The COVID-19 epidemic is affecting new industries each day. The events and entertainment industry was one of the first to suffer. Long before airlines, restaurants and cafes were shut-down, most countries banned public gatherings of high numbers. The theatre industry professionals were among the firsts to adapt and to start online-streaming their shows and reinvent their activity.
We’ve gathered below a short list of the most impactful things you can do now using your mobile app & website, as a theatre manager or promoter. Putting all or at least a few of these ideas into practice will ensure that the time you spend during lockdown (or the restriction period that comes after that) is not wasted. You can see these tips put to action by one of our platform clients, Gong Theatre, a very good example of a theatre engaging with its audience through mobile app and online presence.
Express yourself in a new environment
We’ve seen theatres online-streaming their shows and we are pretty sure you’ve already started doing that yourself. But this feels more like a pale and momentarily substitute of the actual physical shows. And it sure is not a long term strategy. Especially when you consider the wild competition for our attention, in our social media feeds. Every night since this began we have been asked to choose from watching countless theatre, musical, and all other kinds of art performances (which we are glad to do :)).
Gong Theatre used the first few weeks of lockdown to start and produce a podcast for kids, called “Whispered Stories”. The actors are reading and interpreting bedtime stories which are coming in very handy for parents during these times. Creating a podcast is technically quite easy for a theatre. It doesn’t require a lot of equipment and it enables the staff to keep the social distance. At the same time, distribution is very easy, through the mobile app, using our platforms’ audio module. The most important thing is that this is a long-term project, one you can continue after the lockdown is over.
Keep your audience close and engaged
Things are happening so fast, and news is more abundant than ever. A lot of the things that are happening in your country and around the world are having a direct impact on your day-to-day activities. Make sure you communicate about all these things with your audience in a targeted manner, making sure that they get your messages. You can do this by turning these news to pieces of content for your mobile app, and then send push notifications to your users.
Whether you are closing, opening, volunteering, launching something new, having a hard time, having a great time, whatever you feel is relevant for your audience, send a push notification about it. This is the most powerful communication tool any mobile app can deliver.
Highlight your every achievement, big or small
Update your apps’ homepage so that it includes only things that are relevant for our current situation. You shouldn’t emphasise what is lost – canceled or postponed shows or projects – only focus on current and future initiatives!
These days, the Gong Theatre app highlights its children podcast, as well as their weekly puppet crafting online workshops. Directly from their homepage, they redirect the user to other sections of the app or to their facebook page.
Connect audiences to their favourite stars
You’ve probably already posted a lot about your team on your website. But this is a unique time. You’ve got time on your hands to actually highlight what is unique about each team-member. Write a heartfelt biography about each of them. Tell their stories, highlight their achievements, and really take the time to help your audience get to know the people “behind the masks”.
The usual “Team” section on a theatres’ website looks a bit like an old, dusted CV. The “article” type page on the Eventya platform makes it easy for you to insert photos, videos and any type of graphics into these sections, so that they will look and feel more dynamic. This type of content may not be of immediate use for you, but it will sure prove useful in the future. And your colleagues will surely appreciate the effort.
To make the most of every idea we’ve highlighted above, make sure you update and refresh all your social-media channels. Not only should you be more active than ever during this period. You could also use the extra time to go through your About and Settings sections on all your pages. Make sure information is up to date, descriptions are relevant, contact information is accurate and graphics look fresh and are well adjusted for both web and mobile.
This surely is a challenging time, and the future is extremely hard to anticipate. But everything we do now to comfort and entertain our audiences will be rewarded after everything will have passed. Make sure all your communication channels are fuelled up and running at full speed so that they enable you to build a lively and engaged theatre audience. You will feel the results when you start selling tickets again.
Take care of yourself and your colleagues!