SOR 015: Hope Baugh

Hope Baugh

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I’m very pleased to welcome Hope Baugh to the podcast. It’s not just because she’s delightful to talk to. (She is.) Hope provides a perspective that we as promoters of live theatre desperately need to understand. What makes someone decide to write a review of live theatre? Since it’s impossible to see every show, how does this person decide which shows to attend? Perhaps most importantly, how should you invite them to your production?

Hope is a devout fan of live theatre. Her blog, Indy Theatre Habit, includes reviews of local productions that go beyond a summary of the plot and a cast list. She talks about how the production affected her. She’s inviting a conversation as much as writing a review, and perhaps that’s part of the reason she’s so well thought of as a theatre blogger in Indianapolis. Or maybe it’s how her Twitter stream blows up during intermission of whatever production she’s attending on any given Friday or Saturday night. Or maybe it’s just because she’s such a sweetheart. Listen to this episode and decide for yourself.

In this episode:

  • the shift in some local newspapers away from arts coverage – what this means for bloggers and independent voices who write about theatre
  • where will people turn for reviews in the future – if newspapers aren’t going to be the goto resource for arts and culture coverage, who will?
  • how does Hope feel when theatres quote her in their marketing – no surprise: there’s a right way and a wrong way
  • the worst way to approach her about your show – she shares an example of someone who probably thought they were giving her the royal treatment, but it did not have the intended effect
  • why you need a website – social media is amazing, but it’s easier for influencers to share information about your show if you have your own site [I’ll be talking more about this on Sold Out Run in the near future]
  • should you offer media passes – Hope’s view has changed over the years

Items mentioned:

  • Indy Theatre Habit – home of Hope’s in-depth, thoughtful theatre reviews
  • @IndyTheatre – Hope’s Twitter account where she talks about theatre – origin (I think) of the hashtag #indystage
  • the bunny video – here’s evidence of a tactic that stuck out in Hope’s mind of all the times someone has reached out to her about a show

I have been using two different types of formats for the podcast up to this point. In some episodes I bring on a guest, like I did with Hope in this episode, to share their experience and perspective. In other episodes it’s just me sharing my thoughts on a topic. Do you like one format better than the other? What would you like to see more of? (If you’d like to suggest another format, too, please do so in the comments.)
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