Crowd of diverse people eagerly gathering outside a grand theatre entrance, under a brightly lit marquee, symbolizing the popularity of theatre marketing strategies in 2024.

Theatre Marketing in 2024

You'll Find 30 Hidden (and Not So Hidden) Tips Here to Boost Your Attendance!

by Lu, OTL Seat Fillers & Spotlight

Theatre marketing in 2024 is more than just show promotion; it’s about creating engaging experiences.

At OTL Seat Fillers, we specialize in this area, frequently supporting more plays and musicals than any other event type. This trend is particularly striking in cities like Austin and Los Angeles, where despite a dominant concert scene, plays and musicals remain a significant focus. So, the following insights are specifically intended to be integral to community theatre marketing strategies.

In this blog post, I'll dive into innovative theatre marketing strategies for 2024. And, no, this won’t be your typical list that’s all about buying Facebook ads, using Instagram live streams, etc. Social media is mentioned but is just one in a much longer list of ideas.

I’m exploring broader trends that can dramatically enhance your theatre’s reach and impact, so stick with me and I hope you find at least one you can use right now.

TL;DR: Discover 30 effective theatre marketing strategies for 2024 that go beyond traditional ticket sales. Learn how to engage audiences with long-term planning, innovative online promotions, and personalized experiences. From utilizing seat fillers and expanding digital engagement to hosting community events and leveraging new online platforms, these methods aim to fill seats and build lasting relationships with your audience. Make your theatre a hub of excitement and culture with these forward-thinking tactics!

When chatting about theatre marketing in 2024 with folks outside the industry, many picture it as simply selling tickets to shows and events. Naturally, selling tickets is a big part of what you do, but it's not the whole picture.

Before diving into some of the more exciting aspects of the field, let’s set the stage with three key theatre marketing trends shaping the approach today.

1. Strategize for Sustained Success

2.  New Ways to Promote Your Theatre Online

3. Private Marketing

These trends help to fill seats and build lasting relationships with the audience, enriching the theatre-going experience in meaningful ways.

Strategize for Sustained Success

Playing the long game in theatre marketing means thinking strategically about future growth and engagement. A one-off hit is incredible, and everyone wants that recognition and to reap the benefits. However, if COVID lockdowns taught us anything is you’ve got to be prepared with plans B, C, and D. Marketing your shows and your venue for sustained success allows you to adapt to changing trends and tides with a solid structure.

Excited crowd gathered around a man on a pedestal, signing up for a theatre's email list, illustrating enthusiastic community engagement.

Here’s how you can broaden your impact and keep your audience engaged for years to come:

Expand Your Patron List

Who are your peeps? Do you know?

Does your private list cover all the bases, from patrons to online observers to social media followers?

Are you proactively building your list?

Do you have a way for people to add their names to your opt-in list at your front door?

How about sign-up forms in front of your door?

Does a pop-up appear on your site for email collection?

Can you give away a pair of tickets to each new show as part of your email opt-in strategy?

Connecting with your audience is key. But before you can connect, you need a comprehensive plan to build up your audience and never stop growing.

Engage people in an ongoing conversation about the magic of theatre. If your theatre is in a bustling area, why not take the opportunity to interact directly with passers-by? Equip your team with iPads to sign up new friends right on the street or in the lobby. It’s all about making everyone feel part of your vibrant theatre community.

Put Your Theatre to Work for You in New Ways

Your venue is one of your greatest assets—show it off!

Whether it’s a cozy black box or a majestic opera house, go ahead, and open your doors beyond show times. Collaborate with local event planners or volunteer organizations to host events at your theatre.

You can make extra money if you're working with for-profits. However, it's helpful to offer your space at cost to non-profits. You’ll at least break even while introducing your venue to potential new patrons. Decorate with eye-catching posters and have someone mingle during events to gather email signups on an iPad. You’ll surprise many by revealing the charm and potential of your space, enticing them to come back for a show.

And, if you have a theatre with history, you could schedule monthly tours with exclusive backstage access. Shining the light on your venue can intensify the spotlight on your shows.

Enhance Digital Engagement in New Ways

You might have gone virtual during COVID closures. And, maybe you're not enthusiastic about streaming your shows online (or, maybe you are!). But people love videos, so consider some type of streaming plan.

How about?

  • a digital backstage pass
  • a sneak peek at rehearsals
  • blooper reels
  • or a meet-the-cast session

Keep in mind that going digital can accomplish three things:

  1. A way to attract new patrons.
  2. Monetization opportunities (by donation or a set pricing structure).
  3. Email opt-ins (an email is required to access any online content).

You’re expanding your horizons, building anticipation for new shows, and keeping your audience in the loop.

Theatre Marketing Ideas - New Ways to Promote Your Theatre Online

When you think about online marketing and promotion, I bet social media and online ads like Google ads spring to mind.

