confused young man pondering all the choices

Top 5 Things to Consider Before Booking a Theater

Booking a theater will be one of the most important financial investments you’ll make in producing your one person show.  Here are 5 important things to consider so you know you’re getting the most out of your investment.

1.  Your Budget:

Decide how much you want to spend on your theater.  Depending where you live the range for a 50 seat theater can be from $150 – $350 per night.

For a one person show, I always recommend you get a 50 seat theater. That way, even if only 20 people show up for a performance, the theater won’t feel empty.  Also, a 50 seat theater is much easier to sell out!

2. Location Location Location:

Getting an audience to a one-person show can be challenging because after all, there’s only one person in the cast.  So make sure your theater is convenient to get to.  And not just for your friends and family.  If you’re inviting specific agents or casting directors, think about where they’ll be coming from and make it as easy as possible for them to say yes to your invitation.

Don’t do your one person show on 96th St. if the casting director you really want there has an office below Union Square.

Also make sure the theater is close to public transportation – short walking distance from a train station.  In LA, make sure there’s plenty of street parking or valet service.

If your show is easy to get to, people will be more inclined to see your show a second time!

3.  Your dates:

You meet with the theater owner and he tells you he has a weekend in April available that fits your budget.  Perfect!  You book it.

Then after you print your postcards you realize you’re performing on Easter weekend.  Bummer.

When choosing your dates for the show, check to see if a holiday or other big event is happening at the same time such as:

  • the Superbowl

  • Valentine’s Day

  • Easter

  • Memorial or Labor Day

  • Mother’s Day

  • Tony Awards or Academy Awards night,

  • a marathon

4.  The theater:

Booking a theater is like renting a home for your show.  You’ll be inviting people to come over and visit with you.  You’ll want them to feel welcomed, comfortable and at ease, right?

So if I’m choosing between two theaters that fit my budget, location and dates,  I’ll choose the theater based on which one has a better vibe.

Here are a few things I look for that make a theater feel good to me.

  • Is the theater clean?
  • Does it have a dressing room area & bathroom – ideally backstage or close to it?
  • Is the audio/visual equipment modern and easy to use.
  • Is there a reception area to serve wine & snacks or greet the audience after the show?

The theater owner & staff:

Once you book a theater, that theater owner becomes another partner in the production.  I want a partner who is easy to communicate with, helpful and loves theater & actors.

  1. Does the owner or staff return your call in a timely manner?

  2. Do they seem honest & helpful?

  3. Do they seem willing to offer you options and solutions to reasonably accommodate your production needs?

As opening night approaches and things don’t go according to plan, it’s nice to have a theater owner who is on my side and not just in it for the money.

Keep this list in mind when you go out to find a theater for your one person show, but don’t get fixated on finding the perfect theater.  Your story and the relationship you create with the audience is more important than the actual venue.  If you’re doing your job right, the audience will be transported into another world anyway!

Is there anything important you consider before you book a theater?  I want to know.  Share on FB!

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