The traditional college showcase is more ephemeral than a night at the theatre. You put all of your eggs into one basket, hoping the cities’ best agents, managers and creatives attend.
No offense, but it’s a little Waiting for Guffman.
I’d recommend you help your college theatre department go more digital (with their showcases and beyond). Here are some suggestions…
1. Create high-quality video content for each student.
Recorded videos allow an audience to attend whatever, whenever and how often they want. Streaming video allows an audience to watch wherever they want. Put them together and I think you have the new showcase—a live streamed event that is also recorded and distributed.
It saves time, money and energy to “pre-screen” talent online and then fast-track them to meetings or appointments. For non-performers, this would mean a digital portfolio.
2. Create a showcase (or department) website to feature each students’ content.
Give visitors the ability to “learn more” about each student. How? Well…
3. Create individual profiles, pages or websites for each student.
Students, alumni and even faculty need to control their brand, image and online presence. In simple terms... we all need to control what shows up on Google!
Why not help your creative colleagues with the resources, collaboration and mentorship of the university setting? Use "brand development” as the new recruitment tool.
In addition to being stunning quadruple threats (half-joking here), tomorrow's talent needs an impressive online presence. It’s difficult to get an agent, appointment or job without it. Photos, videos, websites and social media allow the individual to present (or “audition”) their best self 24/7/365.
4. Create buzz on social media.
Artists are the best content creators. We’ve seen this with various #SIP’s and cast videos. Harness the creativity, innovation and intelligence of theatre students. Create a #CollegeNameMT hashtag, showcase-specific tag and even show-specific tags so everyone can contribute to the conversation—including your audience!
5. Consider live-streaming and recording the showcase.
For a great example, check out Penn State’s Music Theatre Spotlight. Students perform a televised event in front of a live audience (we’ve learned that’s important from Grease LIVE), but busy industry professionals can access the individual clips at their convenience—skipping or repeating as necessary.
While there are new licensing and production costs, if you host the showcase at home, you can utilize the money you spend traveling, renting space and catering events. You can also stack the house with a supportive audience to help the students present an even better performance!
Professional recordings of your showcase can garner attention for the performers (and your program) for many years to come. The showcase moves beyond an expensive one-night investment to something that can serve students for the rest of their lives.
Beyond the showcase, consider digital marketing or “brand development” as a recruitment tool. Equip your students with world class marketing materials and you’ll attract the world's talent and attention for your cutting-edge program.
What program is doing a cool showcase? Comment below!
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.