"All the world's a stage" is a famous line written by Williams Shakespeare. It's from his play, As You Like It and continues, "And all the men and women merely players; And one man in his time plays many parts..." Here's a story about how a shirt design helped build a brand for a small volunteer organization.
A group of volunteers who are passionate not only about Shakespeare but keeping the arts alive in a small Pennsylvania town volunteer their time every Summer to honor this great poet. Their nonprofit group is Schuylkill Free Shakespeare. The group made of all ages, skill levels and walks of life spend hours practicing their craft so they are prepared to entertain the community with fabulous outdoor productions. Community members, family, and friends are invited to enjoy the plays free of charge and attend they do. The audience packs the house for every single performance. Shakespeare Free Theatre performs two shows per day for four days and what they are doing is making a positive difference in their community.
But it takes more than just actors to make their productions successful. There is a team that stays behind the scenes when the curtain is opened. They are some of the most important actors in the show. They don't have to deliver any lines, but they have to know the lines. They don't have to know just one part, they have to know all the parts. That is a few reasons why they wear the same shirts, that include the group's logo. The stage crew is instrumental in planning the show's logistics, helping the actors with their lines and cues, running the lights, the audio, and all the special effects. The actors depend on the stage crew to do their job so they can successfully do theirs. Before during and after the director calls, "action!" they have to be visible and attainable by everyone in the show. Wearing the same shirt makes this is possible. Sarah Williams is one of the stage managers.
"It was important to build a brand for Schuylkill Free Theatre if it was going to be successful. We first started encouraging all the volunteers to wear the shirts during rehearsal so we could get to know one another. Then, the shirts provided a sense of belonging. We grew into a family." She continued to explain how the shirts are increasing in importance as the group grows. "We need to be available to the public, too."
In addition to the scheduled performances, there are many other activities for the public before and after the shows. Volunteers work in the concession stand and beer garden, welcome guests and serve as ushers for the show. "There are many pieces to our puzzle and the same shirts help our audience find us and keep the flow going." Williams explained that when she wears her shirt outside show times, people stop her and ask questions about Schuylkill Free Shakespeare including, "when is the next show," "how do I donate to the nonprofit, what role do you play," as well as many others. "Thanks to our shirts, we're like walking billboards," she said. This proves that the shirt's design is establishing this group's brand, before during and after the curtain call.
Since Schuylkill Free Shakespeare is a nonprofit, fundraising events are necessary to generate funding for their productions. Getting community engagement is key to the group's success. Williams explained that fans continually stop and ask her where they can purchase a shirt. The group listened and started a shirt fundraiser. Now, the community is not only helping to spread the word but is also helping to build and grow the group's brand simply by wearing the same shirt. Bravo!
Theatre Website: https://schuylkillfreeshakespeare.org/