Easy Ways to Market Your High School Theatre Production

Written by: Elizabeth Horton

August 26th 2019

Marketing a show for Broadway seems so easy; put a billboard in Times Square and a couple of signs up, and everyone will come. Everyone knows Broadway. Everyone knows the big-name theatres. But how can you get a sold-out house for your high school show?

Having been in charge of marketing for a high school department before, I get there are moments where you feel stuck and feel like you want to rip your hair out. What else can you do?! But take a deep breath. Marketing a show may be easier than you think- it just takes that creative mind of yours and some work. You also don’t need to be the marketing person for your show to get involved. A lot of these every cast and crew members can do on their own. And you don’t need to put in a ton of money to help reach high ticket sales- a lot of these are free!

1. Determine the target demographic

The first step in marketing any show is deciding the target demographic. The target demographic is the group of customers that your show would like to appeal. For a high school production, a part of your target demographic will be the students at your school, other high schools in your area, and friends and families of the cast and crew. Also, think about the target demographic of the community; if you’re doing The Little Mermaid, hit up elementary schools. If your school is doing Rent, maybe focus on a mature audience.

2. Social media, social media, social media 

In case you missed it: social media. Everyone is using social media, constantly, so take advantage of the free advertising you can get from using different platforms. If your department doesn’t have Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, make a page, and you can continue using them for upcoming shows and events. Make a Facebook event page for each show and have everyone invite all their friends. Go crazy and make a Tik Tok or a Snapchat, too. Start early-maybe a post or so a week and increase as it gets closer to tech and show week. Encourage the cast and crew to make and share posts as well. The more friends and followers that see posts about the show, the bigger the number of people that know about it.

3. Poster the Town

I call it Postering the Town, but you can come up with any name for it. It is what it sounds like: hanging up posters all the town. I find that the director or the marketing team of your show should be responsible for postering the town events. You can do it as easy as requiring each cast and crew member to hang up a certain number of posters, or organizing a contest and breaking up everyone in teams and assigning them different areas over the town and see who can hang up the most posters. Hanging up posters is old-fashioned but effective!

4. Contest and Giveaways

This one won’t require spending, but it will require giving away tickets. Giveaways can also tie into social media! Focus on some social media platforms that your department uses and set up contests for the followers to participate. For example, set up an Instagram contest with the rules saying to enter people need to make a post of the show poster with the details of the show in the caption. This way, the information and name of the show will be spread to tons of different users! You can do a variety of different platforms, and you can even specialize in contests for the students at your school.

5. Write Press Releases

If you’ve never heard the term ‘press release’ it refers to a publication that gives readers information or makes an announcement. For the sake of the production, a basic press release would have the name of the show and information such as the location, times, dates, ticket prices, and maybe a summary of the show. If you wanted something more ‘flashy’ you can also write a featured article that could feature interviews from the cast and more in-depth analysis of the show. Send press releases to your high school newspaper and see if any small local newspapers will publish your article for free. If your department is willing to spend the money, see if you can get a press release in a more primary newspaper or publishing company in your city.

6. Word of Mouth

Word of mouth seems like a given, right? Of course, you’re going to tell people about the show. But seriously. Tell. People. About. The. Show. It’s the oldest form of marketing, but it’s the easiest, cheapest, and super effective. If you tell people you’re involved in a show, they want to support you! Tell your friends, families, neighbors, classmates, Facebook friends, enemies, cashiers at Target, Starbucks baristas. Everyone. It’s all about making those connections. You’ve worked hard on your show, and you should be proud, so tell people!

Need some advice? We’ve got you covered.

Elizabeth is a  junior at Flagler College working on earning her double-major in Theatre(B.A.) and Marketing with a double-minor in Arts Administration and Business Administration and grew up in Orlando. She is an actor, social media and marketing manager, and stage manager.