Publicity Guide for Public Shows

Target Audience - Publicity Materials - Media Tips

This Publicity Guide is available in .pdf format and .doc

Thank you for choosing Act!vated Story Theatre for your special event. You can expect a confirmation form within a few weeks of scheduling your show. Please check our online schedule to be sure the time and date of your program correct. This page is written with both library reading programs and school family nights in mind. It will also be useful for theatres, museums and other venues wishing to draw a crowd.

Tool Box

Photos Download high quality pictures for your fliers and message boards, available on the Media Page

Press Releases are hosted in a folder at Google Docs.

PSA Links to pre-recorded Public Service Announcements and transcripts are published on our blog. Please feel free to download and share. Ask local schools to include it in their morning announcements the week leading up to the show.

A!S Facebook encouraging your audience to R.S.V.P. on our events page at Facebook helps get the word out.

Guest Stars

There is an opportunity for 8-12 "Guest-Stars", (outgoing children age 6 and up from your community) to perform small roles on stage in the show. Guest Stars attend a free half-hour pre-show performance workshop to learn their parts.

There are several ways you can use this unique opportunity to generate excitement and publicity:

  1. Hold a contest – i.e. the ones who read the most, get to be in the show.
  2. Call and invite the parents of children you think would benefit most from this experience.
  3. Hold a drawing to pick the lucky winners.
  4. Announce the opportunity in advance and we will cast the roles on a first come, first serve basis.

Target Audience

Act!vated Story Theatre have a universal appeal to all types of audiences. Marketing surveys have shown that we attract not just children, but the entire family. Preschoolers and infants enjoy the Sign Language and physical comedy, children enjoy the silliness and adults enjoy the witty dialogue.

  • Families the performers promote families working, learning, traveling and playing together.
  • Homeschoolers Contact local homeschoolers and ask them to spread the word to their groups. Let them know the Goza Family homeschools on the road. They may be interested in scheduling additional workshops or lectures for their groups. This is a great group to tap when looking for volunteers to "guest-star".
  • Scout Groups The shows offer opportunities for scouts working on badges in communication, theatre arts, folktales,and reading. These are great groups to tap when looking for volunteers to "guest-star".
  • Senior Groups Contact the activity/social directors of retirement centers, inviting them to bring a group from their facility.
  • Tourists Leave flyers or postcards at your local chamber of commerce, tourist information center, campgrounds, laundromats, and other locations tourists are likely to frequent.
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing and ASL Students The shows feature American Sign Language, encouraging hearing audiences to explore the language, in addition to making it more accessible (an interpreter still should be provided). Deaf and Hard of Hearing are also welcome to participate as "Guest Stars".
  • Theatre Students and Theatre Lovers of all ages. Contact local theatre classes and drama groups and invite them to participate as "Guest Stars".

More tips for bringing in the audience - advice from librarians for librarians.

Publicity Materials

Promotion is key!

Because getting the word out is key to getting people to walk through the door, it is vital to focus most of your efforts on promotional activities. Act!vated Story Theatre will prepare diligently for the audience and a top quality program is guaranteed, even if only one audience member is present, but proper promotion helps to ensure good attendance. To help generate excitement use promotional materials provided on this page.

The following techniques are based on years of experience in promoting our show and attracting audiences across the country. These techniques have yielded many packed libraries, school family nights, and bookstore and museum events.

Advertising broadly and well in advance will help ensure a standing room only crowd. Post flyers and posters where potential attendees frequent.

Posters & Flyers

Color posters and flyers are great attention-getters. Try placing them around town at stores, laundromats and other places that cater to families, students or tourists.

Publicity Guides

  • Fact sheet (.doc 23 kb) Print and leave handy for anyone answering the phone or patron questions
  • Planning timeline to guide your publicity efforts (.doc 28 kb)
  • Study Guide for Teachers with activities that can be adapted and used for pre-show excitement builders
  • Press Releases/PSA and additional Media Resources. Please feel free to adapt, if a press release is not yet available for your show.

Creative ways to promote your event

The front desk should have a copy of the flyer posted as well as our show-description sheet; this gives them some quick phrases to give the callers who ask what the show is about.

Hang posters prominently in the lobby and put flyers on tables and on restroom stall doors (where they will get plenty of attention).

If you publish a newsletter or brochure, a photo with a blurb about the show always helps.

Put Act!vated Story Theatre on the marquee with the event details to maximize draw.

Place a notice on marquees around town. Ask local banks and other organizations to donate space. Most local banks, shopping malls, schools, and other community organizations are willing to do the same as a service to the community if you ask.

Issue special invitations to Friends of the Library, board members, and those interested in the arts in your community, and "talk up" the event.

Have your staff "talk it up" to your clients/students/patrons, generating excitement in the community a few weeks before the event.

Morning intercom announcements at local schools. The PSA can be adapted for this and audio files are also available upon request.

