Putting on a clown show?
So, your club has decided to perform at a nursing home or care facility. How fun!
You’ve done all the preparation. You built your props, collected your costumes, and practiced your skits. Some organized soul in your clown club has put together a line-up for the show. You have music, a backdrop, and someone to announce the show! Everyone in the club has driving directions to the care center and car pools have been arranged.
There is a feeling of excitement in the air! “Last year when we came they were so happy to have us, they baked us cookies!” said one of your clown members.
What could possibly go wrong?
How about this for a snafu: The care center forgot to tell folks your club was coming.
This actually happened recently!
Here is what we experienced:
We arrived at the facility and went to the room our show was supposed to be in. There was an event sheet put up on the door that said “Jewelry Sale from 3-5pm, followed by Bingo and a catered meal”. No mention of the clown show.
When we showed up we felt like we were an afterthought, a nuisance.
The poor jewelry lady at 6pm was still taking down her display, right in the middle of where we needed to set up. Bless her heart, she had one speed — slow. Our show was scheduled for 7pm. When we finally started to get set up at one end of the community room (a small room), a game of bingo was going on at the other end with a small handful of people. We didn’t even know it and had to be told to be quiet as they couldn’t hear the person calling out the numbers.
The backdrop got put up quickly, props in place, and the show did go on. There were a dozen or so happy people who loved the show and a family that showed up in the middle of the performance with a couple of kids. Great! The clown club had a genuinely wonderful time, as did the audience.
But in the end I thought: “What could we have done to help get the word out about our great show?” I came up with a few ideas and wanted to share them with you!
Be more proactive in your promotion
Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn! Not every facility or organization knows how to promote a clown show. How many times has the advertising said face painting and “clown”? In this day and age of scary clown images we need to be our own best advocate. Don’t assume that the staff at the center will remember to help you with promotion. Take action and give them all the tools they need to help make sure you have an audience!
Here is a sample of the easy-to-print poster we created for our clown club to use for future events. Notice we use an actual photograph of our group! That is important. If you see the cute bunch of clowns on the poster it replaces the image of a scary clown some people might have. I suggest you use a picture of the clowns that do the shows as opposed to a picture of all the clowns in the group that might show up for a bigger event. Truth in advertising! We also use our logo. That shows that we are legitimate, like a REAL club. Wow, a group that actually has their act together!
I can only imagine how many residents would have shown up if this little poster the size of a piece of typing paper would have been put up around the facility. Notice there is a blank space that can be filled in with the When and Where. Keep it a simple to email to the activities director. Encourage them to print it off and post it in a prominent place. Sometimes folks just need to be reminded.
Download this MS Word document to use for your clown club and personalize it on your computer!
Send an email to the director. Here is a template you can copy and save to your computer to use for each booking:
The Clown around clown club is very excited to be coming to Park View Dec. 15th! Help us get the word out about our fun family-friendly show. Attached you will find an easy to print poster you can use to tell everyone all about it! Please share this information with your residents and any one on your staff who can help spread the word about this fun joy-filled event. If you have any questions, please let us know.
Then provide appropriate contact information. Send it out two weeks before your event. Any earlier than that and it will get lost.
Send another reminder email one week before the event, with the poster attached again. Try something like this wording:
Now would be a great time to remind everyone that the clowns are coming! Please put up the attached poster so no one misses the fun! The Clown Arounds are so excited to be bringing joy to your facility. Let’s spread the word!
A little nudge might be all a busy staff member needs to get the word out about the clowns coming.
I would love to hear about your experiences performing at care centers and nursing facilities.
Write a comment below with your best tip for making your show a success!
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Whether you want to join the circus, visit nursing homes, run your own birthday party business, paint faces, or twist balloons, there is something just for you at Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp.
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