Finding an unexpected audience for “Lessons from Moonshine”
Remember that idea I found for finding unexpected audiences for your plays? It was on Paul Mullin’s Web site, and I posted about it here.
So I’ve been thinking, what people or businesses, or both, would like a play about nuns who run a still during Prohibition?
What about distilleries?
A friend of mine, Kate Gavigan of Freehold Theatre, suggested microbreweries. So that got me thinking, a lot of distilleries have started up in Washington State in the past two years. The Legislature changed the laws in 2009, to allow small distilleries to open tasting rooms and sell liquor from them.
First thing I thought of was to produce the play myself, and connect with local distilleries, see if they’d like to invite their customers to particular performances.
Then I ran this idea by my friend and colleague Mari Geasair, who is brilliant at helping theater artists get loyal audiences for their work. She suggested something simpler. (You can find out more about Mari and her work at http://www.theatremarketing.org/ and http://artsmarketingresults.com/.)
Here’s what Mari suggested. Find three or four distilleries, within easy driving distance of Seattle (which is where I live), and have each of them host a production of the play on a Friday and Saturday. I could charge a flat fee or split the box office with the distillery, and they would get all proceeds from bar sales.
I’d hire a director, who would cast the show, and we’d rehearse like any other production, and have four weekends of two shows a weekend. I’d pay the actors something for their gas expenses.
This way, I wouldn’t have to pay for a performance space, and props and costumes would be minimal.
What on earth makes me think this would work?
A winery in Seattle, the E. B. Foote Winery, has hosted the theater company Breeders Theater for many years. Apparently, the winery has done very well by it. So maybe this could work for distilleries, too.
Plus which, these distilleries are new. They must want to get customers and increase their sales.
How to get distilleries to host my play?
Now I have to think about it from the distilleries’ point of view. How would they benefit if they hosted a production, or even a reading, of my play?
Distilleries need customers. They need people to buy their liquor. They need people to spread the word so other people buy their liquor, too.
My job is to think of how a production of my play at their facility would bring customers in to sample and buy their liquors. And then communicate that clearly to distilleries.
- Find out how many distilleries there are within a reasonable driving distance of Seattle. Define “reasonable!”
- Find out more about distilleries, what they need.
What do you think?
Do you think this could work?
Could you do something similar and find an unexpected audience for one of your plays?