious one but often needs to be written exactly right. These grants often come from a “technology fee” assessed to each student each semester. This money needs to be spent and is available for funding computer labs and high technology projects. This money is often tied to numbers of students and classes using the lab. The theatre lab is perfect for this as many classes can use it. Courses that can use the lab are; Directing, Stage Management, Lighting, Scenery, Costume, Sound, Photography, Film, and Media classes. Also students use of the lab for pre-teching productions and creative teams exploring their designs before they move into the shop should be counted.

New ideas in teaching

There are grants and funding available for the improvement of teaching practices or the creation of new courses. These labs have the potential of changing how we teach theatre. The idea of teaching theatre with a working model of a theatre in the room is terrific. It should also lead to a more unified way of teaching. We separate out our classes into their own labs. The lighting classes go to the light lab (if there is one). The sound classes go to a studio (if there is one), the directing classes go to a rehearsal room (if there is one) the scenic class go to the shop or a cad lab (if you have one) … you get the idea. What if we taught theatre as a collaborative class environment? Even one class on collaboration with designers, directors, stage managers, and technical directors all in the room together working with the lab to create something as a team.

Ready to work

Some schools have funding for classes and technology that teach skills that are designed to get students ready for the job market. These labs can be the centerpiece of course work based on training practical skills readying the student for the job market.  Add to this that these labs are perfect for designer portfolio shooting and you can make a very good case for the effectiveness of the lab in preparing the student for the profession.

Accessibility and ADA compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act is designed to allow access of education to everyone. This lab allows for a students with a physical disability to learn stage technology and design without getting on a ladder or onto a catwalk. This is also an important liability issue for many high schools as fewer are allowing students to clime ladders. You can now teach all of that in the classroom from the ground.

Final Thoughts

You do not need to get all of the funding from one source. You might get the lab frame and drapes from a classroom upgrade line, the lighting from the energy saving grant and the computer light console from the technology fund. I also recommend you print out the SETC article, the top 10 reasons why you need one and anything else you can steal from this site. This is a new idea and those reviewing and approving the grant application need to understand what this lab is and why it is so important for you and your students. 

If you have more ideas on funding and grants please pass them on and I will include them. We can help each other find ways to get the funding we need to teach more effectively.

I am also happy to review your grant application before it is submitted. Having a second eye on it is sometimes helpful. Good luck