How To Generate Publicity For A School Play

If you have been given the task of generating publicity for your child's school play, here are some ideas that may help.

Parents enjoy watching their children enact fun or meaningful roles on the stage for a school play. But what about the local community? Why not tap into this potential audience and bring them to school for a drama? Chances are they will like it so well that they may consider donating time, resources, or even money to future projects.

Parents who volunteer to work on the public relations aspect of a school play often have little advertising experience from real life. Here is a crash course of things to do that may help to generate a wider range of interest in the drama:

1. Post it on the school's Web site. If there is no link to the annual school play, make one. Or add the drama to other events on the upcoming schedule. Though the public at large may not typically search for the school's Web site, once they know such information is there, they may make it a habit to check back periodically.

2. Send out press releases. If you don't know how to write one, do a Web search for sites that offer simple explanations and free models. A few weeks before the scheduled performance, send your press release to several local newspapers, radio stations, and even the television station(s). Follow up with a telephone call to be sure it was received and to answer any questions about the performance. While not every media outlet will run a piece on your play, chances are some of them might. You never know until you try.

3. Write an article for community newspapers. Compose several paragraphs that address the usual "reporter questions" like who, what, where, when, why, and how. If possible, include a photo of the actors in rehearsal and a few facts about the play and its author as well as the school's drama director or producer. Include some of the leading actors' names to pique readers' interest in the human element. Either call the newspapers ahead to ask if they are interested in your article or mail it (by post or email) and telephone afterward to answer questions or make sure they received it. Many small newspapers appreciate information of this type, which will generate free publicity for the school.

4. Distribute posters and fliers. Have the kids in the play ask local businesses if they can place posters in their office windows or on the front door of the company. The students also can inquire about leaving a stack of fliers in the dentist's waiting room or the convenience store's counter. Some businesses are not allowed to promote events of this type, but others will do all they can to show community support.

5. Send fliers home with the kids. Include a note asking parents to invite neighbors, community employees at the post office or bank, and relatives. A typical word of mouth relay may reach 20 or more other people if the original person really tries to promote an idea.

6. Make telephone calls. Volunteer parents may wish to call local vendors or offices to let staff know of the upcoming play. It helps to explain how the community can help the school by attending:

"Your $3 admission price will help to buy new band uniforms."

"The kids will be thrilled to perform for people other than their parents."

"Teachers and students will be touched to see the community really cares about them."

"Coffee and cookies will be served afterwards by the home economics students."

Once community members have attended a play, chances are they will return, even those who are retired or move out of the neighborhood. People enjoy attending a play where they know someone on the floorboards, where the cost is affordable, or where they can expect an amiable environment.

So get started early by mobilizing parents to start putting the word out about this year's play!

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