When it comes to audiences at theatre festivals, there are two types of people. The first type comes along planning to maybe see one specific show, and to possibly catch some others if they have the time; the other type plans with military precision, operating to a timetable allowing them to see as many shows as they can in the shortest possible time.
I’m one of the latter. And I’m here to tell you how you can be, too – presenting my TOP TEN FESTIVAL PLANNING TIPS.
1) GET YOUR PROGRAMME
If you’re going to see lots of shows, it helps to know what’s actually happening. You can browse the website to see all our shows, can download our programme to print off here, or can pick a copy up from reputable locations across Plymouth and the local area. We could even post you a copy if you pay for the stamp!
2) CHOOSE YOUR MUST-SEE SHOWS
You’re probably going to have a few shows you know you definitely have to see. It’s vitally important you make a note of the days and times of performances now – most shows have two performances, and the chances are there might be clashes, so this is vital.
3) CHECK THE MAP
If you want to see a show at 4pm on one side of the city, and another at 5pm on the other side, then you’re going to need to check if you can make it in time. Have a look at this handy Google Map, or the one we’ve provided on the back of the brochure, and check how long it takes to get from A to B. Most venues are pretty close together, but if we can save you a fruitless dash across town you’ll thank us.
4) MAKE YOUR TIMETABLE
I am a fan of colour-coded spreadsheets (but frankly, who isn’t?) – and when it comes to planning festivals, I’ve found them to be a lifesaver. Any type of visual representation of your schedule is a good thing, as it’ll help you to see any clashes and gaps in your plans – it may mean you do a bit of juggling to get things to fit together, but it’s better to plan ahead than to realise when it’s too late…
6) FILL IN THE GAPS (OR DON’T)
By now you probably have your schedule, and will no doubt have a few gaps between shows; why not fill them by trying something you hadn’t thought about? Or just leave some space and decide on the day to see something extra – one of the most joyous things that can happen at a festival is the discovery of a new company or show which you’d never heard of, and which gets you excited by its brilliance. If you’re lucky, you might see the next big thing – I remember seeing a small show in Edinburgh a few years ago by Mischief Theatre, who have since had massive success with The Play That Goes Wrong in the West End (and which came to Theatre Royal Plymouth just recently).
7) BOOK TICKETS IN ADVANCE
If you’re going to see lots of shows, then you definitely want to be booking in advance. For one thing, you don’t want to get stuck in a massive queue at the Box Office for a show you want to see, only to find out it’s sold out. Also, book in advance and you can take advantage of our multi-buy offers! Really, there’s no reason not to book your tickets RIGHT NOW…
8) TELL YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Theatre’s much better when you get to enjoy it with someone. Why not arrange a trip with someone to enjoy it together? You can then have a chat about shows afterwards, visit some of the local sites and eateries as recommended by Beth and figure out what to see next. And remember – for those of you with young family members, we have some family-friendly shows throughout the week for them (and your inner child) to enjoy.
9) GET SOME REST
If you’re going to see loads of shows during the festival week, then you may want to rest now. It’s going to be hectic during the May half term…
10) ENJOY YOURSELF
This is the first year we’re presenting the festival, and we’re massively excited about just how many brilliant shows and companies we’re bringing to Plymouth. Everyone involved in the festival is really keen for you to enjoy the week, and we’ll all be around and happy to chat – so make the most of the opportunity and please enjoy yourselves.
Anyway, I’m off to make a start on my colour-coded spreadsheet…