So my last post got a certain comment, pointing out that I addressed the letter to theatre-makers. Whose job is to make theatre, not market it.
My first thought was: Am I on a safari? Because a buck was just passed.
Most of the theatre-makers I know do the majority of their marketing themselves. But let’s say just for a moment that they didn’t, that they have a dedicated Marketing Minion to do it (the ideal world for some). They would still be responsible for the shitty poster/garbled press release/passive-aggressive facebook invite that the Minion produced. Why?
Because it’s your play.
Theatre isn’t run by a sinister cabal of producers who set ticket prices, lay down budgets, dictate casting and collaborations and take every decision away from the powerless theatre-makers. Sometimes it feels that way (and a half decent argument could be made that the economy serves this function), but it isn’t. So just like you don’t cast an utter numpty in your play, you don’t let an utter numpty do your marketing. Even if that numpty is you. If you can’t hire a professional Marketing Minion and you can’t use your flirty eyelashes and boyish hips to get some pro bono, and your friends are all marketing numpties too then READ THE MANUAL. And by this I mean do some research, use the internet, ask for advice, look at publicity you think works and rip it off, etc, etc, etc.
Here’s something you may not know.
A play happens between at least two people. The performer and the audience. It can have a story. It can also not have a story. It can have words or not, music or not, lights or not. But it will have a relationship between at least two people. And that relationship, the interaction and reaction, is the play.
People who say that the job of theatre makers is to make theatre, not market it don’t understand what theatre and marketing are. They are two parts of a relationship. It’s not just about bums on seats, it’s perception, values, expectations.
Don’t leave that to a numpty.