If you’ve been searching for modern ways to market your theater online, or if you read our last newsletter, you’re well aware that the new face of live theater is online. It’s all well and good for us to tell you that you can connect with patrons new and old through blogging, podcasts, and social networking, but you want to know how it’s done! Here are six theaters that are doing it right.

The Magic Theatre in San Francisco generates buzz about upcoming productions and keeps patrons involved in the theater’s day to day workings with their own blog. Plenty of photographs and upbeat writing inform readers about behind-the-scenes work. Follow this blog and learn how they create props and special effects, what different theater employees actually do all day, and everything you need to know about upcoming productions! The Magic Theater stays current with their own Facebook page (570 fans as of this writing) and other social networking pages, as well as a YouTube channel, where you can view a trailer for an upcoming performance, an interview with the playwright, and a behind-the-scenes video.

  • Blog: www.magictheatre.org/about/blog
  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Magic-Theatre/60729877957
  • Youtube: www.youtube.com/magict

You can do more than buy tickets and check out a calendar of upcoming performances on Court Theatre at University of Chicago’s website. Their page also links to their blog, with news about their company and theater in general, and to a page of podcasts. So far, they have links to two interviews with different directors, great content for theater aficionados.

  • Website: www.courttheatre.org/
  • Podcast: www.courttheatre.org/podcast/
  • Blog: www.courttheatre.org/blog/

The wildly irreverent Firesign Theatre has been around since the 1960s. Originally broadcasting live on the radio, the troupe has become a counter-culture classic and their work remains vital and relevant today. Not only can you download lots of old routines, saved as podcast files, from their website, the troupe is using the Internet to reach out in the other direction. In preparation for an upcoming retrospective, they are asking fans with high quality audio and video clips of their work to submit these clips back to the Firesign Theatre website!

  • Website: www.firesigntheatre.com/funway.html
  • Podcasts: http://www.firesigntheatre.com/podcasting/indexx.html

Orpheum Theatre in LA really has created a vibrant online community through the use of social networking. Their FaceBook page includes glowing feedback from patrons, links to reviews of their shows, information about prize draws to win tickets to upcoming performances, and even reminders that fans are invited to come take a backstage tour of the theater when there is no scheduled performance. This theater also keeps in touch through the use of a Twitter Feed.

  • Website: www.laorpheum.com
  • FaceBook: www.facebook.com/pages/Los-Angeles/THE-ORPHEUM-THEATER/198571464136

The Community Theatre at Mayo Center for the Performing Arts really knows how to take advantage of online traffic. Their website links to the box office, a donations page, a calendar, their performing arts school, other programs, and even provides weather updates, so theater-goers can dress and travel accordingly! In addition, they maintain a Blogger blog with reports on great performances, news about upcoming shows, and personal musings from the theater correspondent. You can also follow this theater on FaceBook and Twitter.

  • Website: www.mayoarts.org
  • Blog: www.themayocenter.blogspot.com
  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/The-Community-Theatre/96048890918

The Irish Reparatory Theatre is dedicated to the production of plays by Irish and Irish-American playwrights.  This theatre has been very successful in their use of Facebook, with almost 1000 fans, links to news, reviews, videos, and even a call for donations to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Their website also offers patrons the option of signing up for email newsletters delivered right to their inbox. They just make it easy for fans to learn more.

  • Website: www.irishrep.org/
  • Facebook: www.www.facebook.com/pages/The-Irish-Reparatory-Theatre/41032870344

So don’t fear the Internet, social networking, podcasts, or blogs! Keep your theater up-to-date with modern marketing techniques online.