You might say amateur theatre is just that – amateur. But just because you’re doing amateur theatre, it doesn’t mean the quality or impact is restricted. People don’t just go to see local theatre to support their friends and family that are in it. They go to have a good evening with local people. Your job is just to keep them coming back, both on and off stage.
If you can create this, you’re onto a winning streak. From performing Shakespeare to Sister Act, all shows have spectacle of their own and it’s your job to prise it out of the actors and fill the audience’s eyes and ears with the story. If you’re performing Romeo and Juliet for example, you want the audience to come away wanting to live every day as if it were their last feeling lucky to be alive and to have loving friends and family. If you’re performing Legally Blonde, you want the audience to come away feeling that they won’t judge people as much on their looks but really allow them to make an impression on their hearts. Plus of course, there’s the spectacle that you can create with set, sound and lighting. If you can impress your audience with your technical ability, if they know all the effects are ‘homemade’ they’ll be putty in your palms.
Lot’s of amateur theatre groups forget that the key to selling tickets (and long term survival) is being the heart of the community. Often, these productions stem from a wish to create a community event and atmosphere but as these initial founding members leave, these aims can become lost. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t make professional shows, but just remember if you can help local causes and local people, if you can embed your group in the heart of your community, there will always be lots of support for your productions.
If you can present a range of entertainment, all to a high standard then you can really make a difference to your community. Here’s a list of things you could have a go at:
- Pantomimes- great fun for cast and local families
- Musicals- always a winner for old and young
- Shakespeare- literature and theatre at it’s best
- Straight Plays- for drama lovers and thrill seakers
- Comedies- for a laugh and a good night out with friends
- Murder Mysteries- for fundraising and awareness campaigns
- Variety Shows- for old-fashioned fun with new ideas
- Concerts- something for everyone, who doesn’t like a good song?
- Children’s Theatre- a young person’s first experience of being in the audience
The list goes on, and the possibilities are endless. If you haven’t done one yet, why not have a go?
These are three really simple steps which can make a huge difference to the amount of fun and fulfilment had by your members and your ticket sales (which at the end of the day, is the bottom line!). Try them out, and let me know how it goes. I look forward to hearing about your experiences.