The ABC Guide to Producing a Burlesque Show: Part 3

Welcome back to the third part of our mini-series on producing your own show. We hope you’ve been finding the series helpful so far. We’ve covered a number of useful points in Part 1 and Part 2 including casting, crew, target audience and more, so this week we’ve got a few more few key things you’ll need to consider and plan for when organising your event.

How are you going to advertise your show?
If you want bums on seats, you’ll need to drum up an audience. Social media has opened up mass-marketing to targeted audiences in a huge way over the last few years, so you should definitely take advantage of this. You can set up an official page and / or event on Facebook for example and invite people from there. However, the danger in relying solely upon the marketing reach of social media is twofold:

1. Facebook’s limiting of post reach over the last couple of years, in an attempt to force people into shelling out cash in order to reach their desired audience can make it tricky, especially if you’re on a tight budget. You may have 1000 likes on your page but find your post only goes out to 20 people. If you can’t afford paid / sponsored posts, get your friends and cast on board and ask them to share the event to widen its reach.

2. People get spammed with hundreds of event invites on Facebook every week; there’s a good chance a large percentage of your invites will be overlooked if you send out mass-invites. Try inviting people personally and share your event to relevant groups who would have a potential interest in going to your show.

Illicit Thrill Flyers 2015
Flyers for The Illicit Thrill @EdFringe 2015. Make your event flyers stand out from the crowd. Design something that is catchy and will draw people in.

Long before the days of social media, there existed traditional advertising routes. Posters in the venue and in local shops, pubs and other businesses shouldn’t be forsaken in favour of only online advertising. Flyering is also important and shouldn’t be overlooked. The latter especially, gives you the chance to get out there and connect with your potential audience in person. Engage with them and sell your show; this is your chance to sell your show and tell them exactly why they should come!

How much are you going to charge for tickets?
Deciding on the cost for entry to your show will depend on a number of factors. Important points to consider are:
1. How much do similar shows in the area charge for entry?
2. What ‘level’ of show are you hosting? Grand theatre shows might be able to charge £15-£40 a ticket, but nobody’s going to pay that for an hour long show with a cast of debut performers in a tiny local venue. Match your entry fee to the scale and talent of your show.
3. Make sure you budget so that ticket sales can cover most, if not all, of your costs. You won’t be able to afford to fly an international headliner in at a cost of £400-£500 a night if you’re doing a tiny one-off show for 50 people at a cost of £5 a head.
4. Ask yourself: Is your audience getting value for money?

We’ll wrap up there for this week; join us again next week for the final installment, where we’ll be looking at insurance, music fees and a last-minute checklist to make sure you’re fully prepared.