Now, social media isn’t my all-time favorite (sorry). It's soooo time-consuming to produce daily content. And, it’s challenging to get some traction when you’re new. However, I know it's crucial for building an online presence so I would never say disregard it.

But, I want to expand on online resources and go beyond traditional social media. So, here are some fresh and fun theatre marketing ideas to boost your online exposure.

Community Calendars

No matter where your theatre is located, community calendars are everywhere. Get the word out by posting on every calendar you can find.

We’ve got robust US and UK event calendars on OTL City Guides powered by Evvnt. We provide local and national calendars. Additionally, you can take advantage of free listings or put yourself front and center with a paid plan.

Ticket Sales Portals

Even if you have a slick automated box office, ticket sales portals boost your visibility. Our community calendar partner, Evvnt also provides ticket sales portals with every little bell and whistle you could want or need.

Ticketing portals create a custom URL for your shows so you get more exposure.


Whip up a QR code (it takes 30 seconds in Google). Then, slap it on brochures or signs to direct ticket buyers straight to your mini-site. If your box office is way too busy or you’re taking your show on the road, a custom sign is an amazing tool. Your audience can scan the sign, buy their tickets, and head in without you needing an elaborate setup or extra ticket sellers.

Digital banner for OTL Spotlight featuring a "Call for Submissions" in bold white letters on a dark blue background, with categories like Auditions, Music, Tour Dates, Dance, Comedy Shows, Theatre Schedules, Festivals, and Merch.

Get Under the Spotlight

And, speaking of custom URLs for more eyes on your shows, OTL Seat Fillers is now accompanied by OTL Spotlight.

Seat filling is private (I’ll get to that soon) but the spotlight shines brightly on everyone and for everyone!

Use OTL Spotlight to give your theatre its dedicated page. It’s free! Promote anything from new shows to special events to a link to your online ticket sales. It’s a fantastic way to attract attention and engage with a broader audience. You get backlinks and exposure to new fans. Plus, you don’t need to crank out new content every day. One and done. Phew!


Just as community calendars are everywhere and are effective free resources, so are directories. Dive into every local and national directory available. They’re invaluable for increasing your reach, whether you’re part of official theatre associations or not.

For example, we have some theatre directories on OTL City Guides and you’ll find others on local news online and other city-specific sites. is another excellent resource for local directories and information.


Taylor Swift says “Shake It Off,” but I say “Shake It Up!”

Shake things up on YouTube. Don’t just post random clips; try behind-the-scenes videos of rehearsals, blooper reels, or a quick 60-second showcase of your talented cast.

Use the videos on your site and repurpose them on other social media sites.

I have struggled with videos for OTL Seat Fillers because we can’t promote shows. But YOU have fun content to share.


Create an internship for videography and content creation. Plenty of college students would love the chance to work with your theatre or theatre group. And, they’ll have some fresh eyes on the subject matter, which is also helpful. You can post your internship opportunity on LinkedIn for free.

Content Marketing

Your theatre naturally provides fascinating content. People adore live entertainment and are curious about the behind-the-scenes action.

Boost your blog by integrating those unique YouTube videos. This approach gives you more bang for your buck, enhancing your content’s reach and engagement.

  • Another fun approach is to create some how-to’s, such as “How To Score the Best Tickets for Our Next Show.”
  • You could also do something along the lines of “10 Things You Didn’t Know About (Play).”
  • Or create a quiz with famous lines from plays.

Think outside the box and beyond your current show to attract new visitors.

Host Virtual (or In-Person) Q&A Sessions

Invite fans to online Q&A sessions with your cast and crew. It’s a great way to engage directly with your audience, answering their questions and sharing insights about upcoming productions.

You could also host a reception at your venue and do something similar. Combine your online session with an in-person audience and take questions from both.

With these strategies, you’re not just promoting; you’re engaging in a way that excites and invites your audience to experience more of what makes your theatre special.

how OTL seat filling works for venues and event promoters

Enhance Your Community Theatre Marketing Plan with Personalized Marketing

The term "personalized marketing" might sound intensive, but it doesn’t have to be. While you may not have time to devise and execute a complex marketing plan, personalization can streamline and significantly impact your efforts.

Personalized marketing is all about direct engagement. Sure, hitting the streets to sell tickets and conducting post-show follow-ups might be out of reach. However, other strategies like email check-ins and custom "thank you" messages can create memorable experiences for your attendees.

Benefits of Community Theatre Marketing with Seat Fillers

As I briefly touched on before, using local seat filling is a cornerstone of effective personalized and private marketing. When you partner with OTL Seat Fillers, just let us know how many comp tickets you want to offer. We handle the rest by setting up a private listing for our members (and our members only!) They get an email alert and make reservations, building a reservation list for you.

