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Broadway on a Budget: Theater Department Fundraising at CHS

Thespians club members star in the fall production

The theater department at Camas High School (CHS) requires a lot of money in order to remain active, but they face challenges in acquiring the funds necessary to continue producing high-quality performances every year. 

“Truthfully, the only real money the department has gotten has been donations,” CHS senior and Thespians treasurer Elijah Hackl said. 

“The funds we raise mostly come from the shows,” CHS junior and fundraising committee member Mason Vancleave said. “We’re also able to gain funds through fundraisers and donations from those in the community.”

Most of the money raised by Thespians goes straight to the theater department and is spent frugally on the theater department’s necessities.

Thespians club members act in the fall play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“We usually spend the money we raise on things the theater needs, like microphones or supplies,” Vancleave said.

Because Thespians does not receive ASB funding or an ASB-facilitated booster program, the theater department is left on its own to raise money for sets, costumes, advertising, show rights and any other expenses that may come up.

“The major difference [between theater funding and other activities] is that pretty much none of our money comes from ASB. The theater department basically raises all its own funds,” Vancleave said.

Additionally, the absence of a planning period makes it more difficult for the department to raise funds. 

“The biggest challenge has been the shortened time we have for our meetings,” Hackl said. “I’m a busy guy, so I don’t have a lot of time to work on stuff outside of class and student support. When we had conference period we got a lot done. Now I can barely get a fundraiser through at all.”

Another challenge is the lack of experience many members have with organizing fundraisers. 

Camas High School’s members of the International Thespians Society

“[Not many committee members] have [fundraised] before and know what to do. So, most of the things we do in fundraising are us figuring out for ourselves what needs to be done,” Vancleave said. 

Still, the committee is fighting as hard as they can to combat these roadblocks and raise as much money as they can for the theater department. 

“We’ve… moved Thespians meetings to be held weekly instead of every other week, and we do more work outside of club hours,” Vancleave said.

Despite the lack of available time, the team has been working hard to get a fundraiser off the ground. 

“We have two [fundraisers] in the world, one with MOD Pizza and one with Burgerville,” Hackl said. “The MOD [Pizza fundraiser] should be happening soon if we can get things ready to go.” 

Between fundraising efforts, donations from the community and profit from ticket sales, the department makes enough money to put on award-winning shows while simultaneously accomplishing long-term goals. 

“We just hit one of our major goals, which was raising enough money for new microphones,” Vancleave said. Those microphones have since been installed and will be ready for use in time for the spring musical, The Addams Family.

The spring show produces a massive portion of the department’s profits; Hackl, who plays Gomez Addams in the upcoming production, is excited about the show’s prospects. 

“Please come see the Addams Family, it’ll be really fun.”

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Sophie Jacobs, Staff Writer

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