We’re really glad to welcome you to our Theatre Bubble Writing Team – you should have been sent an email with your new login and password details for the Theatre Bubble Site (please check your spam filter if nothing has arrive). Once you sign in for the first time please do change your password to something personal, add as much information as you like to your profile and upload a profile image to sit along side our byline. If you have any problems logging in please do drop us a line – firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are a few quick pointers to get you started – please don’t be put off by the amount of information – once you’ve worked through it once it really is quite simple.
How to post and Article or Review
First off the technical bit – Theatre Bubble is powered by Word Press – a really simple to use content management and publishing platform. If you’ve never used wordpress here’s a guide – http://codex.wordpress.org/Writing_Posts – or there are plenty of you tube tutorials available if you search ‘word press post blog‘. And if all else fails please don’t hesitate to drop us an email and we’ll be able to help.
General Style Guide
Theatre Bubble is aimed at an informed industry audience. So when writing anything for Theatre Bubble please feel free to assume a certain level of knowledge and understanding from the readership. That being said the site should still be accessible – so please do try to keep content enjoyable to read.
We have very few house style rules. If in doubt follow (http://www.theguardian.com/guardian-observer-style-guide-a) otherwise:
1) Always accompany a post or review with a featured image which is uploaded via the box in the right hand column – images should be a minimum of 800px wide x 500px tall.
2) Show titles are Capitalised and italicised never placed in ‘quote marks’
3) When quoting direct speech use double “speech marks”, when quoting the written word such as reviews use ‘single quotations’
4) Always try to include at least one image in the body of your post. For reviews place the image below the first paragraph. For blogs and news place the image before the first paragraph.
Featured images must be a minimum of 800px x 500px in dimension. On Mac you can find out the dimensions of an image by ctrl clicking on the image and then clicking ‘get info’. On a PC right click the image and then select properties. If the image is too small you can search for larger sizes of the image on google. Go to https://images.google.com/ click the camera icon to ‘search by image’ and then upload the version you have. Google will then search the internet for identical copies of your image and display their sizes for you underneath.
If you can find the image you want at the correct size – in the case of reviews you can contact the company and ask them to send you one the correct size. Or if this isn’t possible you’ll need to find a different image. Uploading an image which is too small can break the layout of the site so you’ll just get an error message.
Please do credit all images and make sure you have the permission of the copyright holder to reproduce the image.
Categories, Tags and SEO/Keywords
So you’ve gone to all the trouble of writing a great post – the important thing now is that people can find it. Both search engines like google, and the internal search function on the website rely on categories, tags and keywords to find relevant articles.
This is called ‘taxonomy’ and it’s basically about how information is labelled and stored. Theatre Bubble uses three levels of taxonomy first the highest level are Categories, then Tags and finally Keywords. Each level is less specific and will have more terms listed under it.
These are: Reviews, News, Spotlight, Blogs, Interviews, Opinions, Guides
These are the most important labels you give your articles. In general you should only have one category per post. In some exceptional cases you may have a maximum of two – if for example there is a Spotlight piece which in an Interview – the article could be both Spotlight and Interview. But in general choose only the single most appropriate.
You can have up to 4 tags per article or review – once again less is more. The purpose of the tag is to highlight the main content / people / places mentioned in the post. The most important things to tag are:
Author / Lead Actor / Director
City or Festival (if review) – (eg London, Manchester, Edinburgh Fringe 2018 etc)
Issue / Campaign – (eg Low Pay / No Pay, Crowdfunding etc)
Theatrical Style – (eg Dance, Physical Theatre, Mime etc. Never just Theatre)
Choose whichever 4 you think are most important for people searching. For reviews always include the venue and city. Please don’t duplicate a tag that repeats a catagory eg tagging something with ‘Review’ when you’ve already given it the category ‘Review’ – the point of the tags are to add additional information to the categories.
SEO & Keywords:
With new updates to Yoast and WordPress, you can now only have one keyword or phrase for each article. Please go by the following rules for working out how to pick.
- Pick the show title – for example if you were reviewing School of Rock, the word may be ‘School or Rock’. If you’re reviewing Tosca, then ‘Tosca’ is a safe bet.
- If your word or phrase gives you an ‘orange’ response from Yoast (which operates under a traffic light system) then please ask yourself if this is the correct word or phrase that people would search for when googling your article. If it is then please edit your post to repeat that word more in your text so you receive a green score. If it is not then choose a more appropriate keyword that gives you a green score.
Once you have your key word, you will have to specify a Snippet (also referred to as a Meta Description) which is around 150 characters long. Yoast will tell you if your Snippet is either too short (orange) or too long (red). Whatever you write here, please do make sure the Snippet contains the keyword.
