May I recommend your students contact Full Sail University in Florida. They have full bachelors and masters degrees in Entertainment Business (both brick-and-mortar and online). Here's the link: https://www.fullsail.edu/area-of-study/business. They may be happy to answer questions.
As I teach a course for Drama teachers on High School Theatre Management and have also written a book on the subject (of course, my area of Arts Administration specializes in high school theatres, but running a theatre in the schools should be little different than running a theatre in the 'real world' except the element of vocational education is added) I would also be more than happy to field a few questions from students too (if the student's could keep their questions to one or two each and make them specific, that would be great – or the class could come up with a few collective questions perhaps).
It's really awesome that you are teaching a unit on Arts Administration, as it's a great way for vocational theatre students to obtain employment in the theatre world. High school theatre management is also a growing field, as more and more high school theatres serve as "roadhouses" for school events, district events and outside events. Even if your theatre just accommodates school events, it's still essentially a roadhouse and it still needs to be managed. All theatres, even high school theatres, need to have policies and procedures in place, such as: safety policies and protocols, staffing models, forms and documentations, event success procedures, finances and budgeting, marketing and outreach, and other operational functions. And, as many of you know, sometimes the Drama teacher has to wear the hat of Theatre Manager too (sigh…), so it benefits your vocational students who think they might go into education to have the background in Arts Administration/Management as well. Plus, another benefit of the unit is to help your own school administration learn that there's more to theatre than "playing around". Did you know Americans spend more per year on entertainment than sports? And for every TV show, movie, political rally, concert, lecture, sports half-time show, radio program, or any performance or event, there are a lot more people behind the scenes making it happen than just the performers the public sees. Great idea for a unit!
GRANT WRITING PROJECT
Apply for a $2,000.00 grant for a theatre or theatre project. You will receive an application with a description of how to apply for the grant. This is based on an actual grant that is available to small theatre companies in New York City. Read this material very carefully. In order to apply for the grant you will need to make up a theatre company, considering what you as an artist want to say to the world. You will turn in your grant proposals without your name on it, with only the name of the theatre. For our last class we will replicate a grant panel. Each student will be given a copy of another student's proposal, without knowing who wrote it, and will present that proposal to the group. We will discuss each proposal and rank them. When all are presented we will look at the rankings and decide where the line is drawn for who gets funding and who doesn"t. The highest rated applicant will receive (in theory) the full $2,000.00. The lowest ranked proposal above the drop off line will receive $500. We will then allocate amounts for the remaining companies, based on their ranking. After discovering the actual amount in the imaginary fund available for disbursement we will re-access our choices and adjust the dollar amounts accordingly. Your grade will be based on your final ranking, as determined by the panel of fellow students.
I recently came across another great resource for vocational tech theatre students: www.theatreeventacademy.com.
This organization advocates for vocational tech theatre and is chock-a-block with resources to that end. Here's the intro to their mission statement:
"The mission of Theatre Event Academy is to connect and improve the theatre and live event industries by offering quality training, resources and advocacy for theatre professionals looking to cultivate a career in live events. We provide opportunities for theatre educators, students & professionals to broaden skill sets and increase awareness of available career paths in the live event industry."
I'll also post this on the "Why "Arts" Administration?" thread…