My journey creating and producing puppetry... trials, tribulations, inspiration and contemplation.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Monster Wrap-Up

Back stage before the May 10 premiere of Monster Intelligence

We performed our three shows of Monster Intelligence for our Orange County (NY) Tourism Arts Grant. While it's nice to be able to offer a free show and promote it on your own, our free reservations had a problem with not showing up and we ended up turning away people who tried to reserve after the first two shows were sold out. Still, we played to near-sell-out audiences in our first two venues and the audiences were wonderful. In our area, with park lands and various destinations vying for the attention of families with children, it seems a beautiful, warm day can be difficult to entice families with children inside for a puppet show. Because of these reasons, it feels a better fit when a puppet company is hosted by a venue that has a following as many of my puppet performing brothers and sisters enjoy regular bookings in libraries during the summer months.

Sports Monster with Melvin at the May 10 premiere of Monster Intelligence

Our final show was a 'no-reservation' show in a large community center. Even though we had a similar turn-out as our low-capacity venues, I was satisfied with the marketing. We had the ability of placing our color flyers with an elementary school where I had performed our anti-bullying show Helping Drew. The children's retailers in a local mall were also very accommodating in placing our flyers at their cash registers to help promote the show. It didn't hurt to mention that "Orange County Tourism was sponsoring a FREE puppet show" in their town. Thanks, also, to Puppeteers Unite Blog for hosting my story on the team of community members behind the show.

Grandmonster with Emily and Jenny after the June 14
performance of Monster Intelligence

The grant specifically asked how we would measure the success of our program which sparked an idea to survey our audiences. This helped us gather information about the reception and impact of our show. Audiences were overwhelmingly happy with the program. Since we have an educational component to our shows as well, we surveyed what the kids may have learned and the answers reflected many of the lessons that were covered in the show. Of course, we wanted to know what families might pay for this type of entertainment and it fell in line with what we expected. Our theatre audience would pay between $10-$25, our library audience was a little more conservative at $10-$15 and our family audience at the final show preferred a lower $5-$10 which is what we had expected all along. While most of the children attending were in the 3-10 year range, we had some infants, teens and, our oldest audience member was 97. It was great to share our art with such a range of the population.

Monster Intelligence is tentatively scheduled to play the Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, NY on November 22, 2014 and we hope to continue bookings through the year for family audiences. The final performance was filmed for promotional purposes and we hope to have a promotional video online soon.