This one is for publicists

Vancouver theatre, publicists, publicity

Publicists and critics: lets get the word out together

I want to start by saying a big thank-you to Vancouver theatre publicists. In so many ways, all of you make my life—and, I’m sure, the lives of all of the other critics—so much easier. You help to make us look smart and informed, which must sometimes feel like an uphill battle.

I have nothing but gratitude for the way that most professional publicists do their jobs. But there are one or two little tweaks that I’d like to suggest to the pros, and there are some more fundamental requests that I’d like to reiterate for folks who don’t necessarily do this kind of work as often.


Sound like a plan? Alright, here goes:

1. Please SEND ALL PHOTOS TO PHOTOS@STRAIGHT.COM. That’s what most publicists do and it’s the most efficient way to go. If you send photos to me, I will assume that you’ve also sent them to the Straight.

2. When you send photos to the Straight, PLEASE CC ME ON THOSE PHOTOS. That’s especially helpful now that I’m writing this blog and doing theatre picks every weekend.

3. Please clearly LIST THE MEDIA OPENING and not just the date of the first preview. Yes, I know, this is a favourite bugaboo of mine :-), but I want to emphasize it again. Just yesterday, I had to rejig two weeks’ worth of shows because a publicist had listed the first preview of a show as its opening night.

4. Please list the media opening ON ALL PRESS MATERIALS. Whatever you send me first, I’ll enter that date in my book. If you send me an original release that doesn’t list the media opening, and then send me a subsequent release, invitations, or whatever that does, it’s unlikely that I’ll go back and double-check the date; I’ll assume that you got it right the first time.

5. Please INCLUDE A PHONE NUMBER that I can use to contact you. Remember: as critics, we’re often working to deadlines; if I need to get in touch with you, I want to be able to do so quickly—and email responses can be sluggish.

6. Please BE AVAILABLE THE DAY AFTER YOUR SHOW OPENS. That’s when critics are likely to have questions, after all. Even with major companies, it’s sometimes hard to get in touch with the publicist the day after a show. I don’t get it.

7. With musicals, if the program doesn’t do so, please INCLUDE A SONG LIST in your press materials.

And that’s it! Not earth-shattering, I know, but I hope it clarifies a few things.

And thanks again.



About Colin Thomas

Colin Thomas is a Vancouver-based editor, an award-winning playwright, and an established theatre critic. Colin helps writers unlock the full potential of their novels, short stories, screenplays, and children's books.

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