Have you ever attended a theatre festival?
If not, remember the last time you went to theatre.
What a pleasurable memory, right?
Now imagine going to theatre 3-6 days in a row, 1, 2 or even 3 times per day.
Exciting? Exhausting? Maybe a little bit of both?
And now imagine going to theatre few times per day for 6 days straight and the rest of time working there to make sure the festival goes as smoothly as possible.
Well, I can tell you what is it like.
It is exciting for sure. But you might need to sleep for a week straight after.
The Message is important…
Theatre festivals date back to Ancient Greece as one of the classic art forms and also expression of gratitude for the gods. Nowadays they are (usually) not religious but trying to acknowledge some artists, bring to light some problems society is facing, or like the one in Slovakia we talked about last week, draw attention to today’s forgotten values and notions that are fundamental.
…and the Programme is crucial
Working in a theatre festival, whether it is local or international, you have to keep in mind what is the message being transmitted with the event. If it is talking about nowadays issues in society, most likely there should also be some accompanying events explaining the plays and making sense of them to less theatre-educated audience, perhaps a public debate, exhibition or special program for children.
You have to prepare the programme in a way it suits everyone’s needs as it is as well theatre promoting event that can become the biggest cultural event in your city or even the country. You have to make sure it entertains all kinds of audiences: theatre critics, journalists (you want good feedback, right?), other performers, students, regular people, families, etc.
Taking care of the program might take most of your organizing team time but it is crucial to have it as perfect as possible. You might want to learn to play some razz poker but keep that strictly for breaks: preparation for the festival should be your top priority. Fun and gambling follows later.
VIP guests are necessary…
No surprise that people follow the example of someone they admire. Therefore, it is always a good idea to invite some specials guests, for example, politicians, musicians, famous people in different fields. Since those are usually pretty busy, give them VIP access, free tickets and maybe free accommodation. It will be giving you more chances of their attendance. And when they RSVP with ‘I’ll be there’, you can put their name in the press release and except some positive reactions from the public.
…but the Audience is imperative
Have your VIP list? Great. Last but not least, don’t forget the regular audience. They are the ones attending your festival and paying for it. They will be pressing ‘Going’ button on Facebook events. They will be leaving comments and social media posts. Make sure they feel as great as VIP. Make sure they will come back again next year.
And finally, once again, good luck! Organizing a theatre festival will be lots of work but lots of fun also guaranteed.