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Got any examples of well-designed community theater websites?
April 12, 2011 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Got any examples of well-designed community theater websites?

I'm loosely consulting with a small local theater company on reworking their web presence. I'd like to show them some examples of great websites from other similarly-sized theater groups, but... yikes. My Google-fu has turned up examples ranging from "ugly" to "OH GOD THE HUMANITY".

I know there are professional companies out there with really nice websites, but I'm particularly looking for sites that promote amateur theater groups. It'd just be nice to look at what can be done by folks in this space with similar sensibilities/audiences/budgets/etc.
posted by ann_disaster to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
[removed the link, please put it in your profile if you'd like people to look at it, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:54 AM on April 12, 2011


I don't think my personal love for this company is getting in the way when I say that this is a great website. All the important stuff is right there on the front- here are the shows, here's a link for audition info, here's the address and phone number- and it's pretty to look at, too.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:56 AM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Our theater uses wordpress, with a magazine style theme. I don't think it's "oh god the humanity" but I'm biased. We're also about to launch a re-design, but it's still on WP. Profile for the link.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:31 AM on April 12, 2011


I do this for a local community theater and a local performing arts center. The PAC is not my design, but I'm porting their design to Wordpress for ease of updating. The Community theater is a customized Wordpress design - very very basic.

I'd recommend looking up listings for Performance Arts Centers - they will (generally) have well-designed websites.

Check out listings for local community theater associations. For example, Ohio's CT Association has a listing of all the theaters linking to their websites - http://www.ohiocommunitytheatre.org/central.shtml

Search for [my state] community theater to try to find some listings.

I kind of like Opera Delaware's site - http://www.operade.org/
Batvia Players - very basic but nice http://www.bataviaplayers.org/index.html
An interesting approach to just have a facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Class-Act-Productions/82231158035
A nicely designed site - http://www.confettistage.com/
This is a local theater that has a pretty nice website - http://www.narberthcommunitytheatre.org/
Another good one - http://www.scctonline.org/

For many community theaters, website design is pretty low on the totem poles of needs. We need a website but no one knows anything about web design and we have no budget. Geocities? Let's get something up and then get back to sewing costumes / building the set.
posted by kellygrape at 9:34 AM on April 12, 2011


I'm not completely convinced there is such a thing, but the good news is that you have a pretty low bar to clear. The main thing I want as a visitor to such a site is to have all the relevant information immediately available. On the homepage, I should be able to find out at least when and where the next couple shows are, with links to more detailed information for each show (full cast+staff list, full description, a couple press photos, etc...). The schedule for the rest of the season should be available within one obvious click (or just put the whole season on the homepage if it's short enough). If it takes me four clicks to find out what you're next show is about and where I can see it, you're Doing It Wrong. If there's a Flash intro movie, wrong. For a community theater, information on volunteering and auditioning should be prominent too, with a banner notice on the homepage when audition dates and other events are coming up. Make it easy for people to get on (and off) your email newsletter. You have a newsletter, right?

Depending on the nature of your company, a separate "production information" page with schedules and other info for the cast+crew of productions in rehearsals might be really useful. This can be protected with a simple password if necessary.

Handle this seemingly illusive level of usability and avoid any animated gifs, and you'll be better than 95% of your peers.
posted by zachlipton at 9:44 AM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good stuff here. Thanks. I hadn't heard of Weebly (appears to be what the Batavia Players site uses) and it's definitely worth looking into.

I get that a nice website is low-priority for a lot of community theater groups, which is why I'm helping out with it, I guess. My goal is something that looks passable, is cheap/free, and easy for the group officers to update without it exploding into Geocities goodness.

Since posting this, I've found a handful of companies that use basic wordpress.com setups (i.e. http://chelmsfordtheatreworkshop.wordpress.com/). Might be a good direction to go in.
posted by ann_disaster at 2:34 PM on April 12, 2011


We've used WP for the last five years, and other than the usual WP security concerns that you have to stay on top of, it's been great.

The theme we're using is Mimbo, but it's hacked to all get out. The nice thing about WP is ubiquity, and also nearly anyone can be shown how to use it once and they do okay updating things. Also, yesterday I updated the blog from my phone. Not a lot to think of as bad or problematic, there.
posted by Medieval Maven at 2:39 PM on April 12, 2011


The group I was involved with in Sheffield, UK has a decent site - info neatly to hand and no bells and whistles.
posted by freya_lamb at 3:50 PM on April 12, 2011


I'm a staff member in a university theater department. I've been compiling an excel file of summer theaters that hire college-aged actors and technicians. My list has more than 100 regional and amateur theaters around the US. Memail me if you think typing in 100 urls in search of a good one sounds fun.
posted by alight at 10:20 AM on April 13, 2011


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