How to generate an early buzz

30 some readers formed a huge circle

Stratford Town Hall reading of Macbeth, February 2012

How to generate early buzz…

ACT (a community theatre) often offers its members and the general public a venue for reading a play.  We’ve held them in the back room of a pub, and around a table in the local volunteer centre, among other places.  The people who attend take turns playing a role, and the moderator switches the readers and roles every so often to keep it interesting for everyone.

Early on, we decided to stage an open reading of Macbeth – seven (7) months before the show and six (6) weeks before auditions were planned. The Town of Stratford allowed us to use its largest meeting room, and we advertised the reading in social media and listed it in the local arts and entertainment newspaper, The Buzz www.buzzon.com/

About 35 people attended, many of whom would later audition – even though the reading was not an audition. Before the reading started, we took memberships in ACT (not a requirement of attending), collected names and emails, and handed out copies of the revised script.   We set the room up into a huge circle of tables and chairs. To start the evening, the producer explained the timing and venue of the upcoming production (see the ABOUT page of this blog), the director introduced the changes he had made to the play to suit the outdoor venue, and two professors from the University of Prince Edward Island spoke about Macbeth and the reading of Shakespeare’s texts.

The reading allowed the director to gauge how long it would take to present the revised text, and it allowed the production team to get contact information, not just for auditions but for other volunteer tasks.

A great time was had by all, and folks willingly pitched in to reset the room as we had found it.

Director, Terry Pratt, explains changes to the script and characters

Listening to the Director as he explains changes to the script

Selected photos from the reading by Deborah Mutch are viewable on ACT’s facebook page: ACT (a community theatre)

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