Using Video to Promote your Show

businessyRebecca is a contributing columnist and founder of Rebecca Coleman Marketing and Media Relations, a Vancouver PR company. She blogs at and twitters under @rebeccacoleman.

Over the last few months, I’ve been doing guest posts on the topic of visuals to accompany your publicity campaign. We talked about the two photo shoots you need for your show, the publicity shot, and the production photo.

Today, I want to talk about moving pictures. While it’s true that theatre does not translate well on video, many companies are taking advantage of new, and more accessable technology to help get the word out about their shows.

If you haven’t taken advantage of Simon’s video listing services yet, you should. It’s free, easy, and fast. He will meet with you, and then he shoots you, speaking directly to camera, about why the  audience should come see your show. Within the day, it’s up on The Next Stage Video Listings page, and available to you through YouTube. You can embed it to your Facebook event page. This kind of video works because people are very passionate about their shows, and your passion while speaking about it can be very contagious.

If you want to try to get your play featured on the evening news, you need b-roll. B-roll is, essentially, footage of your show that you supply to TV news stations, in hopes that they will do a story on it. Because the quality of your footage needs to be high, this is not something you can just do yourself, unless you are a professional cameraman or director. You need to hire a professional.

The key to B-roll is to keep it short–I recommend under 3 minutes. Chances are, if you are lucky enough to actually get your footage on the air, only about 10-30 seconds will air. You may want to supplement your footage with short interview segments by directors or stars.

Here are some examples of how you can use video to promote your show:

Bard on the Beach
Stuff 2 Do
The Ash Girl
(this is a show I worked on last year–we shot a couple of video trailers for it)
If you are doing a lot of videos online, you can set up your own ‘channel’. Check out this example from the National Arts Centre.


  1. Great Post! I have a question. I would like to start using video in my promo campaigns for my theatre, but I am worried about filimg parts of our shows and showing them due to royalty agreements. I read the agreements as we are unable to film and show the action (i.e. in a “commertial” format) unless we pay royalties. Do you know of a way around that?

  2. I think there is some kind of a time limit–like if it is under a certain amount of seconds, it’s okay.
    Also, in terms of the actors, even under union rules, anything you are doing to promote the play is fair game.
    I’d maybe send an email to whoever holds the royalties–it seems very backwards and old school to think that you can’t film it and put short clips on the web. I get that you should pay royalties if you filmed it and tried to sell the DVDs, but you aren’t–you are simply promoting the show. Go at it from that angle, and see what happens!
    Then, there’s always the “just do it and apologize later if you caught” option.
    good luck!

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