Pink Line Project support for The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (Reinvent Marketing Example)

12.06.12 | 2 Comments

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Thesis: If you produce a show inside a bar, you might find people interested in seeing it in other bars.

Example: The Pink Line Project is an endeavor to raise the visibility of the arts in Greater Washington, DC and to use the arts and that greater visibility to encourage people to cross social borders that tend to balkanize our region. It is a passion project for its founder Philippa Hughes. They do a lot to promote arts attendance and participation.

See all about it here:


As an aside, if your community has no such project, start looking around for somebody in the patron world who might be committed, energetic, and loony enough to follow Philippa’s example. If you find the right candidate, all you’ll have to do is give her the idea then stand out of the way.

The specific example here is something Pink Line Project did in support of The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart during its visit to DC. It was the Shakespeare Theatre Company that brought the show to DC. To the best of my knowledge, Pink Line Project carried out these promotional events on their own initiative.

Here’s a link to a photo album with a short description of the events:


I can’t testify to whether any money changed hands anywhere in the construction of these events. The folks listed as participants do a lot of volunteer work in the area. I don’t know how many attendances it inspired. The performance was full the night I attended and less than a third of the crowd were what I call usual suspects – people I share small theater auditoriums with repeatedly.

Definitely struck me as a model worth sharing.

I also see this as an extra credit example, because neither the producing nor the presenting theatre company had to create these events. Engaging friendly service organizations can serve as a powerful marketing multiplier.

Anybody out there working with organizations like this in your neighborhood?

Anybody out there cruising bars for audience members?

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Pete Miller

IT and Arts leader, playgoer, board game player, home brewer.
Self ordained chaplain of the American theatre.
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  • Philippa Hughes

    Hi Pete!

    Thanks for noticing Pink Line’s fun promo of Prudencia Hart. People in bars and on the streets responded with delight and surprise to this marketing activity. Just what we were going

    However, I wanted to clarify something. Though Pink Line does a ton of arts promotion for free, in this case, the Shakespeare Theatre Company paid Pink Line Project to figure out a creative way to tell people about the show and then execute the idea. For a while now, we have wanted to experiment with creative ways to promote the arts rather than the usual methods (running a banner ad on a website, or a print ad in a traditional media outlet). Creative organizations need to get creative about their marketing if they want new audiences. But we didn’t have the resources to do it for free, plus we don’t think artists should generally work for free anyway. They already don’t get paid enough as it is!

    The opportunity finally came along to promote a play that is
    completely out of the box and fitting with Pink Line’s notion of interactive, collaborative, engaging, participatory, and welcoming arts. Plus, STC was willing to experiment with us. Everyone who participated was paid for their time and talents, as they should be.

    Buying traditional ad space still has an important place in
    any marketing plan. But I am much more interested in figuring out ways to have direct contact with potential audiences and to engage them in their own space. I think it’s the only way we will be able to bring new audiences to the arts in the future, and that is our ultimate goal and and the goal of most involved in the arts.


    • Philippa,

      Thanks. Glad to see you’re putting together an economic model around this work. I think for quite some time, it will be more effective for Pink Line Project to develop a single capability with this kind of marketing then provide it on a contract basis to arts producers and presenters than for each of those organizations to develop their own capability.