Before the show, you’ll get a will-call list from us to distribute the tickets.

OTL Seat Fillers San Francisco entertainment partner testimonial

Why is local seat-filling an ideal private marketing strategy?

  • It’s discreet—no one knows about the comps, protecting your regular ticket sales.
  • Helps fill seats, which boosts concession, food, and merchandise sales.
  • It’s upscale – no coupons to print or discounts to issue. The service is free, but you provide comp tickets to the seat fillers when they check in right before the show.
  • Incredibly straightforward—it takes just five minutes to set up.
  • Seat fillers are reliable – membership rules state they must attend the show if they make a reservation.
  • It personalizes the experience—special invites to theatre lovers who might become regulars.
  • Best of all, it’s free!

Seat filling is personalized because you're extending a private invitation to OTL Seat Filler members, providing complimentary admission, and creating a memorable experience for seat fillers. They often return to venues they've visited, encourage others to attend the shows, and buy concessions. And, some even become theatre volunteers or employees (yup! that's happened more than once!).

>> OTL Event Submission Form

A group of young children in colorful costumes standing on stage, waving happily, representing youth involvement in theatre before main events.

Introduce School Theatre Group Performances

Another powerful private marketing tactic involves inviting local school theatre groups to perform before one of your matinees or other performances.

Imagine a group of elementary school students presenting a fun play as a warm-up to your main event. This not only provides a thrilling experience for the kids but also drives ticket sales. You know family and friends will come to watch the preview and stay for the main event. Hosting these pre-show performances creates a buzz, fills seats, and builds community engagement. And, it's all while giving young performers a stage they’ll never forget!

By adopting these private marketing strategies, your theatre can enhance its connection with the community, ensure fuller houses, and create lasting memories for your audience.

30 Effective Theatre Marketing Ideas

1. Use digital content for monetization opportunities.

2. Post about your theatre on community calendars.

3. Utilize ticket sales portals to enhance visibility and create custom URLs.

4. Feature your theatre in directories for increased reach.

5. Utilize YouTube for engaging content like behind-the-scenes videos, blooper reels, and showcases.

6. Integrate unique video content into your blog posts for enhanced engagement.

7. Stream live performances to reach a broader audience.

8. Offer virtual tours of your theatre.

9. Use seat fillers to maintain discreet comp ticket distribution.

10. Require email opt-ins for access to online content.

11. Engage in personalized marketing for direct audience engagement.

12. Host virtual Q&A sessions with your cast and crew.

13. Send personalized email check-ins and thank-you messages post-show.

14. Invite school theatre groups to perform pre-show to boost community engagement and ticket sales.

15. Expand your patron list with comprehensive strategies like pop-up opt-ins on your site.

16. Collect emails via iPad from passersby or in the theatre lobby. You could even put a few actors in costume to attract attention!

17. Encourage audience interaction and sign-ups during local events.

18. Collaborate with local event planners and volunteer organizations to host events.

19. Offer your theatre space at cost to non-profits to build community relations and show off your phenomenal venue.

20. Schedule monthly tours of your theatre, especially if it's a historic venue.

21. Create engaging, easy-entry QR codes for ticket purchases.

22. Highlight your theatre on OTL Spotlight for free, dedicated promotional space.

23. Rely on seat fillers for additional event day revenue from F & B and merchandise sales.

24. Leverage free listings on local and national calendars on powered by Evvnt.

25. Consider paid plans on calendars for increased exposure.

26. Combine virtual and in-person Q&A sessions for broader engagement.

27. Produce engaging content for OTL Spotlight without needing daily updates.

28. Set up internship opportunities for content creation, particularly in videography.

29. Put a prominent ticket sales link on OTL Spotlight for additional exposure and backlinks to your site for free.

30. Develop content beyond typical theatre promotions, like quizzes or behind-the-scenes facts.


What are some effective strategies for long-term success in theatre marketing?

Long-term success in theatre marketing can be achieved by focusing on strategies like playing the long game, where you develop sustainable marketing plans that extend beyond the current season. This includes building a robust patron list, making the most of your physical venue for various events, and embracing digital engagement through streaming and virtual tours.

How can I use my theatre space to improve community engagement and marketing reach?

Utilize your theatre space by hosting diverse events beyond regular theatre productions. Consider opening your doors for community events, collaborations with local schools for performances, and even behind-the-scenes tours. This not only fills seats during off-peak times but also enhances your theatre's presence in the community, attracting new patrons.

Can digital strategies enhance physical theatre attendance?

Absolutely. Digital strategies like streaming live performances, offering digital backstage passes, sharing blooper reels, and conducting virtual Q&A sessions can significantly extend your reach and build interest. These strategies allow potential patrons to experience the magic of your theatre from anywhere, increasing the likelihood they'll visit in person for the full experience.