Open Book Theatre

We believe that financial transparency is key to igniting a conversation about the real-life cost and value of live theatre. Open Book makes our entire production budget available to you online! By doing this, you know exactly where your dollars are going; what your donation pays for and whom you are supporting. It is important to us that we encourage the ensemble part of our mission-- we pay all our artists equally and prioritize paying people over other costs.

How does this work?

We have completely restructured our ticketing system! Suggested ticket donations are based on our current production’s budget breakdown. We call this a “ Living Ticket”. Our budgets are listed to reflect three separate scenarios:

  • Our Current Budget-- what we expect to pay for this production’s artist compensation and basic production costs only
  • Our Minimum Budget-- the cost of production if we pay everyone involved a Minimum Wage, according to the State of Missouri
  • Our Living Budget-- the cost of production if we pay everyone involved a Living Wage

How did you get these numbers?

Our Minimum Budget looks at what expenses would be if we paid all our collaborators the Missouri State minimum wage of $8.60 per hour, according to the MO Department of Labor. Hourly totals are based on rehearsal hours as well as performance hours.
Our Living Budget shows what would happen if we paid our collaborators a living wage (i.e. what it takes to actually pay all living expenses). We used the MIT Living Wage Calculator to estimate these totals.

Why do non-personnel costs also rise in the Living Wage budget?

As our payroll budgets rise for our collaborators, we also want to make more artistically possible for our designers. These amounts reflect an “ideal” production budget-- what it would take for an artist’s vision come to life in its entirety. Many times, in order to meet our lowest level budget, designers and directors may have to sacrifice portions of their ideal design in the name of minimum expenses.

Are these amounts concrete?

Yes and no. It is important to note that these budget amounts are all estimates. Once our production closes, we will upload a budget that reflects our actual expenses to show you how well we did (or did not do)!