Like many creatives, you may be struggling with a lack of actors and techies for your productions. Perhaps you’ve been doubling – having one actor play multiple roles – or have had to take on behind-the-scenes work yourself due to a lack of backstage hands. 

If you’re running out of bandwidth, you’re not alone. But growing your program – and subsequently reducing your stress – is easier than you might think. On The Stage offers a few avenues to get more hands on deck.

Offer Incentives 

There’s no shame in the bribery game, especially if it gets more people interested in your program! A few ideas include: 

  • Community service hours – If you’re involved in a school program, talk to educational leadership about offering community service hours to those who can help backstage. More than likely, a bevy of students would prefer to help at school than trek to another location for their hours.
  • Free merch Few people can say no to free shirts, hats, mugs, posters, or even just a free meal. Advertise that incentive and see how many flock to your aid! 


Enlist Your Theatre Leaders

Your theatre program likely has a few charismatic leaders that are super passionate about what they do. The best endorsement you can get is one from someone actively involved in your program. Utilize them! 

  • If you’re with a school, have older students do grassroots outreach to younger grades – whether that’s through chats between classes or in-class presentations. If the cool kids are doing theatre, they’ll want to, too! 
  • If you’re a community or professional theatre, have your theatre veterans and marketing pros spread the good word through their own myriad networks and via social media.


Create a Community Worth Entering

Perhaps the best way to grow your program is to make it as attractive as possible to outsiders. A few ideas include:

  • Hosting award shows – Create inclusive awards for your cast and crew after a show or at the end of the school year. Make sure everyone’s involved and honored, and promote it on your socials.
  • Create appealing events – Whether you want to organize gatherings/parties outside rehearsals or host volunteer days at local nonprofits, make sure your theatre is more than just shows and rehearsals. 
  • Offer acceptance – Make sure your theatre is a safe space, both for theatre enthusiasts and newcomers. Don’t be afraid to address anxiety and stage fright with your group, and be a source for any actor/crew member struggling with their mental health.  


Market Yourself to Non-Theatre Folk

A lot of people might assume everyone in your theatre bubble must be an outgoing actor – not true! Make sure you’re appealing to the following groups:

  • People interested in behind-the-scenes work – Just because you’re shy doesn’t mean you can’t be integral to a stage production. Make sure your theatre doesn’t intimidate those who prefer to be behind the scenes. 
  • Dancers, cheerleaders, and other athletes – Not everyone on stage has to be a phenomenal actor or singer. If you’re doing a musical, make sure to appeal to dancers, cheerleaders, and other groups who can create exciting dynamics in different numbers. 
  • Techies – Tap science and robotics clubs to find your tech crew. They’ll likely be able to pick up lighting and sound design technology  quickly and may even offer expertise you didn’t think of before. 
  • Builders – Those who enjoy shop class will love helping to build sets. Don’t be afraid to reach out to career tech schools in the area, too. 
  • Fashion and art experts – A great production isn’t complete with a beautiful set design and authentic costumes. Market yourself to fashion clubs, artists, and other creatives who can help bring your show to life.  


Use the Resume Argument 

  • This tactic will most certainly work for over-achiever students (and their parents) looking to pad their resumes. 
  • It’s never been truer than colleges are looking for dynamic, well-rounded students. What better way to add to a resume than to join a performing arts group? 


Host a Talent Night

  • Another great way to get people interested in your program is to showcase your team and their many talents. 
  • Have your theatre veterans prepare short performances and create a talent show-style event. 
  • Promote the show to community members or other school groups.
  • Make sure you’ve got a wide breadth of offerings that appeal to more than just singers or actors. 


Utilize Your PR/Marketing Team

Whether you’re a major theatre with an entire PR staff or utilize a student marketing team to help spread the word, great marketing can help grow your numbers. Consider the following: 

  • Tap community connections – Whether you’ve already made community partnerships or want to start this year, reaching out to businesses and creatives around town is a great way to get more people involved in your program. 
  • Send out email blasts and hang fliers – Utilize your digital contacts and spread the word about your theatre through targeted email blasts. If you’ve got the budget, consider eye-catching posters and fliers around school or in local businesses.
  • Create targeted marketing campaigns on social media – Social media is one of the best ways to appeal to a wide audience. Create fun Instagram reels, follow the TikTok trends, and consider sponsored posts to get more eyes on your theatre. 
  • Push merch – Ensure your team has great merch … and that they’re wearing it around school or at local events. This walking billboard for your work will surely turn heads. 


Pick Accessible Shows

  • Don’t scare off potential program members with overly ambitious or experimental works. 
  • While all creatives want to push the envelope, it may be a smart idea to start with something a little less avant-garde if you want to expand your ranks. 
  • Once you’ve got a bigger team, the sky’s the limit with the content you produce! 

Growing your program can be tricky, but On The Stage can help. From streamlined ticketing sales to automated marketing efforts, OTS will help elevate your theatre experience. Book a personalized demo now to get started. 


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