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Ten Tips For Producing Shows and Acts on the Cheap! (by Valentina)

With covid19 taking our performance opportuntiies away, it's left our performer pockets pretty empty! So I asked the fabulously thrifty performer and producer, Valentina to spill all her secrets and top tips for fellow producers and performers wanting to create on a shoe-string budget! Here's what she had to say...

(photo by 3 Fates Media)

1. Make the most of earlybird registrations if you are looking to produce a show at a festival. These are considerably cheaper than full price regos. Sign up to mailing lists and join facebook groups for each festival so you are first to know!

2. Investigate how to get cheap rehearsal space. In Melbourne, The Butterfly Club offers free rehearsal time in their venue if you are producing a show there. Dancehouse in North Carlton can be hired for $12/hr. has a whole host of reasonably priced rehearsal and performance spaces.

3. Plan ahead - there is nothing worse than panic buying when you have a million other things to panic about before you perform your act or open your show! Have an itemised shopping list for things you are going to need, and ensure anything you need to buy online is ordered as soon as possible so it arrives in good time. Make sure you also rehearse in costume well before performing, as you may need to grab extra items or alternatives.

4. Shop around! Take your list to different stores to establish where the best deals are. Check different online stockists as well. Planning ahead will leave you with plenty of time to do this and you’ll have the sweet satisfaction of finding all the bargains!

5. Make use of sales - end of season, Spotlight and Lincraft’s regular sales, some places give you discounts on your birthday so if you’ve timed that one right, make the most of it! I recently got some heavily discounted inflatable pool toys to use in a show, just because it was the middle of winter.

6. MULTIBUYS - particularly great if you are costuming duos or groups, multibuys are generally pretty easy to find and obviously work out to be far cheaper per item. It’s also a good idea to buy returnable items - this is very important especially when you’re costuming others and needing to check the fit/seethroughness under lights.

(photo by Mia Goreng)

7. Think outside the box when decorating your costumes. With a bit of ingenuity, you do not need to buy expensive or specific decorative items. I created three candy outfits for my show last year, and what were the sweets made of? Cut up coloured sponges from Daiso (with a little glitter), and pink heart shaped packing foam (also from Daiso, also with glitter). Decorations for 3 costumes = $6

8. Spend half your life wandering Daiso. See above. Aside from household items that can be turned into costuming, they have cheap sewing supplies, cheap felt, cheap decorations, cheap toiletries, cheap stationery, cheap snacks….

9. Use free listing websites to your advantage! There are many in Melbourne such as It also pays to draw up a press release and send it to any media contacts you have - Broadway World usually publishes what you send through. 

10. Cross promote with other creatives. Hire up and coming photographers, designers, sound engineers, costumers, and promote each other and each other’s work through your networks for maximum impact. You could also swap a couple of tickets with another producer or give comps to someone who has a large network they can promote to.

I hope you have learned how to tighten those purse strings and produce awesome things with less! So now you can put more back in your pocket! Got another tip? Share it below in the comments! You can find and follow Valentina on Social Media via the links below:

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