External Events: Exhibitions

Exhibition events are the most common type of event for student groups that focus on performances.

Exhibition events are the most common type of event for student groups that focus on performances such as debate, theater, mock trial, ballroom dance, etc. Because these events involve presenting in front of an audience, start by considering your subject matter, group popularity, and style of presentation. These factors will play into how large an audience you attract. The size of your expected audience will drive the logistics for your event, especially which venue you select. One of the best ways to judge a potential audience size is rely on precedent. Unless you radically change your performance, the audience that you attracted last year will likely be around the same size as the audience you will attract this year. If you’re a new group, be conservative about selecting a venue that’s too large. It’s preferable to have too many people in a small venue – thus making your event seem popular – than it is to have too few people in a large venue. 
Plan for the following:
  1. Location – Once you’ve determined the type of event you will hold and the audience you’ll likely attract, select a suitable venue and reserve it ahead of time to ensure you have a proper space for your event. Some venues book out months in advance, so it’s important that you do not dawdle. Booking a venue early will also give you a sense of how many tickets you will need to sell in order to recoup your costs.
  2. Processing – Determine how people will access your event. Do they need tickets? Do they need to register? Do they just need to show up in their best Pokémon attire? These logistics should be planned ahead of time, the process should be laid out, and the necessary tools created or acquired. Once you’ve determined how people will access your event, build out a timeline when you will need individuals to flyer, sell tickets, and promote the show.
  3. Stress Test – At each stage of your event, there will be opportunities for things to go wrong. Have contingency plans for the likely issues. In addition, train your members to deal with crises. Have them simulate the event, what could go wrong, and what they would need to do to reorient the ship. Some great checkpoints to test and simulate are activities at the registration table, logistics at the beginning of the show, logistics while the show is running, procedures during intermission, and procedures for clean-up after the show.
  4. Advertise – You’ll want to promote knowledge of your event about three to four weeks in advance so that people can put the show date in their calendars. If your exhibition requires tickets, they can be sold up until the date of the show. However, the vast majority of your flyering, reminding, and social media outreach will happen a week or two before you event. If you need people to register early, adjust your timeline accordingly. Three to four weeks before the registration deadline, notify, and one to two weeks before, remind.

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