23 Things To Do When Road Construction Threatens the Opening of Your Show

I have a part in a show that opens this Friday. It has a great script, a great cast, and a great production team. The theatre has a strong reputation in the community. In spite of everything it has going for it, though, I’m concerned that we might not have much of a turn out.

The culprit? Road construction. The three-way intersection where this theatre lives is completely tore up. There’s piles of dirt and big, scary pieces of construction equipment. The worse part is there are large blockades with signs that reading Road Closed in every direction. A patron driving to the show will hit these giant obstacles before they even get within sight of the theatre.

Here’s the view looking out from the door of the theatre:

The original plans indicated that the work would be complete before we opened, but weather and other variables pushed everything back. Now the construction is scheduled to be completed a week or two after we close.

So we have to roll with this, and I started jotting down ideas of what could be done to keep the crowds rolling. I’m sharing the ideas that I came up with in one short brainstorming session. I don’t know if we’ll actually be trying any of these, but there are definitely some good ideas in here that are worth sharing.

  1. Shoot a video where you drive through the barriers and into the parking lot
  2. Show pictures of the construction on social media so people know what to expect
  3. Have your cast show up with shovels and hard hats during the workday and offer to help so things can get done faster – bring a camera
  4. Take out ad in the paper with the cast wearing hard hats and standing outside the theatre
  5. Write a song about the construction and share with the local morning radio show
  6. Offer to provide a quote if anyone is writing about the construction and how it affects local business
  7. Add signage at the blockades saying that you can get through to the theatre
  8. Write an email to season ticket holders about how they can feel like a rebel by driving right by a road closed sign
  9. Call in on morning radio shows to talk about the construction and traffic
  10. Have someone stand at the road block on the days of the show to direct people
  11. Give people who come to the first few shows some kind of coupon for later performances to give to a friend they think should see the show
  12. Offer a “road warrior” discount during the period of construction
  13. Hand out complementary stickers that say something about surviving the construction
  14. Work a reference to construction into the show (if appropriate) to give people more to talk about when they are spreading word of mouth
  15. Write a letter to the editor in the local paper about the construction affecting local business
  16. Create a Twitter account where you tweet from the perspective of the theatre building talking about all the construction going on at your doorstep
  17. Write an opinion piece about how wonderful if will be when the construction is finished
  18. Create t-shirts for the cast (or even audience) about the theatre still being open
  19. Offer free tours of the building
  20. Interview people the first night about the construction and parking, and post the interviews on social media
  21. Take a photo of your cast pretending to move the road closed signs and add a funny caption for social media distribution
  22. Shoot a video of the cast and crew trying to make it through the construction before the curtain opens – share online AND play in the lobby
  23. Create a tongue-in-cheek map to the theatre through the construction – possible themes include a spin on Google maps or a pirate-style treasure map where X marks the spot

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