How *not* to write a press release for your theatre company

Each day I get dozens of pitches and press releases in my inbox for upcoming productions, and most of them are professional and clear, but a good chunk of them are a bit of a mess. However, I’m usually quite forgiving, as many times the people writing these things aren’t PR people, but rather theatre people just trying to get the word out about their shows. So, I can empathize when releases exclude information such as, oh, where the show’s playing, when it’s playing, whom I can contact for more information. That sort of stuff.

However, yesterday I got the craziest press release I’ve ever seen from a theatre company. It’s so strangely written, so outlandishly pretentious, so utterly baffling, it’s near parody. And, well, I just think it’s worth sharing so we can all learn a little something about how not to promote your show.

To protect the innocent, I’m not going to reveal what theater company this release came from. But, also, the rambling passage below, which is only a section of the release’s first paragraph, doesn’t even mention what theatre company or show they’re even talking about. So, no editing necessary!

Without further ado…

…The process of the actor, the means by which she is able to produce for an audience such fine and striking semblances of reality, is often not the matter of a rehearsal process. It is left to the actor’s good conscience and commitment to his craft to develop an inner life capable of sustaining the director’s vision. This is done somewhere else. At home, perhaps, or at a café, or on the bus, usually alone, but some rare times with one’s dramatic compatriots. But in this case it takes an extraordinary actor indeed to develop and grow her capabilities in this realm with no partner, no fellow adventurer into the realm of the actor’s craft. One rests often on the laurels of training, employing a method without testing it, stealing it, stretching its capabilities, only reemploying its maxims. It could be said, what right have we to manipulate and alter those theories developed over decades by the fathers and mothers of our form? I say we have every right, if we take up that responsibility with the seriousness and respect owed to those who have come before us, and set out to make our own work…

Now, what have we learned here? I’m not sure, either, but since I don’t have any “dramatic compatriots” to help “reemploy my maxims,” am I missing something? And if I stretch and manipulate my craft with said dramatic compatriots, will the fathers and mothers of my form ground me? Should I wear protection? Should I invite them? I’m nervous! (And a touch jealous.)

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