How Well Does Social Media Serve Community Theatre – A Report Card

Community Theatre Social Network Requirements
Since we work extensively with Community Theatres, we have been examining the degree to which current social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest serve the needs of Community Theatres.

This post examines who the different parties are that are involved in community theatre, what interactions need to occur among those parties and how well current social network platforms serve the needs.
Parties Interacting in Community Theatre
We look at three primary groups involved in community theatre: performers, producers, and ticket buyers. Performers, of course, are the people on stage or in the orchestra delivering the show. Producers are the Community Theatres themselves – the people involved in putting on the show and responsible for selling tickets. Ticket buyers are the paying audience members.

We take a look at how these parties interact with each other and we assess the degree to which traditional social network platforms can assist in these interactions.
Performers interacting with Performers. Score for Social Networks: A-
Performers like to share information about upcoming audition opportunities with each other, and are eager to share the good news of landing roles. They also like to share ideas and compare notes with each other. Facebook and twitter are natural platforms to do this on and serve those needs well. They also like to share pictures of themselves performing and of the excitement of the events. Facebook and Pinterest are great social platforms here.
Performers interacting with Producers. Score for Social Networks: C
Producers wish to share audition opportunities with performers. Existing social networks do not handle this well. It would be nice if producers could create an audition opportunity and let performers apply for the opportunity. Rather, audition opportunities are posted on the theatre’s website. The audition pages can be shared on Facebook and Twitter. However, it seems there is an opportunity here for a LinkedIn equivalent for performers and producers were they can simply submit their profile to apply for audition opportunities.

Once cast, performer and producer interactions include rehearsal schedule updates and general notes. Again, these types of updates are not naturally done on existing social networks.

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Performers interacting with Ticket Buyers. Score for Social Networks: B
Performers like to announce the shows they are in as a way to increase awareness and drive ticket sales. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus are all great platforms to do that with. However, the performer must type in the event into twitter or Facebook. It would be nice if the performer or producer could click a button within the Community Theatres box office system and have the event automatically posted. Some Community Theatre box office systems do in fact allow this.
Producers interacting with Ticket Buyers. Score for Social Networks: C
The main interaction here of course is announcement of events and instructions on how to buy tickets from the producers to the ticket buyers. Then, ticket buyers purchasing the tickets, sending the money, and receiving the tickets. Online box office systems and ticketing systems provide most of this functionality, not social networks. However, as stated above, some box office systems allow theatres to announce events, with one click on Facebook and Twitter.

Producers also like to let the general public know about how great the show is once it starts. Leveraging the traditional social media make sense. This is also a great opportunity for Pinterest.  Producers can post exciting pictures about the show.
Producers Interacting with Producers. Score for Social Networks: C+
Community Theatres traditionally don’t see themselves as competing with other Community Theatres as much as, say, private businesses do. Therefore, they like to share best practices, or give references for performers or even share sets with each other. This is not an area currently well served by the traditional social network platforms. These types of interactions are more one-to-one, whereas most social networks connect many to many.
Ticket Buyers Interacting with Ticket Buyers. Score for Social Networks: A
Ticket buyers of interact with each other to a great extent. They arrange groups to go see shows and they plan, which events they should go to together. They also like to share the fact that they purchased tickets to encourage their friends to also go to the events. Facebook and twitter serve this interaction requirement well.

We’d love to get your thoughts. How well do you believe existing social network platforms serve your needs?

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