Display Posters or Activity Sheets colored by storytime/Summer Reading Club participants

Ask for volunteer help from your library's friends group, teen volunteers, homeschoolers or local scout troops. Recruiting volunteers has a twofold purpose: You get additional help, and volunteers will have a vested interest in the event, develop a deeper appreciation and help generate a larger turnout.

Fun Pre-Show Tie-In Activities

Start setting the stage a month or so in advance by hosting a series of activities that tie in to the upcoming event.

In the preceding weeks, choose one of the stories from the web site to read aloud at your standard story time. Ask the participants to act out the Act!vated Stories you read to them.

Promoting on the Computer

Activity Sheets

Check the Study Guide page for Activity Sheets to tie in with the stories you have chosen. Print these out and share them with your patrons. (PDF format)

Display Audio CDs

Prominently display books related to the show – stories, folktales, theatre, ASL etc.

Put copies of "Out of the Bag", "Know Fooling" it in a prominent place, readily available for patrons to check out. If you don't already have the CD/ tape you can order copies in advance.

If you have a copy of Educational Travel on a Shoestring by Judith Waite Allee and Melissa Morgan make it accessible. The performers are quoted often in the book.

School Outreach for Shows at Libraries

"School" can mean summer camp and day care centers. Inform school principals and teachers, daycare centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, Girls Inc., and other organizations that serve the children of your community, giving them a special invitation to attend. Schools may be interested in providing their students with workshops, additional performances or storytelling sessions.

STUDY GUIDE: The Study Guide for Teachers covers topics such as performing arts and background information related to the stories are available online. And it's appropriate for all age groups.

FLYERS: The flyers given to schools should be imprinted with the words "Study Guide available.This way, teachers will know about the guide and can ask for it if the principal forgets.

CLASSROOM VISITS: Volunteer to spend a few minutes visiting classrooms. Show them the promo video and bring along a folktale to read to the students. Several folktales are available to print out from our web site, or use our suggested reading list from the Study Guide for Teachers. Let the students know when and where the show will be. Be sure to take along flyers or postcards so the information can be passed on to the parents.

  • Children (and adults) are excited to learn that Act!vated Story Theatre travel 365 days a year across the U.S. Use our tour schedule and stories from our web site to tell them about some of the places we've been.
  • Let them know that they will get to see funny stories acted out before a giant oversized book. Hold your hand above your head to show them how tall the book is. And stretch your arms wide to show them how wide it is. Our shows include physical comedy, acrobatics, and American Sign Language.
  • Be sure to leave our Web site address and contact information with the teacher.

Media Tips

Send media releases to the newspapers and radio and TV stations in the area (including regional public radio and television stations, since storytelling and performing arts patrons often are willing to travel a few miles to attend a good show). Press releases are available on Google Docs. Encourage newspapers and radio stations to interview the performers in advance. It's nice if the newspaper sends a photographer, or the TV station sends a news crew the day of the show but it won't help bring in the crowds like advance publicity.

Phone Interviews

Local media representative may call the performers in advance for a phone interview, call our toll-free pager/voice mail 1(800) 429-6576 or cell phone (818) 720-3061 and leave the name, telephone # and possible appointment times so the performers can call in from the road.

Newspapers

Act!vated Story Theatre generate publicity because of the novelty and family appeal. Before sending materials to a publication, call to find out who will cover it and be sure to speak to that person. It is usually a feature writer who covers Arts & Entertainment; there may also be a section for Lifestyles, Education, Family or Special Events. Let them know what materials are available, ask if they would be interested in doing a phone interview with the performers, and invite them to the show. Leave your number so they can call if they have questions or need a quick quote. If they say they can only do an event listing, find out who can actually write a feature story. If they are too busy to do one from scratch, our press releases are designed to be printed as an article. Let reporters know about the Act!vated Story Theatre media page.

PHOTOS: Color photos are available with instructions for quick and easy download here and on the media page of the web site.

FOLLOW-UP: After the materials have been sent, it is essential to make follow-up calls to be sure they have reached the right person. Ask the reporter when they are planning to run the story and remind them about the dates. Often there is an Entertainment or Lifestyle section once a week; find out when and be sure it runs in time (if the section or listing comes out on Sunday and the show is on Friday, it should run the week before). The more notice you have given them, the better the chance of high-profile coverage. It is especially important to remind the reporters again as the date approaches.

Radio

PSA: Start by calling the appropriate stations and ask who is in charge of reading PSA's (Public Service Announcements). Fax or send the PSA to this person's attention. Ask if there is also a calendar listing of events and fax or send the PSA to this person as well.

A!S are happy to record an audio PSA suited to the event, upon request.

ADDITIONAL AUDIO:Short stories by the Act!vated Story Theatre are available for stations which feature children's programming upon request.

Television

LIVE APPEARANCES: An interview with the cast can and should be arranged with news or talk shows covering the region. The performers are prepared to do a short scene live in the studio.

PSA: If a live appearance cannot be arranged in advance. Send a PSA to the local stations and let them know that video and photos are available.

"Thank you for bringing your talent and business to our library. Our country needs more of this type of entertainment and I applaud you." ~Barbara Nelson, Wellesley, MA