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Fresh, locally grown plays (Reinvent marketing idea)

12.13.12 | 6 Comments


CATEGORIES Uncategorized

Thesis: Members of the public who care about local produce might be good prospects to attend local theatre.

At first I thought I should file this idea away until the northern hemisphere spring; but it will probably take a little organizing to pull off, so why not talk about it now?

A company or a group of companies could set up a table at a farmers market promoting local theatre. The specific spin would be that like fresh, locally grown arugula and eggplant there is a special value in seeing art in your own community made by members of that community. Of course, you’ve got the strongest pitch if you produce works of local playwrights using local actors, but anybody can give this a whirl.

A table full of flyers and post cards staffed by an enthusiastic volunteer would get you part of the way. However, one of the fun things about farmers markets is getting to try the samples. To really execute this idea, it would be best to pull some excerpts from currently available work and perform 45-90 second snippets live and free for passers by. If you don’t have the rights to do this kind of informal performance, commission micro-plays from local playwrights that in some way amplify the work you are trying to draw attention to. Perform those instead. Some kind of free sample is crucial.

That’s it, a really simple one. And you’ve got months to get your execution ready for the spring.

Anybody already doing anything like this?

Pete Miller

IT and Arts leader, playgoer, board game player, home brewer.
Self ordained chaplain of the American theatre.
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  • http://www.davidjloehr.com/ David J. Loehr

    We’ve done that in the past when we have shows coming up. The Famers Market of Madison has been very good about helping and promoting us. We’ve performed, we’ve set up to show off the shows & sell tickets–which is even easier now with Square–and we’ve met people who didn’t even know we were performing here.

    It’s a wonderful way to get out and about in the community. Especially if you can visit multiple famers markets–I know there are several all over Louisville, for instance. It’s also a good way to meet vendors and make new partnerships that way as well, either for sponsorships, for food-related events, even for letting them sell tickets & share information when you might not be at the market that week.

    (And yes, this is one of those “must write a post about that” ideas I’ve had in my notebook for a while. Great minds, sir.)

  • http://twitter.com/valerieweak Valerie Weak

    I love this idea!! My similar idea has been to create a program icon (like how there’s often an * to denote ‘member of Actor’s Equity), that signifies ‘locally grown artist’ When I shop at my local natural foods store, they’ve got a green sticker with a black outline of California next to products where the company is California based, and a pink sticker w/the same California outline for products that are made/grown in the state – couldn’t companies in a particular region agree on a definition and an icon, and use it to denote the locals working on their shows and with their company?

    • http://www.davidjloehr.com/ David J. Loehr

      I’ve done that before, and I think it’s a wonderful idea.

  • Scott Walters

    Check out Wormfarm in Wisconsin, who do roadside displays!

  • HA Beasley

    Yes! The Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company tabled at the Boulder Farmers’ Market for three weeks last year for a show promotion, since we were doing a show related to fine food and dining locally. It was a big success for us and drew new patrons who had not heard of our company’s work before. Many farmers’ markets unfortunately have restrictions on who is allowed to table, to keep from becoming too large I suspect. Under normal show circumstances, we can’t partner with them because most of our shows have nothing to do with food production and they strongly prefer to partner with eco-related nonprofits.

  • Melissa Moschitto

    My company, The Anthropologists, passed out flyers and performed at farmer’s markets in Western MA two summers ago when we were performing our original play GIVE US BREAD at the Berkshire Fringe. I don’t really know if we gained a significant audience from doing so but it was very exciting when we performed in costume at the Great Barrington market. The scene took place in 1917 and was about food riots – suddenly the scene was even more riveting and vital, with actors directly addressing market-goers. Some onlookers just enjoyed the novelty of it, others really seemed to respond to the actors. Unfortunately, that market day came towards the very end of our run. I think if scheduling had worked differently and we were able to do that near the beginning of our performance run, we would have attracted more audience members. Totally worth it though! And we got some great photos from it too.


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