Sunday, 28 July 2013

This is why we love theatre

We love theatre because of the wonderful people who are in theatre. With all the auditions over and all the roles casted, it is time to share some of the wonderful moments we had.


Brad is a very talented actor and has been in Protea productions before, and as sure as I can be, he will be around in theaters for some time to come. It takes a lot of guts to be on stage. Some people just have more of it than others. These are the ones who will stretch the boundaries a little bit and who will be remembered.

Brad, thanks for being such a sport a making theatre such a wonderful experience for us all.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Long long time

Track: Long long time

Album: Out takes from the Exile concept album recordings

Remember the exile? Off course you remember the exile! This is a blog started about the exile. The exile is a musical and this blog is about everything musical and theatre.

The recordings of the concept album for the exile had about 16 tracks. Why do I say about. Last count, it was exactly sixteen! Anyway, those sixteen tracks was representative of the songs of the musical, but it was not everything. There are a few other songs as well - some of them were recorded, but did not make it unto the final issued album.

I am glad to present to you one more of those tracks which was recorded, but not included on the release.

Long long time.

After Hugo has been intruduced to his son, which he did not even knew he had until now, he sits down and fills his son, Tyler in on what was going on since he left South Africa and went into exile. At the end of the track he sits down and try to explain to himself why he never returned to his home country, even after he reached the goal of democracy in his homeland.

To listen to the whole album from track one to the end, go to the link at the top of this page or just click on this link.

There was nothing wrong with original vocal recording and to let the work goes to waste would do injustice. The song did not make it because there was something wrong with the songwriting part of it. The verse vs. chorus just did not work. For this remix, I try to solve part of the problems, firstly by not having a chorus. The song form is thus a AABA form pure. I've thrown in a bridge with a brass instrumental not just for variety. The purpose of that interlude is to give the stage actors a moment to do what they do, i.e. Hugo turns away from Tyler, to whom he was addressing the first part. He looks around to the other room where Cathy is talking to Melissa and then starts to sing the last verse, half to himself, but also so that Tyler can hear him.

I wanted to rewrite the song completely with new words - and still rederves the right to do so, but this week a bright idea hit me. Well, I had a day off from work to start with and decided to use the day productively. I decided to give the track a bit more epic sounding orchestration.

Let me know if you like it!


Sunday, 21 July 2013

We don't know what the future will hold, but we'll give it a chance

Track: Give it a chance

Album: The Exile, the musical - out-takes

Here is a bonus track for the fans. It's an out-take from the Exile concept album recordings. It is the second to last song from the musical, called, Give it a chance.

Click the link above to give it a listen on Soundcloud.

I gave it a bit of a remix and re-orchestration. Hope you like it.

Vocals recorded by Studio Pros.


Friday, 19 July 2013

Protea Stage kicked off its SMM campaign

As I promised you, Protea Stage kicked off its Social Media Marketing campaign this week and to make this work, I am going to ask all my readers to help us making it a success.

It took us a while to open all the accounts and figure out all the passwords for the accounts that were open, but, the three main pillars of our campaign is ready to roll:


Yes, everybody needs a youtube account and we got it. Soon we will fill it with lots of exciting content, but for a start, you can watch our video of Cameron (the script writer and director) having fun with the crew singing the sing-along song he co-wrote with me.

Please watch our video. Share the video. AND please subscribe to our channel.

We promise to add some exciting content in the next few weeks, including interviews with our cast and crew.



By following us on our twitter account at @ProteaStage you can make sure that you are the first to hear the news.

Please follow us on twitter. Retweet and share our tweets. This is where you can hear all the talk about us AND don't forget to join in the talks!


Our facebook page will be the centre of all the activity.

Please like our page and become a friend of Protea. Don't forget to like a post and spread the word to your friends.

And off course, most important - mark your diaries for October the 18th when we open in the Benoni town hall.

You can help us make this show a success by helping us spread the word.


Sunday, 14 July 2013

Essential elements of Social Media Marketing

Last time I introduced you to Social Media Marketing (SMM) for theatre. Today I want to talk a bit more in depth about it by introducing the two elements of Social Media Marketing. Without these two elements, your marketing effort is not likely to succeed.

The term Social Media has two parts. The first word of the term is "social". Social means people. To make your campaign work, you need people. More specific, you need to attract lots of people to your campaign. In geek speak, this is called "traffic".

This is one place where the old saying of "you build it and they will come" does not work. If you do not make a effort to bring people to your site, they will not come. Simply opening a Youtube channel or a Facebook account will not do the job for you. You need to tell people about your Youtube and Facebook accounts. In a previous post I told you the best ways to find those people. To get value out of your Social Media campaign, you must bring the fans to your pages. We are talking about the fans of the company, the crew, the cast, the writers, etc. Once you got their attention, you must continuously remind them to return to your site. This can be done by linking your Twitter, Facebook and Youtube accounts, i.e. each time you post a new video, a tweet is send out and a post is created on your Facebook wall. To get more traffic, ask all your fans to spread the word by liking, sharing and re-tweeting. In all your newsletter, have a link to your web site, your Facebook, Youtube and Twitter accounts and make sure that those links are easy to find on your web site.

