Brisa’s Pieces: The Value of Well Placed Swag

Brisa’s Pieces: The Value of Well Placed Swag

I was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin earlier this week for an opening night performance of a brand new musical about Janis Joplin at the beautiful Milwaukee Rep. As I walked into the theater, the ushers were handing out programs and... glow sticks!

As the opening night audience members passed through the door, the simple act of being handed a glow stick let the patrons know that this wasn’t going to be your ordinary theater experience. The little illuminated plastic tubes implied participation immediately and when the talented singer/actress playing Janis took the stage, the audience waved their props right on cue, harkening back to the lighters of the 70’s.

Now, glow sticks certainly aren’t appropriate for every show, but in this day and age where audiences want to be part of the action more than ever before, giving them a prop or a piece of swag that invites them to participate can go a long way toward enhancing their theater going experience.

We all love “free stuff” and being handed an unexpected gift will immediately make your patrons smile and feel like they are part of the show. Try it, you’ll see.

I’ve seen some great examples.

At a production of GODSPELL audiences members were given a wild flower on the way in.

At THE WEDDING SINGER we were given LED “lighters” with the theater’s logo emblazoned on them (I saved mine, too).

There are lots of creative swag that you can provide. The cost is minimal and the value can be enormous.

Have you had success with show swag? Please share you story!

Read all of Brisa’s Pieces here.

You can reach Brisa on twitter: @brisatrinchero. I also blog about the art and business of new musicals at I look forward to hearing from you!