As the end of term, and probably the end of term concert, approaches, here at MWC we have been thinking about exactly what it takes to make a great show. 
You’ll be able to read all of our ideas soon in our new resource pack on concert organising, but for now, here are some of our top tips for a successful evening… 
Preparation and Rehearsal 
The performers need to know all of their pieces or lines, but make sure you don’t over-rehearse. Your show will be flat and uninteresting if performers (and staff) are fed up with the material before they go on stage. 
Check that anyone speaking is facing the audience so their voice carries. Find a focal point at the back of the hall for performers to speak to. 
Have a dress rehearsal. A run-through in performance order helps build confidence for the night. 
If performers are walking on stage in a particular order, check they know which person to stand next to. Line them up outside the performance space and practice walking on. 
Keep costumes, props and scenery simple. Don’t ask parents to supply costumes: it’s a nightmare for people who don’t consider themselves “arty”. It’s worth contacting your local amateur dramatics society, operatic group or theatre to see if they would mind lending you what you need. 
Consider copyright and PRS issues. The music publisher can advise you on this. 
What happens if your piano accompanist is ill on the night? Do you have someone who could cover or is it worth recording the music as back up? 
Will you record the performance (audio, video or photograph)? Do you have the appropriate permissions from all the parents? Will you allow parents to record the performance or will you sell copies of your recording? 
If you have an active PTA or other parent group, get them involved. They could make costumes, props and scenery, help backstage, sell refreshments or help with front-of-house duties. 
The Performance 
A good front-of-house team is essential. They will be responsible for greeting the audience, directing them to their seats (the toilets, the refreshments) and stewarding in the event of an evacuation. 
Whoever introduces the concert should announce fire and evacuation procedures. It’s also helpful to let people know where the toilets are, whether there will be an interval, if refreshments are available in the interval or after the performance and how to collect performers after the show. 
If you have instrumental performers, make sure they have help tuning their instruments. Allow plenty of time to tune stringed instruments. Check that performers have everything they need; spare strings, reeds, mutes… 
When performers aren’t using their instruments, they need somewhere to put them, particularly the percussion instruments which can make a sound with the slightest movement. Collect instruments straight after a performance (this can be worked into the staging) or organise for them to be put on the floor. 
Performers should be encouraged to smile and bow after their performance. Practice this in the dress rehearsal. Bowing acknowledges the audience’s applause and allows the performers their moment of glory. 
People who help with preparation, costumes, props, scenery, lighting, should be thanked. A thank-you card signed by the performers is a nice touch, and key supporters should be acknowledged before the end of the concert. 
After the Performance 
Make sure you’ve collected any equipment you need and that younger performers have all been picked up by their parents. 
How will you celebrate the successful performance? An after-show party for the organisers, arranged by someone other than you, is a great way to share the post-concert buzz. 
Good luck with your show! 
If you have questions about any aspect of your Christmas performance, email us at and we’ll send you a reply. We’ll also share the questions and responses with others. Or why not join in our Twitter Q&A on Thursday 28th November between 4 – 5pm. Tweet us your questions @musicworkshopco and we’ll respond. 
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