With fall just around the corner, it’s time to start making your show selections for the next theatrical season. But before you jump into any major decisions, think long and hard about the many considerations that exist when choosing your show schedule.
Not sure what these considerations should be? On The Stage is here to help ensure you make strong choices for this season and beyond!
Where to Start?
There are hundreds of musicals and plays available to schools, theatre programs, troupes, and other creatives as they lay the groundwork for a great season. You may feel overwhelmed with those options – which is normal, we promise! But here are a few questions to start with before you select your titles:
- What themes and focus areas do we want to cover? A great first question to ask yourself and your team – ‘what themes do we want to cover?’ will guide you in narrowing down your musical or play search. Whether you’re interested in exploring American history, feminist works, family dynamics, rock ‘n’ roll, fairytales, or a mixture of everything … There are titles that fit that every mold.
- What kind of educational impact do we want to achieve? Along the same lines, decide up front the kind of educational impact you want your shows to have on your audiences. If you run a school theatre department, check with your school’s leadership, or district at large, about any educational focuses they may have, then see how you can tie those into your productions. If there aren’t any set goals, get creative by tying relevant curriculum from a variety of subjects into your productions. This will be a win-win for both your audience and your students!
- What kind of budget do we have? Getting honest with yourself and your team about your budget can mean knocking certain shows off your list, as some are harder to get the rights to, stage, and prepare. If your expectations are sky-high, no worries – we can help you fundraise to reach those goals!
- Do we have content restrictions? This one might be a no-brainer, but make sure to choose shows that are thematically appropriate for your cast, crew, and audience.
- What resources do my cast provide? Take a look at your potential casting choices and make sure you’re choosing titles that act as vehicles to help your actors succeed. Whether that means examining their ages, singing/dancing/acting abilities, or the sheer pool of candidates, ensure you’re challenging your cast … but not making it impossible for them to put on a great show. The last thing you want to do is choose a production that becomes untenable, forcing you to switch halfway through.
- What resources do our crew members provide? The same idea migrates over to your crew and your equipment. How extensive are lighting and sound queues for the shows you’re considering? Can the show be done on a minimalist set? What about the frequency of set changes, costumes, and other variables? Make sure you’re catering to your talent in this regard, too.
After taking the above questions into account and making your selections, there are a few ways to get the ball rolling to ensure your season starts off with a bang.
- Focus on marketing efforts: Once your titles are chosen, it’s time to get to promoting! Focus on curating an engaged audience long before the curtain opens with eye-catching social media posts, as well as timely email blasts and engaging printed content, like posters and billboards.
- Fundraise, fundraise, fundraise: Every theatre program could stand to gain extra income! Whether you want to host a major fundraiser at the start of your season, run ticket sales contests with your students, or host car washes and prop drives, the sky’s the limit.
- Push merchandise: As we’ve said before, merchandise is a free walking billboard for your work. Get creative with your merch options – whether those are custom hats, mugs, shirts, or bags – and get the content out early to create buzz!
- Get serious about ticketing: Clunky ticket sale infrastructure is a huge roadblock when it comes to streamlining the audience experience. Invest in newer technologies with ticket scanning and easy ticketing software.
Perhaps the best news of all? On The Stage can help with all the above, and so much more. So now that you’re armed with some professional theatrical knowledge, it’s time to start choosing your titles. Break a leg!