Why People Go to Football Games and Not Theatre Shows

Emma Bauer, Staff Writer

It is generally known that athletics receive much more funding than the arts. It is practically a staple of high school to attend football games. Theatre productions, not so much.

Senior Ian Gallagher, a member of Indian Theatre, said, “We don’t get much funding from the district.” He lays the reason out loud and clear, right off the bat. No hesitation.

“Typically what we do is have fundraisers like most other programs do. It’s gotten to the point where we do this thing called the blitz fundraiser. We finally decided that it was just easier to call our relatives and straight up just ask for money. That’s our main source of income for shows and such like that. We have concessions, but it doesn’t generate too much,” Gallagher said.

People may note that tickets for a theatre show cost $10 to $12, versus football tickets that never exceed $5.

“The reason ticket costs are so high is that very reason, because that’s how we make ends meet. We actually had our best [money] year for the blitz this year and we raised about $20,000. And most of it went straight into our musical, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.

“People think high school, they think football games. They think basketball games. Volleyball.”

With the way things are going, it can be easy to feel neglected and cast aside when you are apart of theatre. In reality, they are just as important as athletics, and a really cool part of a high school experience is being able to go see a theatre production.

However, it is clear that the lack of fair treatment and lack of funding is felt by all students involved in theatre, both during and outside of school.

“You look up at the scoreboard, and you see all those State Farm and Raising Canes…those sponsorships don’t come from nowhere. They can generate a good amount of money from that. A lot of their equipment comes from sponsorships, whereas in theatre this year, we had to go campaign across town to get people to just put a single ad in our program for the musical. So people don’t typically think of theatre. They think of sports, which already generates more income with concessions and tickets than we do in a single game than we do for the whole season,” Gallagher said.

For someone to put four years of their life in high school into theatre, this can be frustrating, and deservedly so. I can understand. I have been on newspaper staff through all of high school, and this year, I’ve heard people complain about not having a print newspaper anymore. Why? We don’t have enough money. Newspaper doesn’t receive enough funding, if really any at all.

“We got that bond,” Gallagher recalls, “we got millions of dollars for making the entrance look pretty and meanwhile, the FAC and the arts hall was left untouched completely. And those are two areas that are under the most stress; they’re some of the oldest parts of the school. Last year, some guy got on top of the grid, above the stage, and set off a fire extinguisher and cost thousands of dollars worth of damage to our lights and curtains. We didn’t get any compensation to pay for that. It was a big problem for us. If a light had gone out on the football field, somebody would’ve got on that immediately,” he explained. “If the district would realize that the arts can be just as important as football — and we get it, it doesn’t bring in as much money — but if you gave us a little bit more to work with, I’m sure…we could do a lot.”

It is almost a plead.

“We work just as hard as football. Tonight, I have a 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. rehearsal in which I’m going to be standing on stage for hours while our technicians plug in lights and sound and make the show look pretty. The One Act play is like our UIL. We go to district and we go to bi-district and stuff like that just like volleyball and football do. And last year, our trips for Enron didn’t get funded by the district until we made it to region. We had to pay for the trips to go on UIL events. And if that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is.”

I start to feel angry about it right with him as I listen to how passionate he is about something he has put so much time and effort into.

“[If we had more money,] better quality shows bring in more audience. When we have more money to afford better lights, to make a prettier show, [with] a better sound system, to make it not sound like crap, then people are going to enjoy the experience more. And if they enjoy the experience they say, ‘hey, go see this show,’ and then more people come.”

Which made sense. But the lack of logic used in the funding situation frustrated me.

“With football games, it’s expected. People just go to football games. You don’t have to advertise. It’s not sports versus arts,” Gallagher said.

The last part even surprised me a bit. I hadn’t really expected to hear that. But what he said next made it much more clear to me.

“Among the arts, we still don’t get fair treatment because we just got a brand new band hall. Right in the middle of our FAC that was left completely untouched, like I said before. The only reason we got new lights is because of our own fundraising. And that’s another argument that people make. ‘Oh, we get our own money, we do fundraising.’ Well, good on you. But that’s not the only source. You go into that band hall, and you realize that they spent so much money on that. They get a lot of attention as well, because band goes hand in hand with football, and band goes to big competitions, but so do we. Art has art shows in town, and choir does all kinds of stuff,” Gallagher accounted.

I don’t think people realize how great theatre is and how much work they put into their shows. What he said next made me really think.

“I heard people in the hall talking just last week, ‘we have a musical at this school?’ Of course we do. They’re on those posters in the hall that you don’t read.”

The arts are just as important as athletics. They work hard and it shows!

I encourage you to go to the musical any time between November 2 and 4. Tickets are $10 at the door. Support theatre!