The plays of all levels, from one in an elementary school to Broadway productions, have a booklet. This pamphlet informs the audience about the fundamental aspects of the play: the title, the names of the cast members and the character they play, and a brief synopsis of the scenes or musical numbers for each act. You can produce a small 4-page brochure on one full-size sheet or staple two together to create an 8-page brochure.
Part 1 of 3: Choosing Your Theater Brochure Style
Step 1. Choose the size of the brochure
A simple brochure can be designed for most Broadway plays. Commonly used sizes are 4 pages (typically 4 pages are designed to fit on 1 sheet of paper) or 8 pages (two full sheets of paper divided in half). It will be your decision, depending on budget limitations and the amount of information you want to convey in the brochure (you and the director of the work).
If you are designing this brochure for a professional level work, you will have more resources at your disposal and you can have a cover and a printed layout designed by a professional. However, the content inside the brochure will be almost the same
Step 2. Design a 4 page brochure
If you choose this option the front and back covers will be in the upper right and left quarters of a sheet of paper. These rooms will be the outside of the brochure. The cast page and scene list will be at the bottom left and right of the sheet. These pages will be the inside of the brochure.
A 4 page brochure is usually the best option if you have a low budget
Step 3. Design an 8-page brochure
If it were a complex work with several artists and many acts, scenes and even musical numbers that you would like to present to your audience, an 8 page layout will suit you better. In this case, you will make a stapled pamphlet by placing one folded sheet of paper inside the other.
If you have a bigger budget and many points to touch, you can add more pages, as you see fit
Part 2 of 3: Design the front and back cover
Step 1. Design the front cover
This should have the title of the work and almost all show a photo or a large illustration that is thematically associated with the theme of the work. Use or create an image that relates to the theme. For example, if the play is about detectives, you can use a picture of a city, a policeman, a felt hat, or a newspaper.
As long as you don't deviate from the theme, you can create anything on the front deck. Talk to the director and see if he has a picture or photograph that he would like to show
Step 2. Add your title text on the front cover
Get creative with your choice of font, size, and shape for your title. Feel free to take creative licenses. Although titles generally go at the top of the brochure cover, you could arrange the letters vertically or place the title on a diagonal line. If you want, match the source with the content of the work.
- For example, if the brochure is for a Julius Caesar production, use a formal, classic uppercase font.
- Add other basic information to the bottom of the cover. Give credit to directors, writers, composers, and choreographers.
Step 3. Design the inner cover
If you are designing a 6- or 8-page brochure, the “inside cover” is the page you will see on the left when you have opened the brochure. If the director would like to write a note on his part to present the play, it can be placed in this section. Another option is to write down the times and dates of the presentations.
If you choose the last option, include a list of the presentations and the times they start. It won't take up as much space, as small companies or high school or college theater casts only perform a play about three to four times
Step 4. Design the back cover
This can serve several purposes. For works seeking local sponsors, the back cover is usually dedicated to advertisements. Otherwise, it can be used as an “autograph page”. This page is for members of the public to give to cast members to sign, so it should be left almost completely blank.
You can always put the word "Autographs" at the top and leave room for multiple signatures. Remember not to put your autograph there
Part 3 of 3: Design the Inner Pages
Step 1. Fill in the cast page
This is usually the second in a small brochure. Its purpose is to list the names of the performers and the names of their characters. The names of the actors are usually placed on the left and the names of the characters on the right side. If you don't know this information, you will have to find out. Ask the play director or casting manager for a list of the actors' names and their corresponding characters.
- At the top of the page, you can put "Cast" or "Interpreters". Underneath, a line is usually included that says “(in order of appearance”) or (“in alphabetical order”), according to the director's preference.
- The cast page can be complex if extras are added or removed by the director or the inevitable spelling errors appear. Start working on this page early in the design process.
Step 2. Make a list of acts and scenes
A list of scenes is usually included on the poster to help the audience follow the action in the play. This page is usually structured as an outline: mention the numbers or the names of the scenes and within each one, detail the number and name of each act, as well as any musical numbers.
The list of acts and scenes (and musical numbers) could take up to two pages, if you are creating a booklet for a longer play or one that has many acts
Step 3. List the ensemble members who participate in each song
Typically, a brochure introduces the audience to the names of all the characters who perform in a song or musical number. Under "Act 1" and "Scene 1," list all the songs vertically. On the right, mention the names of the characters.
For example, in the case of an Annie Get Your Gun production, write "Annie Oakley and Frank Butler" next to the song with only these two characters performing
Step 4. Include a short summary of the plot in each act
If requested by the director, include a brief description of the plot within each act so that your audience can follow the action. Your brochure could provide more plot details, if you're concerned that your audience might get confused about who is which character.
For example, if you are creating a playlist for The Wizard of Oz, the scene where Dorothy arrives in Oz could be summed up this way: “Dorothy's house lands in Oz and the Munchkins convince her to visit the Wizard to find your way home”
Step 5. Add a credits page for the team
If you have space in an 8-page brochure, dedicate one to thanking the team that contributed to the production of the work. The technical team includes people who controlled the sound, light and other technical aspects and who designed the set.
Step 6. Add a "Credits" or "Acknowledgments" page
If you are going to use an 8-page layout, the last one will be dedicated to giving credit to the economic sponsors (among other people) and the local, among others. In general, the brochure will thank actors, choreographers, director and co-director, scriptwriters, venue where the presentations and rehearsal space were organized.
In the end, don't forget to thank the audience
- If you've never produced a brochure for a play before, there are many websites that will help you with the layout. For example, go to PlayBillder.
- Go through the cast page several times and have each performer give their name the thumbs up before printing the copies of the brochure. It is normal for mistakes to happen, especially in the name of the cast members.
- If you use images in the brochure, be careful that they do not have copyright protection, such as stock images. You can download them from the Internet from websites like Getty Images.