Local theatre company receives $10,000 in Missouri arts grant

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COLUMBIA - The curtain will soon rise on 2017, and for Talking Horse Productions, a $10,016 grant will help fund another theatre season.

The Missouri Arts Council recently announced 362 arts-related groups that will receive grant funding for the upcoming year. The Council awarded more than $4.7 million to groups in 63 different communities across the state. Groups ranged from ballet companies to jazz museums, boys choirs to art academies, local theatres and more.

Ed Hanson, who works as the executive and artistic director for THP, said 2017 marks the company’s third year of receiving Missouri Arts Council grant money.

Hanson said the funds will help offset operating costs.

“Rent, utility costs, things like paying royalties for shows, set-building, costuming props,” he said. “All of that takes money.”

Hanson said people wrongfully assume ticket sales cover these expenses.

“Ticket sales only cover about half of your costs, so you have to find other sources of funding, and those grants are very wonderful in that they can help us with our operating costs,” he said.

For technical director Kristopher Pettey, the MAC grant will eliminate some of the stresses behind building a theatrical set.

“The more money we have to spend on sets, the easier my life is because I don’t have to scrounge for things,” Pettey said.

While part of the $10,016 will be set aside for set construction costs, Pettey said he makes an effort to re-use set pieces whenever possible.

“All the set walls are continuously reused,” he said. “When I have to put walls up, I go back to my stock, grab them out and put them up.”

This thrifty technique allows Hanson to select six mainstage productions for the 2017 season. Hanson said the royalties to put on plays and musicals can be very expensive, and part of the grant money will be used to cover these costs.

The 2017 season productions can be found on the Talking Horse Productions website.