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Friday, January 28, 2011

The Friday Five, January 28, 2011

Five Things You Should Be Aware of When Scheduling Your Premiere
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

I have often wondered: why can't theatre companies organize their openings for the real world? Companies often get angry when they do not have all the critics or even a full house for their premiere. Here are five things they must keep track of before setting the date. 

- TV galas. Yes, yes, yes, it's theatre and therefore above all that glitzy crap, but real people and critics also love the silliness of the Tonys, Golden Globes and Oscars. Luckily, most of these fall on a Sunday, but you should be aware of them nevertheless. Next day coverage of local winners of big awards can squeeze out theatre.

- the Habs in the playoffs. Now this one is a double-edged sword: critics and first-nighters are not all theatre queens and some of us—not me—like hockey and become strangely ardent fans if the Habs are in the finals; the other edge of the sword is that papers tend to squeeze out coverage of anything if the Habs are going for the gold (bronze).

- Easter weekend. It's different every year, aware of it.

- weather. If it's winter, be prepared for last minute cancellations and book seats accordingly. Very recently, one company could not accommodate press for any night after the premiere which was during a snowstorm. 

- each other. It's getting better than the bad old days of three shows opening the same night, but it's still not perfect. Again, the two-edged sword: even if your play is not opening the same night as a production at a major house, if it's opening the same week will it be covered in a media outlet that has limited space? 


  1. with 350 fests a year in montreal, pick the least likely to draw away from your show (unless you're in it).

  2. oooh, good one. Also, important holidays like Ramadan and Yom Kippur.

  3. Great article, Gaetan.

    Also, Christmas!!!! I have seen so many shows get killed when they are scheduled in December. If you are not a Christmas show, don't do your show during the Christmas season. Most people have parties to attend and shopping to do, the last thing they are looking for is a dark investigation of the gloomy-side of life.

  4. Yup, Keir, Christmas is a hard sell even for silly family shows. I remember reviewing a PBS presentation of The House of Bernarda Alba presented at Christmas and saying, "Not sure this is a good time for this broadcast." A person wrote in that, "there are some of us who like serious works even at Christmas." I thought: operative word "some."


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