Theatre know-it-all Tara Lamp gives some handy tips on boosting your ticket sales.
So, the ADC have accepted your pitch and granted you the space to perform your 20s/40s/70s/90s adaptation of Othello/Hamlet/Aladdin on ice/in space/with puppets. What next?
Never mind choosing your cast, holding auditions, sending acceptances, having rehearsals and sending rejections – that stuff can wait, now’s the time to start thinking promotion.
First on the list, posters! When it comes to posters it’s important to have a unique aesthetic, something people have never seen before. Consider putting a black-and-white photo of the most attractive actor in the centre of your poster with a dramatic quote, or crudely photoshopping your cast into some sort of wacky situation, maybe wearing goggles?
Remember, the trick to the perfect poster is to confuse everyone who sees it. People are always intrigued by things they don’t understand. Keep changing the title of your play each time you produce a new poster, keep the text as illegible as possible, even try listing the time and date of a completely different show for extra meta-theatrical spice. If you want to really enthrall the public, keep the venue a secret location, only to be revealed to the audience ten minutes before the first interval.
Next comes social media – the important thing to remember: quantity over quality. Snapchat filters, facebook profile pictures and cover photos are all rookie moves in a publicity campaign. More experienced promoters will know to weave the fictional scenarios of their play into anonymous Crushbridge and Memebridge posts, and make location pages for each of the fictional settings in the play. Why not take it a step further and present the climax of your play as a national disaster, in which your cast members can mark themselves safe? Even better, have the whole play take place on social media, between fictional accounts. That way you can recoup the money you’ve spent on marketing by not having to buy any props.
Finally, don’t forget the power of word of mouth. Phone your parents and ask them to tell your old drama teacher about your production, invite all of your extended family, stand up in the middle of a lecture and scream the date, time and venue of your show. Also make sure to spread it around that you got Patrick Stewart’s autograph in a Pizza Express in London and he said the play “sounds really cool”.
So there you have it. By now, your play will be the talk of the town. Bask in the glory of your new-found fame and move on to the trivial task of putting on the play itself.