YouPlay - A Youth Theatre Company: Business Plan and Critical Analysis
(2014) YouPlay - A Youth Theatre Company: Business Plan and Critical Analysis, no. 108.
The YouPlay Youth Theatre Company (YouPlay) is a charitable company limited by guarantee operating on a non-profit basis located in Oban, Scotland. Its vision is to create a safe, supportive and open environment for young people to explore and discover their individual talents and identities to help them create happy futures and to reach their fullest potential in life. Using the medium of youth theatre YouPlay offers participatory weekly classes and workshops for young people aged 11 to 18. Participants will learn about and explore every aspect of theatre and will be involved in all steps necessary to putting on a successful and inspiring production. YouPlay has the individual at the heart of all its operations, values the input of each and every person involved and provides a safe and supportive space for young people to develop at their own pace. Classes and workshops are open to everyone, regardless of background, prior experience or abilities. Vision, mission, overall objectives and proposition are grounded in and have been developed drawing on the philosophies and values of the Scout Movement and Youth Arts to achieve maximum impact on young people's lives and futures. As a start-up company YouPlay aims to penetrate the existing Youth Arts market in Oban employing a diversification strategy. The main target groups are potential participants and their carers who are interested in joining classes and workshops as well as local schools and organisations wanting to take up YouPlay's additional offers. Oban with its two main residential groups identified by Mosaic Scotland, Low Income Families and Country Lifestyles, shows great potential for growth due to the lack of serious direct and indirect competition, its central location and important role for the surrounding area and a wide array of potential collaborators. Using a carefully planned and timed marketing strategy employing specifically targeted offline and online advertising as well as PR YouPlay will communicate its existence, proposition and benefits to the identified target groups and the general public to establish itself as a provider of good quality drama education. YouPlay's unique selling point is the innovative and participatory approach to drama classes and workshops where participants are at the heart of all operations. They are involved in all decision making processes, the "tuition" of drama and any related areas such as backstage, technical and Front of House aspects is experimental, self-led and achieved through "learning-by-doing" in an informal safe and supportive peer environment. The pricing strategy is firmly grounded in vision and mission and derived from thorough market research. Considering the main target groups, a medium to low price range for classes, workshops and additional offers was chosen to ensure participation for everybody regardless of financial background is possible. This is supported by the availability of a limited number of bursaries. Financial and legal obligations posed by YouPlay's company set up and overall operations have been considered with great care and have informed governance and staffing needs. The company's daily business will be run by an experienced team under the Executive and Artistic Directors' supervision. Building on the pricing strategy and a pessimistic approach to income prediction established using a sensitivity analysis, projections for the first three years show that income will increase steadily with YouPlay being self-funded by10% in year one increasing to 29% at the end of year three. Zero-based three year budgets for programme, operations and marketing were developed and after considering potential income from donations and sponsorship the needs for additional funding were determined. Funding needs will decrease continuously from £64,000 in year one to £56,000 in year two and £50,000 in year three being compensated by increased income due to a realistic estimation of growing participant and audience numbers leaving YouPlay with a total income of £76,300 and total expenses of £75,306 in year three. Cash flow forecasts show sufficient cash will be available to cover monthly expenses with only minor deficits which can easily be dealt with. Careful budgeting and pessimistic income projections ensure the company's financial stability and viability as well as growth potential over the first three years of its existence. Continuous monitoring and evaluation of all creative, administrative and financial operations according to the performance evaluation plan and the analysis of potential risks ensure that problems and obstacles can be identified early on and either avoided or resolved easily and quickly without affecting the company's stability.