Playwright and composer – creator of the musical Group

Playing Catch up

Too obvious?

We theatre creators need to try harder.

There was a time when theatre was king. Film, Television and now the Internet has passed us by and we are in a constant fight to catch up. We are struggling and we need to try harder.

Can going to the theatre still be a powerful and life-changing experience? Yes. But the question is not the power of the theatre but the motivation of the viewer. Everyone knows that seeing a live show can be infinitely more moving then watching something on TV. Go see a hockey game live and tell me how you feel about this. The problem is, it is EASIER to sit on your couch and stay inside.

So, we theatre directors, creators and performers need to make going to the theatre as easy as possible so that our audience will not have to WORK to see us.

I think many of us are failing.

This all came about when I began conducting a cursory search on theatre companies that hold playwriting competitions. I recently finished a one act play and a full-length mystery drama that I want to enter in a few contests. I actively am interested in paying companies my own hard-earned money to read my scripts. What did I find?

Most of what comes up in my searching is about contests of the past. There was almost nothing relevant that came up right away. Is this a failure of companies to update their sites? Yes. But it is an even greater failure of companies with current contests to make their sites relevant and accessible. Again, we need to catch up to the other forms of entertainment and we don’t even know how to make our websites come up on search engines.

I’m not coming from a place of hate. I’m writing this with love. If we truly want to catch up and help audiences see our work we need to try harder. It is not difficult to update a website or make a site popup on search engines. It’s just not.

Trust me.

The last computer class I took involved dial-up. I’m serious. Yet, in about ten minutes I can create a website, that’s free, that will come up in a search. To make sure it keeps coming up all I have to do is update it with keywords every week… hell, every month. It’s not that hard.

If you have a site with the wrong information or outdated material, you are hurting yourself and making your potential audience work too hard. Catch up to the times and get to work. Update your site, keep updating it and help me and your audience give you money!

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2 responses

  1. Technology and theatre makers don’t seem to communicate often enough (http://www.gedaly.com/blog/2011/02/getting-theatre-out-of-the-stone-age/). Few realize the importance of constantly being current. Many artists just want to have a web presence and be done with it so they can focus on their art. And when many organizations have a 1 person marketing/tech/communications department, keywords aren’t a priority.

    On another note… you said “I actively am interested in paying companies my own hard-earned money to read my scripts.”

    Don’t pay money to have theatres read your scripts. If they find a good piece to put up, they win and they’ll make money and the time they invested in finding a good script will have been worth it. They shouldn’t try to make a profit off of playwrights.

    February 27, 2011 at 3:59 am

    • I wouldn’t pay to have them just read it, but many of the contests have a small registration fee that seems reasonable I guess. Someday I won’t care about these things and companies will seek me out but until then I want some titles, rewards and contest winning buzz words 🙂

      February 27, 2011 at 6:36 am

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