Recruit team leaders for each major area so
that one person is not bombarded with too much. Here are tasks to
consider - though it will be common for one person to be in charge of more
than one area:
BRAINSTORM WITH OTHERS: Get together with your team and
brainstorm fresh and creative ideas for your menu, decorations, games, props,
publicity, prizes, ... Don't forget to involve people who are not
involved in other ministries.
The look of the room should match the theme of the drama. When
decorating, consider colors, back drops, table cloths, plates/napkins,
centerpieces, wall decor, signs, etc. Remember to add an extra touch
with thematic music in the background. Start working well in advance
of the big night. Many times you can save money by making items
yourself or matching prices at local stores or on the internet.
Note: Determine the number of people that can fit in your room and make
a document showing the room layout. Attractively decorated
tables make the room look great. Don't put them too close
together. Pull out chairs to confirm that people can walk
between chairs easily.
MAP OUT SEATING PLANS:
Plan table numbers in advance with a chart mapping where each
table is located. Then, when selling tickets – mark off the
number of seats. That way, you’ll know when a specific table is full
or has seats available.
Especially the first
year, save one empty table for unexpected guests. People often think that
they can bring a friend or two who will "squeeze in" at their table. One option to prevent this problem is to number each chair at the tables. Then, write on the tickets the table number and seat number. (At
the event, just put a small sticker on the back/top of each chair.)
Do not put the actors / actresses at tables because they help with serving
and mingling and can eat later. (Don't forget to set meal plates aside
Seating plans can be difficult. Be flexible because the final week
several changes will need to be made. Many people will
either change their minds, invite extra guests, call last minute
to request tickets ...
DESIGN TICKET SALES:
Set a ticket price by considering expenses such as: food, script,
props, costumes, lighting, decorations, baby sitters, etc. Also,
decide if the goal is to break even or to make money as a fundraiser. Especially the first years, there are often unexpected costs such as
pots/pans, tables, chairs, new microphones, ...
Remember - the higher the cost of the ticket, the greater the expectations
will be for the food, service, decor, atmosphere, props, and
acting skills. Some organizations charge higher prices
for those desirable front-row tables!
Sell tickets in advance
4-6 weeks prior) so that you can better plan the amount of food and
seating you will need. When people see that tables are filling up,
they'll get excited and want to purchase tickets! Normally there are
no ticket sales at the door. However, there may be a few unexpected
guests who arrive. They will need to understand that their seats
may be located in the back of the room.
Unless you have actors who can project, then all the characters need wireless mics. Be
sure to involve your sound team early on so that sufficient plans can be
made. It's very disappointing and frustrating to work so hard on
memorizing lines and rehearsing when the audience can't hear or
(If needed consider borrowing or renting extra mics.)
CAST THE CHARACTERS:
Finding the ideal cast will be extremely important. If you
are part of a larger organization, plan auditions. For
smaller churches, you can select your cast members by asking them
directly. As needed, find cast members that are outside your
Be prayerful and consider
carefully who will receive each role. Every script contains
a few key characters that carry the bulk of the lines and the
action. If possible, have a director who is not part of the
cast. Don't forget to cast the important role of the host,
who does not need to be at every rehearsal.
PRACTICE THE SCRIPT:
After selecting your cast, pass out the scripts. Allow characters one or two
weeks to get familiar with their parts before rehearsals begin. You'll want at least 6-7 weeks of practice - meaning you should
order at least 8 weeks before your performance date. (Churches and other groups have certainly been successful with a
shorter time frame by doubling practices per week or by reading
the scripts rather than memorizing the lines - though memorization
is best considering the audience has paid to see a production.)
For the cast, make a practice schedule
that lets them know which scenes will need to be memorized by which
practice. Be realistic! It's normal for cast members to think
that they have memorized their lines and then to forget most of them at
practice. This process helps them to see where they need to put in
more effort. Require them to drop their scripts and ask for a "line"
when they need it. (If the cast is struggling, have memorization
gatherings to only run lines. Record them for individuals to
practice when alone.)
Don't forget to make practice fun! Laugh at yourselves and enjoy getting to know one another. Bring
treats once in a while. Always say thank you to the cast and let
them know what they're doing well!!
PUBLICIZE THE EVENT:
It’s crucial!! Publicize with your church at least 6 weeks in
Use announcement time and the bulletin but don't forget to
make eye-catching handouts. Handouts can be taken and passed out to
friends, family, and co-workers! Personal invitation is great!
Well structured emails with logo are
an easy way to send an invitation! People can see important information such as date, time, place, phone
numbers, attire, etc.
Some churches do a short dramatic sketch
on Sunday morning that really gets people's curiosity and interest up!!
Find ways to publicize outside the
church as well. Hang posters in store windows, announce on the radio
stations, send news releases to local papers, use an outdoor sign, etc.
STEER DRESS REHEARSAL:
Don't assume everyone knows what's in your head and what you're planning!
Tell them. Give them outlines to follow. This includes the
cooks, stage crew, sound team, cast, and everyone who is helping!!
Mistakes will occur during dress rehearsal but try to keep it
moving! Note - it always takes longer than you think. Again - have fun!!
Make a playbill to hand each guest as they arrive. (Examples
are provided with purchase.) For
proper etiquette, always include the author's name with the title of the
script. Include information such as names of those who have helped,
people in the cast, how the evening will flow, information about
your group or your church, the plan of salvation, etc.
At minimum -
put character descriptions on the tables for guests to read. Also, have
the “Who done it?” ballots and the itinerary on the tables. Provide
pencils and paper to encourage guests to take notes.
PROVIDE NAME TAGS:
Everyone in the cast and all the guests should wear name tags. These
help the guests to notice who each character is. Also, it's a great
way for guests to interact with one another without being embarrassed for
not knowing someone's name! Name tags can have fun, thematic decor
on them by using stickers or printing them out on your computer using
To keep the evening flowing and fun, offer simple games that
correspond with the theme. Have guests answer trivia
questions or identify pictures/decorations around the room or
guess how many fish are in a bowl, ... Guests can
write their names on the back of the tickets and turn them in for a door
prize. (Examples are provided with purchase.)
prizes for the games, door prizes, crime solvers, and the Clueless Award. Prizes should reflect the theme of the evening. They do
need to be expensive. People simply like to win and be recognized. Candy or food is always a great option for all ages and genders.
Don't go overboard with giving prizes - it can make an evening
forget to get lots of pictures of the crowd, the cast, the cooks, decor,
... They'll be fun to look at later, post on your website, FACEBOOK, and use to
encourage people to come to next year's program.
You want pictures that are not dark or blurry. To prevent blur,
use the "motion" or "sports" setting. For lighter pictures,
get as close as possible to the action or try using the
"nighttime" setting. Hint: Some of the best cast
pictures come from dress rehearsal night.
planning time with prayer. Bathe rehearsals in prayer.