Having been performing for over 40 years, I have learned that the most important thing about doing a show is the appreciation shown by the audiences. Did they like the show? What was their take on the production? I also appreciate the constructive critiques they may offer. Then we have…the reviewer. The person who many people use as their go-to person for advice on should they or shouldn’t they see a show. The person who potentially has the power to make or break a show.
Community theatre can face hard times sometimes based on the reviews of a show. These theatres strive on getting local audiences to fill the seats. One or two bad shows can mean the difference between staying vital and continued financial stability. Many community theatres do not have a lot of financial resources available to them versus the professional theatres.
The thing I want to get across to you is that you should not let a reviewer form an opinion for your audiences. Let your audiences make their own choices. I have been to shows that the reviewers have panned and yet the audiences overwhelmingly enjoyed the same shows. Just because it was their cup of tea doesn’t mean someone else will share their opinion.
So how do we approach this to benefit the theatre? Well, one thought is how about having someone in the lobby and at the end of the show getting feedback from the audience. Maybe set up a video camera and ask the audience how they liked the show. Have someone with a survey form and talk to your audiences.
We do shows for our audiences, not just for a couple of reviewers, right? Use social media to promote the show with the feedback from the audiences, the people that pay for the tickets to our shows. And there is you review that matters, bottom line.
As always, any ideas or feedback or discussion is always welcome. Enjoy the show!