Friday, 17 October 2008

#42 – Using theatre productions as a hook

Or how the big shows can work in your favour.

Rude French people
Sometimes a travel writer can have an odd experience when reading their own stories in print. And when I saw the piece I wrote about (what I believe to be) the myth of rude French people for an Australian newspaper, I did a bit of a double take.

Monty Python’s Spamalot
The editor had done a bit of editing, judiciously picked a picture and suddenly my piece was linked to the opening of Monty Python’s Spamalot in Melbourne. I guess the link was that the production featured rude Frenchmen, but it was a little unexpected.

Topical hook
But it does go to show how popular a topical hook is with editors, no matter how tenuous. And when I saw that piece, it got me thinking – theatre productions can be just as useful to hook a story to as films or books.

City-based newspapers
This is particularly true in city-based newspapers (as opposed to genuinely national ones such as those in the UK). For the readership, there is a link with something happening in their city. But how could this work with other productions?

Mamma Mia
Well, I’ll choose a few examples from recent years. Mamma Mia, the ABBA musical, could easily be used for a piece about Sweden – in particular if it includes something on Stockholm’s ABBA Museum, or the Hotel Rival, which is owned by Benny from the group.

And there’s more...
Starlight Express? A rollerskating tour of anywhere, or a something about learning to rollerskate. Lord of the Rings? Tolkien’s hangouts in the UK or the filming locations from the movies in New Zealand. We Will Rock You? Something on Zanzibar, where Freddy Mercury was born, perhaps.

Tenuous – but commissionable
All of these are ridiculously tenuous, but there’s a good chance of them getting commissioned if proposed at the right time.

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