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When was the last time you looked at a theatre company website, or tried to register for a theatre conference? If it's been a while, maybe go try right now. If you find a great experience that enables you to register quickly and easily, then you've found a diamond in the rough. Most local theater groups can't afford a good website, and most conferences don't have sufficient websites either, for one reason or another.
Having a bad website in 1998 was expected. Having a bad website in 2008 was forgivable. But having a bad website 2020+ is embarrassing. It frustrates people and irritated people are harder to recruit and engage. They are less likely to buy what you're selling, to register for your event, or to trust your expertise.
By contrast, the best kind of theatre website makes it easy for to sell tickets and entice attendees. It peaks the interest of actors and directors alike so that you don't need to work as hard to bring in new auditionees or find the director for your next season of shows. The fear of a declining membership is non-existent when the community around you can easily find you on Google and get connected.
Most staff in a local theatre are unpaid. Maybe the director or stage manager gets a small stipend, but for the most part it's a big ask for a volunteer to keep a website updated. It's part of the Cast98 mission to streamline processes in the context of a production cycle and having a great website likewise makes it a lot easier to update content and keep it fresh. Volunteers and minimum wage staff will appreciate how easily they can make changes.
Having built many local theatre websites in the past, here are some of the benefits seen by real community theaters:
A bad experience trying to register online for a conference can affect attendance, especially if a conference is registering individual performers. A festival atmosphere with high school and middle school drama groups are less susceptible to missing out on registrations, but the drama teachers and theatre directors will show up impatient and irritable if they've had a hard time going through the registration process. Like a middle school teacher needs extra motivation to be irritable, right?
I can't tell you how many conference websites Cast98 has attempted to navigate in an effort to be a sponsor or exhibitor. Several times it is easier to send an email (if you can find an email address) and just ask the basic question instead of wading through outdated and broken information.
In fact, that's largely why we decided to start offering our services to theatre conferences. Bartering is definitely something we can discuss!
The best conference website entices sponsors to get on board and makes your registration process a breeze. Your attendees can easily find information about your upcoming event(s) and enjoy the archive of your past annual conventions. Speaker bios are neatly curated and the conference agenda is readily accessible on a smartphone (which is where most people will view it).
When a visitor to your website can get in, register, and move on within 5 minutes, they're going to be very well pleased and likely to share/refer others.
The bigger the conference, the more impact a great website will have. Some of the benefits of having a really good theatre conference website:
The developers behind Cast98 are available for hire! Theatre and web design have been separate passions for over a decade. We are theatre website experts. We now want to share our expertise with local theaters and conference directors who need an affordable and excellent solution.
Whether you have just started your theatre company, if you're taking over the reigns from previous leadership that neglected the website for years, or if you're going nuts trying to answer a constant stream of parent and attendee questions, we can help.
Head over to our support form and select the category Theatre Website. In your initial comments, please tell us: