There are a number of advantages to writing a theatre review not least what it can do for your own audience size!
Having your work retweeted by others who find a review useful means your audience grows.
Review writing slowly builds up an audience who rely on you. They do not want to spend their time trawling the net for basic information you easily provide about running times and dates of a show they are interested in.
And readers who feel passionate about your view on theatre can make a post go viral.
By breaking down the barriers for people to discover new work you become the ‘go to’ source. Other people will want to see the next hot thing you write about.
The gratitude people leave in the comments to your reviews is encouraging.
You may also enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling from the good you are doing your community. After all a good review can help local shows pull bigger audiences to festivals and arts centres.
New theatre companies that have just started and are unknown to the public value extra publicity; they often quote your words on their posters.
This gives oxygen to your future as a theatre critic especially if you are just starting out.
As a reward for your hard work you typically get two free tickets, publicity material like programmes and hospitality drinks that vary with the generosity of the venue.
Want more good news?
Some of the highlights I have enjoyed as a theatre critic are the best seats at a sold out West End play with an international star that none of my pals could get tickets to see. With opera seats starting at around £100 crafting a review can be more than worth the time it takes in return for two free tickets.
The chance to see something for free that you would not normally buy a ticket to is another advantage. This lets you discover brand new shows you may come to love and not other wise have seen.
Remember theatre critics get the best seats in the house!
In order to offer the review to your audience you do NOT need to become an expert on what you are watching but you do need to do one thing.
That is – You need to be authentic.
Be honest and real in your responses to what you see.
It’s that simple.
However… sometimes it has taken me several hours to write a review. Especially when I first started out.
So this book will give you the blue print to put your own opinions and experiences into a format that creates a good looking, useful and robust theatre review in not much time. Because we are all busy.
How you publish your review is up to you and ideas on how to do that are shared later in the book.
The two basic options are on your own website or on a theatre review website.
The number of websites that accept submissions from ‘freelance’ reviewers is growing fast and listed halfway in the book. Although it is rare to get paid for your review you will be able to treat a friend or colleague to share your rewards of two free tickets (or ‘comps’), theatre programmes and the interval drinks that are included sometimes.
A Garden Show with two intervals once treated me to cocktails on arrival with canapes, gin and tonic for the first interval, a beer for the second interval and an americano coffee before leaving.
If you get the chance to go to a Press Night you also get the chance to connect with people from the company, fellow reviewers and journalists who can often offer helpful tips on writing about theatre.
Alternatively you can post your review on your own blog and develop an Arts hub with a theme.
Posting reviews with clear hashtags in my experience creates a steady flow of traffic without you doing much to get it as people often google the title of their favourite shows. My average is 1000 hits per review over a 6 month period without paying for traffic.
If a company is struggling to get people to see a new style of performance or simply love a review you have written their links to it may also boost traffic.
This route of publishing on your own site means you probably have to buy your own tickets but there is a way to get revenue. Adding links to theatre ticket sales websites can offer a small commission to affiliates.
Advertising space can be sold to theatre companies to promote their show either on your site or in the newsletter . It can be a good reason for folk to sign up to an email newsletter when you offer a steady stream of theatre reviews.
Hopefully this has got you excited to start putting your reviews out there, it’s never too late and it’s certainly never too early to publish your views however you plan to do it!
This book shows you how in step by step fashion.
PS The reason it is important to get your review out there fast is so you can be the first to be found when someone searches for a review on the show they are interested in.
Even if a show is touring, there will always be a first performance in your region or in your theatre. Go for the part of the performance that is a ‘premier’ or a ‘first’ and you have a unique selling point. Look for something that only you are seeing for the first time and relay this to your reader as an exclusive!
See you on the next page when we pin point what you want to review.