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I really appreciate Playscripts and their work toward creating better theater and theater experiences for all. Jay Muldoon Theater Teacher, Fairfield, OH
General Information
Free and Almost Free Ways to Promote Your Production

When you’re busy producing a play the last thing you want to think about is filling seats. Whether you’re staging and elaborate Broadway musical or a bare bones middle school production, developing an audience should be a top priority.

Marketing your production begins before you start rehearsals. Online fundraising has become a way to build excitement and cultivate fans.  Kickstarter is a relatively simple way to raise funds and build awareness. Kickstarter allows you to create traditional and not-so-traditional donor awards based on pledge level. Awards don’t need to have a high dollar value; they can be experiential. A donor that pledges $15 might receive one free ticket to opening night. A donor who pledges $250 might receive four front row seats to opening night, drinks and snacks backstage, and a photo shoot with the cast in costume. Another great feature is the ability to upload videos onto your page. Your videos can be sneak peeks of your set and costumes, an interview with cast members, or a 30 second commercial. (Remember to make sure to ask permission before you record any performances, rehearsals or readings.)

There are now great free resources to enhance your Facebook page with tabs. Involver has a suite of freebies that easily add coupons, photo galleries and PDF files to any Facebook page. Wildfire also has an application to add a free tab to your Facebook page. It’s a bit more complicated, but there’s also more freedom to design your own tab. A few ideas on how to use your tabs:  Offer your Facebook fans a 2 for 1 deal on slow selling show dates. Post backstage videos.  Have your fans vote on an element of your production. (Remember to make every post count. The more people that comment and like a post, the more it will be seen.)

Find opportunities to send your cast out in costume. Parades, fairs and other large community events are ideal for finding new audience members. Make sure to have postcards, stickers or flyers to handout with the date prominently displayed. (I’ve forgotten to include the date before, and it was a costly mistake.) And don’t underestimate your community. Having people involved with the production going door-to-door to businesses is always a buzz booster.

Lastly, aim for earned media coverage with a press release and follow up pitch. Find a well-spoken person involved with the production to be your media representative. He or she will talk to reporters and write press releases.  (My “media rep” was one of my best friends who studied PR in college.) Writing a press release doesn’t take extraordinary skill, and there are hundreds of websites with great press release examples. The Publicity Insider has great tips for writing your release and pitching your story here.  The best way to get media to cover your event is to  find a newsworthy angle.  Are there any unusual elements to my production?  Do any of the cast members or production staff have an interesting story?  Does the play you chose have significance?  Find your angle and pitch it!

And always feel free to tweet us @playscripts with any questions.

–Lane Bernes, Playscripts, Inc. Marketing Director

 

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