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Pirates of Penzance (2018)

Pasadena Playhouse

The Hypocrites are a small 99-seat theatre company based out of Chicago that revives classics with new verve. In The Pirates of Penzance, they turned Gilbert & Sullivan's operatic masterpiece into a full-on beach party (beach balls & on-set bar included).

The avant garde nature of the production required the elimination of traditional theater seats. Instead, audiences would sit on benches, in kiddie pools and **gasp** would be forced to move around throughout the show as the cast uses majority of the stage as their proverbial theatre oyster.

Here's how I built a 360 campaign that managed the expectations of traditional audiences, and brought in new ones, too.




The Playhouse, like many theatres, holds a very traditional audience. So when an "immersive" show needs to be marketed, these audiences' expectations need to be managed – especially when it comes to theatre members who pay hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars to sit in a seat.

To manage expectations, we released a content that allowed audiences to get a feel for the show. This involved videos centered around the seating situation, a "true crime" themed extension announcement video, a pirate-themed seat map, and a handwritten letter from the swashbuckling pirates themselves to welcome members to their new "seats" for this production.


With a production an intensive as this, the marketing had to match at every level. We activated the site by turning the historic fountain into a ball pit, put beach balls and a pirate flag in the window with the most foot traffic, and held tiki bar nights with the community.


The cast was coming straight from Berkeley, so we barely had access tot them for content. That's when I decided that a beach ball would become our marketing mascot (because hey, during this show you might get hit with one).



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