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Art | Music | Drama 


Full Member

Last school year was unbelievably hard. I would imagine for all of you, also. I am so grateful to have this time off to rest and rejuvenate!

Question: Has anyone done a school play and been paid a stipend? I am doing one play/musical with only with intermediate grades, so about 30 kids total. I'm wondering what to ask for in terms of pay for directing the performance? Administration has asked me to come up with a written proposal for what I think is fair compensation.

I'm a teacher who enjoys doing class plays. I'm a certified K-8 multiple subject teacher (and teach full time at my school, also) but I don't have special training in drama. But my class plays are always very well received by parents and admin. alike. Kids love them!

So can I get anyone's opinion? If we practice three times a week for four weeks, and then the fifth week if we practiced four times, that'd be a total of 16 hours of directing.

Then let's say for each of the five total weeks, I need 2 additional hours to do the set, to plan the parts and the costumes, to communicate with parents, to set up and break down the stage, and to go purchase any extra stuff from store. That's be about another 10 hours.

Then the performances, two of them, would require about two hours each night, so that is another four hours.

To add up: 16 hours for directing, 10 hours for planning, set up etc., and 4 for performance evenings. TOTAL HOURS: 30 If it is $24.00 per hour rate of pay, that's be a total of $720.00.

What do you think?

I hope everyone is has a relaxing and fun summer!

God bless!


Senior Member
I taught high school theatre for a couple of years along with many years of band and music. I also have done extensive directing and acting in community theatre productions for many years as well.

School productions should pay way better than community theatre productions. If you are doing this at our own district and it is a public school district, there is usually a set stipend for various outside activities working with kids such as this, coaching sports, clubs, etc. I would check with your principal and see what that would be. If not set, I would say probably at least $1000 maybe $2,000. The most I ever got directing a community theatre production was $750. Usually I get about $200-$300.

Some high schools will list something like this as an opening which could be open to outside people as well and they usually get $2,000 or so as well.


Senior Member
I have no experience with this but am just thinking who is paying for costumes, set pieces, scenery? Wouldn't that cost need to be factored in to your price? Its seems that your price is low for 5 weeks. Is this for summer school or during the year?


Full Member
Thank you, jazzer, for the response. I do not work in public education and also the principal has asked me to come up with a proposal about what I think I should be paid. They don't have a set amount.
Thank you!


Full Member
Hi Violets2,
Thank you for the response. I don't have to pay for costumes or the set or props. Also, it is during the school year, likely to be after Christmas. Thank you


Senior Member
I think you are selling yourself short. Are there coaches in your building? How much do they get paid? How about tutors? Our home instruction tutors make approximately $32 an hour. I think that $30 an hour is fair. If they say no you can always ask for less, but why not try to get as much as you can and what you are worth?


Senior Member
My district had a set dollar amount that they paid for co-curriculars so that you really just needed to calculate how many hours you were going to put in and they would calculate what stipend would be, although you had to get board approval for any new stipend. If you felt that your existing stipend was inadequate for the hours you were putting in, you could also appear before the board and explain why you thought your stipend should be increased. When my choral performance schedule went from 3 concerts and 3 festivals per year to 5 concerts and 6 festivals per year, I was able to get my stipend increased.

I agree that, if you have to propose the hourly compensation, you should ask for more than $24/hour and you should get paid at least as much (on an hourly basis) as any athletic coach.


Senior Member
I’m just surprised that you’re able to ask for a specific amount for your stipend.
I’m also surprised it’s hourly, not a set amount.
That’s amazing!

We get stipends in our district for specific things but they aren’t much, especially in elementary. Our music teacher does performances each year, twice weekly practices plus dress rehearsals and the stipend is only $876 for the year (elementary).

I do the school wide talent show each year, no stipend.

What ages is this for? You said intermediate so I’m assuming elementary?

The performance arts stipend for elementary here is $510 for the year, for middle
school it is $906, high school is much more and ranges on experience from $2770-$3878.

Im in a public school, but we have a handbook that lays out supplements. Does your local public school district have something that you can Google and look at?

Miss Binney

Senior Member
I see that you have ten hours built in for planning and set-up. I would also build in time for things like student communication (sign-ups, reminders, notes or emails home, etc.), "marketing" (flyers or announcements for the performance), and general admin tasks (making sure school staff are available for any type of set-up/clean-up, making copies of scripts or music, etc.) I think you could easily use 10 hours just for those types of things and that's not even planning the actual performance. I would also add 30-60 minutes to each rehearsal and performance. You won't be arriving at the exact start time and you most definitely won't be leaving right when it ends. Don't cut yourself short. If you are listing it out - just put that those times include setting up and cleaning up.


Senior Member
I agree with OPs. If you are actually able to let your admin know what putting on a production takes, put it all in.

Additional thoughts:

coaching leads/soloists

costume fittings

yes to extra time before/after actual rehearsals (I never have all my students picked up on time for an after-school rehearsal)