Please feel free to review any production you wish. We are also happy for you to contact venues or production companies to request single press comps – please don’t request more than one ticket though. In order to make sure that we’re not all writing to the same people – if you do want to contact a venue or production company to request a comp – just drop us an email to email@example.com and we can confirm no one else got there before you. The basic things to include when requesting a comp are the night(s) you’re free to attend, a link to a previous review you’ve written on Theatre Bubble so they have a sample of your work – and a little bit about Theatre Bubble itself. Here’s a sample couple of sentences you can use:
Theatre Bubble is dedicated to giving the view from within the theatre industry, from reviews, to news as well as comment and blogs. We have a monthly readership of over 6,000 unique users, and a weekly newsletter with over 900 subscribers.
If you do receive tickets for a show please make sure you attend, and publish your review promptly. Ideally within 24hrs but never any later than 48hrs. If for any reason you can’t attend please let the company know as soon as possible so they can resell your ticket.
Review House Style
There are a few things to keep in mind when publishing reviews and articles. Please always include:
1) A featured image which is uploaded via the box in the right hand column.
2) Inset the image into the body of the text after the first paragraph, the image should be left aligned and sit below the review information box as here At the bottom of your review please include show / booking information, with bold as displayed eg:
My Imaginary Show will be continuing its run at A Made Up Theatre till 31st February at 19:00 every day except Mondays. You can book your tickets from 0979 993 0000 or www.madeuptheatre.com
CAST AND CREW
Artistic Director: Jayne Doe
Director: Tom Smith
Assistant Director: John Doe
Production Manager and Lighting Designer: Anot Herperson
Sound Designer: Stillmore People
Producer: Al Mostdone
Cast: Someo Nelse, Youget Theidea, Fin Alone
4) Review Settings Box- when writing a review please include the following information in the review settings box below the main article:
– Name = TITLE OF SHOW
– Type = LEAVE BLANK
– Author Name = COMPANY or THEATRE PRODUCING WORK
– Version = LEAVE BLANK
– URL = WEB ADDRESS OF SHOW WEBSITE INCLUDING HTTP:// eg (http://www.fingerinthepie.com)
– Price = SHOW PRICE eg £15/12 Concessions
– Review Summary = SINGLE LINE SUMMING UP YOUR REVIEW
– Select Rating (Out of 5) 5 = Excellent, 4 = Good, 3 = Average, 2 = poor, 1= very poor
I know lots of people hate star ratings – but I’m afraid they’re built into the way the site publishes reviews – so if you leave it blank it’ll just register as a zero star review!
5) Theme SEO Setting – in the Custom Post/Page Meta Keywords box – please include a comma separated list of everyone in the cast and crew, the name of the show, the production company and the venue name.
6) Keep it positive – the function of the site is to be useful to theatre makers – even if you really didn’t like the show there should still be something in your review that everyone involved could take away to encourage them and help them improve their next work.
7) Once you’re happy select the category on the right hand side: ‘Review’ – please don’t ever add new categories.
Love them or loathe them star ratings are a corner stone of the current theatre reviews. Please follow the guide below when deciding how many stars to give:
1 Star – The show is offensive, insulting or feels like it has deceived audiences and given them a horrible theatrical experience (pretty much self explanatory, I think we’ve only given one 1 star in the last twelve months)
2 Star – Bear in mind a 2 star review can still be doing 40% right. You should never feel bad about giving 2 stars – audiences need to know, as do the performers themselves. Feedback is key. For these shows, despite the good in them there are simply too many shortcomings to make the show enjoyable or funny.
3 Star – This is where the majority of shows should lie. A 3 star show means a solid theatrical experience – a good night out. You can enjoy a 3 star show, you can learn from a 3 star show. It’s doing more things right than it isn’t – there’s just a missing piece of the puzzle they’ve yet to find that would make it a great show.
4 Star – This is when a show really starts to impress – it teaches you something you’ve never realised, or blown you away theatrically and left you exiting the theatre itching to see it all over again. This is an exceptionally good show you would recommend everyone should see.
5 Stars – This is a perfect piece of theatre: a show that you feel has changed your life or your idea of what theatre is and can do. Every beat, every second, was perfect, you would change nothing. It is a show you will remember and talk about for decades to come. 5 star shows are a rarity, if you find yourself wanting to give out more than one five star review in 100 you should seriously question it. Theatrical perfection is very hard to reach.
Other Articles, News or Blogs
Please feel free to publish any other content you like to Theatre Bubble. As long as it is about theatre and is helpful and relevant to other theatre makers we want to read it. Again all we ask is that you keep it positive. The site is there to help, support and encourage theatre makers. That’s not to say you can’t post contentious or challenging points of view, indeed we encourage it, but please don’t publish anything which could in anyway hurt or harm any theatre makers, or their careers.
If the piece is factual please select the category ‘News’, if it is opinion based please select ‘Opinion’ – once again please don’t create any new categories – lets keep it simple! If in doubt just submit without a category and our editors can assign one they think fits best.
There’s no point in writing your article if no one reads it! So make sure you let people know when it goes live. The most recent five articles will be automatically emailed out to our daily and weekly newsletters (if you haven’t already sign up via the box at the bottom of this page) – but we’ve found that around two thirds of all hits to Theatre Bubble come from social media – so do post links to your facebook page and tweet the link making sure you @ anyone involved and @theatrebubble so we can re-tweet for you.