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Advanced Drama Honors performs adaptation of “Into the Woods” Drama department uses marketing team to increase attendance

Video trailers, posters, a decorated lobby, Instagram accounts, a website, business cards, a headshot board, star grams, tickets, sweatshirts, a concession stand — the marketing team for Advanced Drama Honors’ yearly musical “Into the Woods” took on more than the usual promotions, developing numerous different ideas to increase attendance for their final musical of the year.

Behind the scenes, there are actors, directors, assistant directors, a technology team, stage managers, the orchestra and set designers. A group of five students took it upon themselves to start a marketing team for the fall show “Eurydice,” and after the team’s initial success, they continued to work on it for the spring show.

Junior Kiren Balakrishnan wanted to participate in marketing again as she saw the potential of her team had not been fully utilized in “Eurydice.” Balakrishnan says that being consistent the usage of different platforms to promote, as well as putting detail in smaller things are just some of the tactics that the team used in the marketing process. According to her, n the past, the marketing team had only made a trailer and poster but this time, they accelerated their efforts in an attempt to increase attendance.

“We were hoping that we could get in more people with our marketing tactics,” Balakrishnan said. “We were the same team for Eurydice and we kind of went above and beyond than what most marketing teams do because most marketing teams are two people. We were four or five people and so because of that, we ended up doing a lot more. We needed to top ourselves and do better than Eurydice.”

Balakrishnan designed one of the posters by using Adobe Illustrator. In the poster, she made sure to show the motifs in the musical, the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn and the slipper as pure as gold.

Balakrishnan drafts of her poster. Images curtesy of Balakrishnan.

Junior Ashley Yeh, a member of the marketing team, says that their most difficult and time-consuming project was decorating the auditorium's lobby. The team used the lobby as a way to help execute Drama teacher Jeffery Adams’ vision of a deconstructed fairy tale. Using paint cans, a tree made from wood blocks, a ladder, and ripped pages from fairy tale books scattered throughout the lobby, a deconstructed forest greeted the audience as they entered the theater.

“We started thinking about the lobby design way in January,” Yeh said. “We wanted it to be deconstructed, which is why you see all the paint cans and the wood, that's the deconstructed aspect. We wanted it to look like it was unfinished on purpose, but be aesthetically unfinished, for the purpose of having the deconstructed vibe.”

The process took the team two weeks to fully set up, but Yeh says that it paid off through the feedback and reactions she received from the audience as they walked in on opening night.

“I think once you're done with the lobby, everyone comes in, and they see it and react, so you know you did such a good job,” Yeh said. “That's like the payoff, getting to hear how people like it.”

Junior Alex Yang says the show’s website and business cards were among the many things he created and enjoyed while being part of marketing. Yang says using Squarespace and buying the domain IntoTheWoods.show helped improve the show’s online presence. During a meeting, Yang took advice from other members and ended with something he felt was professional.

“The website was my favorite thing to work on,” Yang said. “I just went in with a template, and I was kind of making just a draft at first, just see how it would look and go together. Then I sat down one Saturday with the whole team, and we planned out what we're going to do, and what information we need to show. We made an About Us page. It was a process, but I learned so much doing it, just basic web design stuff that I'm really happy with it.”

The team of five started meeting in January, during the time auditions for the musical had begun. Staying organized with a Google calendar and holding weekly meetings were admittedly difficult for Yeh. They set out early with a list of 20 things that they wanted to accomplish within the few months they had. Yeh says one problem they seemed to face was meeting deadlines and keeping everyone up to date with their plans.

“I think keeping everyone on the same page and on schedule [was difficult],” Yeh said. “At times we have weekly meetings, sometimes some days someone wouldn't just be there because they have other stuff to do so then they would miss out on something. And especially with there being so many different things we had to do, it was kind of hard keeping everyone on the same page.”

Yang was part of Roberta Jones Jr. Theater, a community theater run by the Santa Clara recreation department, but found that his schedule of being a student and a member of the MVHS dance team left no room for him to continue. Yang says joining marketing is a flexible alternative to participating in the theater at school and it fit in with his busy schedule.

“We're not directly attached to every rehearsal,” Yang said. “Because dance team has practice three days after school, the only way for me to participate in theater was to take on marketing, and it’s just this big open abstract thing you can do whatever you want with it.”

Created By
ayah Ali-Ahmad
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