Case Study: Digital Strategy Breaks Record for Community Theatre

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Winner of a Keystone Award from the Central PA Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America

Gamut Case Study

“Gamut Theatre’s vision is a world where all people cherish classic stories and share them with future generations. With the knowledge, skills and creativity of the PRworks team, we are getting closer and closer to achieving that vision by reaching more people in our community and welcoming them as Gamut patrons. From social media to email marketing, from website consultation to media relations, PRworks is a trusted partner through and through.”

– Melissa Nicholson, Executive Director, Gamut Theatre Group

The Challenge

Gamut Theatre is the combined theatre company of Popcorn Hat Players Children’s Theatre and Harrisburg Shakespeare Company in Harrisburg, PA. In the summer of 2019, Gamut Theatre engaged PRworks to adopt a more strategic approach to its marketing and public relations program. With the theatre’s fall season approaching, PRworks’ first assignment was to promote Gamut’s production of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

The Approach

In collaboration with Gamut Theatre, PRworks developed a strategic approach with the goal of exceeding the number of tickets sold during the prior fall season. Informed by a comprehensive audience survey conducted for Gamut by PRworks earlier in 2019, the approach employed digital marketing and media relations.

Tactics included:

  • Creating Facebook events to promote each show in the four-week run
  • Planning social media content for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout the four-week run including “Cast Moments” posts to highlight the actors and their roles; “Fact Friday” posts to share facts about the script, novel and characters; and show posts leading up to and during the run.
Gamut Theatre Cast Moment
  • Running two Facebook video advertising campaigns targeted based on insights from the audience research
  • Developing an email marketing campaign to reach past patrons
  • Outreach to local news media, bloggers and influencers to earn media placements and mentions

The Results

Ticket Sales

Supported by the PRworks team, Gamut Theatre experienced record-breaking ticket sales for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

The number of tickets sold for the four-week run was three times higher than the total tickets sold for the run of the first production of the prior fall season. It became Gamut’s highest selling show ever.

Media Placements

  • TheBurg (Harrisburg)
  • Broadway World
  • Weekly Roundup by Sara Bozich
  • TownLively
  • The River 97.3 WRVV
  • Lancaster Online
  • The Sentinel (Carlisle)
  • The Shippensburg News-Chronicle
  • Fox43 News (WPMT-TV)

Since the record-breaking campaign for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, PRworks and Gamut Theatre have continued to build on their partnership.

Putting their creative minds to work, promotions have successfully been executed for additional theatre productions as well as Gamut Theatre Academy (for young actors), TMI Improv (in-house comedy troupe) and fundraising appeals.

Pandemic Pivot

In March 2020, Gamut Theatre suspended public activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, PRworks advised and supported Gamut on communications strategy as the theatre pivoted to the promotion of online shows and actor-hosted online parties for children and adults.

Gamut Theatre reopened to the public on September 12, 2020, exactly six months to the day that it suspended operation. As of December 2020, Gamut continues to closely monitor COVID-19 cases per capita in the Central Pennsylvania area and is thoughtfully adjusting its show schedule in accordance with its Health & Safety Protocol – with PRworks by its side for communications and marketing expertise every step of the way.

To help ensure Gamut Theatre can continue to tell classic stories in new and exciting ways, please consider visiting its website to make a donation.

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