Sell admission to your final dress rehearsal(s) at a reduced rate. Today's poor student is tomorrow's successful theatre patron.
Team up with a local restaurant for a 'themed' night, at a special price per plate, with serenading performances by your cast throughout the meal.
For symphonies or musical groups, collect old or broken (i.e., unplayable) instruments from musicians, then have them signed or painted by the musicians, and auction or raffle them off! It's a great and special way to add a bit of life to the instrument, and turns it into a treasured keepsake.
Stage a highly publicized one-night-only (or one-weekend-only) reading, and sell tickets at a premium. Add a bit of glitz to the event by involving a local celeb or respected guest, even a local politician. Keep everything formal, beautifully set up, and elegant. Use barstools for the performers, not chairs. Light the reading creatively. And introduce and close the reading with reminders to donate and support the rest of your season.
While benefit concerts are a tried and true approach, you could take that a step further and offer smaller, isolated performances around town for donations, including soloists, duets, string quartets, and more. Always make sure the performers are clearly wearing T-shirts or sweatshirts with your organization name or logo -- every little bit of advertising helps!
Today, it's all about branding and promotion. So get a local corporation to sponsor a specific show. This is especially effective if the show and the corporation are a good match. For instance:
Some people want the best, and they're willing to pay for it! With this in mind, sell the two (or four, or six, etc.) best seats in the house at a premium, at auction. Sell them by the show, or by the season -- you'll be surprised how popular this option will turn out to be.
So that's the scoop!
You get the idea... Your fundraising possibilities are limited only by your creativity. Go forth, be creative -- then share your successes in our forums!