Michaela Bulkley

Michaela Bulkley

Michaela is unapologetically passionate about building the performing arts community and culture to be more sustainable. Her BA in Theatre Producing, Masters in Nonprofit Management, and experience in marketing and arts management, all perfectly align in her dream job of working at LA STAGE Alliance. To learn more about her adventures in arts admin follower her on Instagram: @michaela.bulkley

How you can help your favorite theatre (and it doesn’t cost you a dime)

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Recently I was getting coffee with someone, when my latte arrived in an adorable mug. Without thinking I arranged the space around it, took a picture, added a filter, tagged the location, and moved on with my life, all in about 60 seconds. The person I was with scoffed, here I was embodying the typical Los Angeles millennial woman. “Can’t you just drink your coffee without photographing it?”

Yes I can, often I do, but I like this coffee shop, so why not give it some free marketing? While I am far from an Instagram Influencer, I do have a couple hundred people who now know that this coffee shop exists. Plus, who doesn’t want free marketing?

I personally love Instagram, I get to share things I love with the world, like coffee and theatre, and I can get suggestions for new coffee shops and art exhibits because those are the type of people I follow. It’s also my favorite way to support theatre.

This has always been a city where art has been created and captured, it makes sense that it bleeds onto visual platforms like Instagram. Instead of scoffing, how do we as theatre people, either producers or patrons, embrace this platform that puts an audience in our pocket?

If you want to support local theatre, but don’t have the financial ability to donate, you can post on social media.

We all want the theatre companies we love to thrive, and that means marketing. One of the most common questions we get at LA STAGE Alliance is how to support theatre and how to market their shows, and I always say the same thing: Instagram. Instagram is the digital version of word of mouth, that’s why it works so well. It is the easiest (and cheapest) way to start spreading the word about the show you saw and the companies you love.

You don’t have to be an influencer to help promote theatre. Chances are you have a couple of friends that also like theatre and appreciate the suggestion.

Instagram is a visual platform, and theatre is not a photographable art. However, most theatres I go to have at least one thing worth taking a picture of. It could be a sign or marquee, a poster, or if I know someone in the show I will take a picture with them (people would much rather see your beautiful smiling face than a picture of a wall), but post what you’re comfortable with. If there is absolutely nothing worth taking a picture of, I will take my program to the bar down the street and take a picture there. Then I get to promote a local bar and a theatre!

There is nothing wrong with taking pictures, or asking someone to take your picture, and probably no one is paying attention to you in the minute it took to capture the moment.

When it comes to the technical side of Instagram, it is also not that hard. Pop on a couple hashtags, tag the theatre company, tag LA STAGE Alliance, and you are good to go!

We all have that one friend that only talks to us when they want something. When you only ever post to ask people to come to your show, it’s kind of the same thing.

Posting on social media is similar to having a conversation, that’s why it social media. People can tell when you are being authentic versus when you are being salesy. Most of my Instagram followers are my friends from my real life, so they know I love theatre, coffee, and NPR. So when I post about one of those things, it isn’t fake at all.

Normally my posts about theatre are pretty general and don’t have a ton of critical thinking (I’m not a critic and don’t try to be one). Sometimes I won’t say anything about the show and will just mention that I went, I’ll let people make their own opinions, but they at least should know this show exists.

I tend to follow the “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything” rule when it comes to posting on social media because I’m not a critic, and I don’t feel the need to be publicly critical about art.

• Instagram is an audience in your pocket, use it!
• Start actively posting about LA Theatre to help get the word out!
• Add #LATheatre #LASTAGEAlliance and tag the theatre company (and @lastagealliance)
• You don’t have to be an influencer or critic, building awareness of LA Theatre happens one person at a time.

Theatre is a collaborative art form and that counts for marketing too. We can be unapologetic about the art we love on social media.

  • Like this article? Well @ This Stage just got a face lift and some brand-new writers, check it out at ThisStage.LA to get to know the new voice of LA Theatre.
  • Want to see more shows (for the gram)? Check out onStage.LA to get tickets, reviews, and find out what’s Ovation Recommended in your neighborhood.
  • Between welcoming 315 Ovation Voters, our biggest pool ever, and gearing up for the 30th Anniversary of the Ovation Awards, we have been gearing up for the best year yet at LA STAGE Alliance.
  • With even more exciting news and events to come, be sure to sign up for our newsletter at lastagealliance.com, or follow us on social media @lastagealliance.

If you have any questions, email us at info@lastagealliance.com.

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