Whether you’re a big commercial theatre company, regional theater, community theater, conservatory, or high school, picking a season should never be random and thoughtless. The shows an organization produce are integral to how it's perceived by potential theater-goers. When choosing a season, it’s important to keep the actors and director in mind, as well as the type of theater-goers you’re trying to attract.
In my years of acting, I have found that if a director is passionate about the show they’re working on, it’ll be much better than assigning a show randomly to a random director. If a director thinks and cares about the show she is pitching, it’ll turn out better in the end. When an organization is choosing a season, they should choose the directors and shows that show the most thought and passion. Big or small budget, the director with the best ideas will put on the best show.
Of course, with a director comes actors. An organization should always keep its actors in mind when choosing a season. For example, if the organization assumes that it will have forty women and ten men audition for their shows, maybe they’ll want to choose more female-dominant productions. In addition to this, an organization must also keep their demographics in mind. If it is known that majority white people audition for an organization, the organization may want to refrain from performing The King and I or Hairspray . These seem like simple rules to follow, but many organizations will forget the importance of casting appropriate actors in appropriate roles. If an organization chooses a show that does not have the right representation of actors, they can get branded as racially insensitive or misogynistic, or maybe just unprofessional.
It’s a given that a theatrical organization won’t survive without theater-goers, so it’s the organization’s job to determine what kind of theatre-goers they want to target most. If the organization is geared towards children, none of the shows in the season should be raunchy or difficult for young audiences to understand. That same notion goes for older audiences. If an organization wants to attract older theater-goers, perhaps they shouldn’t perform over-the-top, experimental pieces. There are niches in theatre, so an organization must decide who they want to reach. They can reach specific audiences by the shows they choose to produce.
A theater company’s season makes it stand out, so a great deal of thought must go into the shows it picks. An organization that puts its target audience’s best interest first will be successful. A good season is truly about reaching the theater-goers you want to reach.