Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Arts Integration- Students as Producers

#Math #theatre #budget

One area I personally struggle with is how to integrate math into the theatre curriculum. At our school it is expected that we integrate the core subjects into our classes and that the core classes integrate fine arts into their class. English and Social Studies are natural fits for Theatre. Both subjects have strong writing standards and history standards. It is easy to integrate them. Math not so much.

I have found one math lesson that works very well: Budgeting! This lesson is also great because it opens students eyes about the real cost of a play. It helps them see why we charge for tickets or why we can't afford to fly people like Peter Pan. Several of my students are under this crazy impression that we just get things for free. They say their parents complain that they have to pay to see the show. This lesson gives the students the information they need to talk with their parents about why we charge for the play.

Side note: I always give rounded fake numbers when talking with students about money. If they know too much about your actual budget, they start to make suggestions on how you should spend it (can you pay for all of us to go see that new movie? You should buy all of us food for each performance!) Feel free to check out the worksheets I made to accompany this lesson. They really help organize the students thinking. 
Check out my teacherspayteachers page to purchase these pages for only $1.00

Step one: easy budget. In the first step you want to model how a theatre budget works. If you have recently put on a play use it for a close example. This is also a great time to talk about Royalties. Many students and parents don't realize that we have to pay for the rights to put on the play. Give the students a few examples of how the budget works.
Example one cost
Royalties - $1050
Set - $200
Costumes - $400
Props - $150
Total expenses- $1800!

Step two: ticket pricing. Now talk about how ticket pricing is our way of making back the money we spent. If we price the tickets too low we don't make any money, if we price too high, no one will come. For the first examples I like to give an easy projected audience size (500).  Then the equation (ticket price) X (audience size) = gains. Gains- expenses =profit.

Example one price
Tickets - $0
We loose almost $2000 if we don't charge anything.

Example two price
Tickets -$5.00
We make $700!

Example three prices
Tickets- $20.00
20*500= 10,000
We can make $8,200! 

Make sure you remind students though that their audience number will go down as the ticket price goes up. Have them work out their own ticket problems and come up with a suggested. Price for the show. 

Step three: budget analysis. Teach the students how to use and read a spread sheet. There is a great interactive example on this website Kidswork TV Director (This whole website is a wonderful theatre education/technology integration site-use the tv studio and theatre for more resources).

Step four: budget creation. Create a fake cost analysis sheet for a play. In groups or on their own, have the students create a projected budget for a play they would like to produce. You should have some areas that are mandatory (Royalities, costumes, lights, etc) and some that are optional (lunch for cast, flying system, etc). Give the students a projected audience size and let them create the budget and ticket price. For an added bonus have them write a justification for why they choose the things they did. You are welcome to use my worksheets for this project. You can get them for a dollar at teacherspayteachers Students as Producers worksheets

I hope this lesson helps you integrate math into your theatre class more! I also hopes it helps teach your students an important lesson about production cost. Did this lesson work for you? What other math lessons do you use in your class?