SOR 58: Katie Angel On Educating Your Audience On Your Art Form Before You Start Differentiating

Guest:
Katie Angel (@angelburlesque)

Who is she?
a founder of a burlesque company who deals with the public biases and sometimes misconceptions about the shows she promotes

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I wanted to bring Katie on the show because a lot of people in the general public have misconceptions about what her productions (burlesque) entail. This presents unique marketing challenges, and we dig into how Katie tackles these.

Extra bonus this episode: In the comments below I invite you to share the bravest thing you’ve seen someone do on stage. On 9/3 I’ll be selecting one commenter at random to call and chat with for 30 minutes. You’ll get to pick my brain about theatre marketing in general or whatever production you are currently promoting.

In this episode:

  • education as marketing – if there are misconceptions about what type of art you’re creating, your first task in marketing is setting the right expectations about what you are putting up on stage
  • one-on-one marketing – you can learn what type of objections your audience has and hone your message when you have the chance to interact with them face-to-face
  • letting your cast shine – if you allow your talent to do something that makes them proud and excited about what they’re doing, they will reflexively bring in more of their family and friends
  • what comes before differentiation – although each of the burlesque troops in Indianapolis has a different style, until the community understands what burlesque is, those differences won’t matter
  • show day care: the future of theatre – although there are very real logistical challenges to making this happen, having a day care service provided by the venue could help address the common objection about finding a babysitter
  • boiling the frog – if you can peel back the possible objections in a gentle, noninvasive manner you can persuade someone to see your show without them ever throwing their defenses up

Items mentioned:

  • Angel Burlesque – the burlesque company Katie founded, we talk extensively in this episode about the unique marketing challenges she has/gets to tackle

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Thanks to both Katie for sharing what she’s figured out along the way and all of you for downloading and listening.

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Discussion

  1. I was out at the Brickyard 400 one year. A gentleman was hired to put on his pirate show immediately before the start of the race in the Kids Zone. His audience was slight to begin with and dwindled or nothing as everyone went to their seats for the race.

    What impressed me is that he kept going. There was no one there to respond to his question, no kids to go nuts when he didn’t see the obvious. But this interactive show went on all the way to the end.

    Everyone has tough shows, but to keep going when no one is watching takes a certain amount of chutzpah.

    Barry Rice on Fri, Aug 8th, 2014 at 11:10pm
    • Ugh. I could feel my chest getting tight as I read this. 🙂

      Clay Mabbitt on Sat, Aug 9th, 2014 at 6:39am
  2. I’ve witnessed plenty of brave moments onstage, but one that springs to mind was when I saw Mary Wilson of the Supremes do a solo gig here in Chicago. It was near the end of her set, and she did a song in which she had to hit a challenging note. She missed it. The note landed with a clunk. Instead of continuing as if it hadn’t happened, she stopped singing and said “Shit.” Then she smiled and said to the audience “Can I start that again? I promise, I can do this.” That broke the tension, and everyone laughed. She started the song over, and when she hit the note on the second run, she got a huge round of applause. By being brave enough to acknowledge the fact that she’d stumbled and wanted to give it another go — instead of giving in to the natural reflex to cover and pretend — she not only humanized herself in an endearing way, but she also got the entire audience to root for her to succeed. It’s a lesson that I will never forget.

    David on Mon, Aug 25th, 2014 at 6:33pm
    • I don’t know if I would be smart enough to recognize the value of acknowledging the problem. My gut reaction would probably be to try to cover, but it sounds like this approach worked out better. Something I’ll have to think about…

      Clay Mabbitt on Wed, Aug 27th, 2014 at 7:38am
  3. Some of the bravest performances I’ve seen were those taking place in real life situations. For instance, I know a singer who sang at his wedding as his bride came down the aisle. I thought he was going to pass out, but he sang beautifully despite the wedding jitters. Another artist I know sang at the funeral of a loved one, making it through the tears somehow. Reality brings a performance to another level.

    Joni Lambert on Tue, Aug 26th, 2014 at 10:30pm
    • I love the raw emotional power behind those moments. It takes a strong performer to keep those emotions focused into the performance, of course, but it is truly amazing when the stars align for those moments. I love being able to watch when that happens.

      Clay Mabbitt on Wed, Aug 27th, 2014 at 7:40am

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