The second element of Social Media Marketing is the "Media" part of the term. Just getting people to visit your Facebook or Youtube accounts just to find nothing there, is one sure way of scaring them away forever. When they come to your pages, they want to do something here. They want to see something and get some information. This is what the marketing people call "content".

Creating content is important. It is even more important to continue to create fresh content. People want to see something new each time they visit. This means that you must post a new video on Youtube every once in a while, make regular tweets and post new posts on your Facebook wall.

I mentioned the most important Social Media tools above. Each tool has its specific purpose. This is not an exact rule, but you may get best value put of your SMM campaign if you use each tool in different ways.

Youtube is a video site. Use it to post videos. Keep your videos entertaining, educational and informing. A new video once a month might be enough, but more often would not hurt. Do not spam your fans. Daily videos about nothing of interest are likely to scare them away.

Twitter works best for short news messages. Use twitter to tell your fans about a new video or tell them if something interesting happened. Tweets on twitter has a very short shelf life and it is therefore advisable to support your tweets with more permanent pages on your web site or a blog.

Facebook posts also has a short shelf life. Many people have more than 50 friends, each posting something once a day. Most people do not bother to scroll down very far. You therefore have to post regularly and entice them to go to your page where they can find more information. Do not spam your fans. When you post a new video on Youtube, post a link on your wall and ask your friends to like the post. Do not post daily links to old videos. That is just a sure way to scare them away again.

So much for Social Media theory for the day. This week coming, Protea Stage will launch their Social Media campaign. Please follow them on Twitter at @ProteaStage and on Facebook at Protea Stage Production to follow our campaign.

You can also follow me on twitter at @Sepheritoh and on Facebook at Eric Swardt


Saturday, 13 July 2013

The role of social media marketing

I gave you an overview of my theory on marketing for musical theater and I told you about our most important target markets, the people who care about us. Today I want to take this further to introduce the concept of social media marketing and its role in this theory.

Please watch this short animated video.

This is the theory about the knowing and the caring. The people who buy the tickets sit in zone D of our matrix.

Most of the 7 billion people on this earth are sitting in zone A.

The object of marketing is to move people from zone A to zone D.

We can do that by informing them about the show and make them care enough to buy a ticket.

Zone D are the place for the knowing and the caring. Zone C are those who care and are likely to buy a ticket, as long as we let them know.

It is easy to let them know, as long as we know who they are and know how to contact them. Some easy ways to talk to them are email, facebook, twitter and youtube.

That is called social media.


Sunday, 7 July 2013

Talk about democracy - more story boarding

We talked about the concept album. Now we are looking at the concept design.

Since at least hundred years ago, it is fairly common for writers to make simple simple pencil drawings to illustrate ideas or stage designs and stage backdrops for each scene. It is up to the directors to take these drawings further and create those wonderful stage sets we see in musicals. As technology moved on, new ways has emerged to make it even easier for writers to bring their ideas across.

One of the very recent developments is the "animated drawings", which has taken youtube by storm, especially with educational videos. The video here by Minute Earth is an excelent example of how this technique can be used very effectively for science education.

This technology can also be used with great effect in theater. Here is my second video using this idea to illustrate a scene for the musical, The exile.

Talk about democracy, act 1, scene 2.

In this scene, Tyler returns home after an unsuccessful search for a job. At home, he is met by people celebrating freedom day. Tony, who enjoys the free beer on offer, challenges Tyler and complains in general about the lack of progress since the first democratic elections.

If you enjoy these videos, please subscirbe to my channel, like it or share it on youtube, twitter, or facebook.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Set designs and backdrops

This weekend promises to be very busy. Tomorrow will start off with Anne recording in my studio, before we will take the kids of the Aladdin cast to see the Wizard of Oz. This is a fantastic production, starring our own Michael Brownhill as the scarecrow.

For the set, Startimers uses a very clever idea. The backdrop is made up with a huge "book" that fills the whole stage back. During scene changes, the book's pages are simply flipped behind closed curtains. It is very quick and allows for a large number of different scenes, each with a different backdrop.

The day after tomorrow (Sunday) we are getting together at the warehouse to start planning the set for Aladdin. Aladdin will also require a fair number of different scenes, and we may consider the same idea. Alternatively, we may go for the more traditions idea of a large canvas backdrop.

Our previous production, Bottoms up, needed only one set for the whole play. All the scenes were played out inside a living room of a flat in downtown Liverpool. For that production, we designed a "box set". This means we've built the room onstage, complete with doors, cupboards and furniture. A box set allows for far more realistic scenery and more intricate details.

Below is a story board presentation of act 1, scene 1, from the musical, The exile, with the opening song, Freedom day. It shows my idea of the backdrop for this scene.

The exile will require a fair number of different backdrops for the different scenes. The idea of a book as backdrop, as used in the Wizard, may just work very well.