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Talent Show Creation Checklist Template

Schools and Education

How to organize a talent show.

Organize Your Show

Task list

  • Choose the type of talent show you want
  • Create a budget
  • Create an organizational committee
  • Create a support staff
  • Make sure the location of the event is available

1. Choose the type of talent show you want. Decide if you want an exhibition or fundraising show. Decide on the kind of performances you are looking for and if it will be a competition. Once you have decided, then you can choose the appropriate venue and staff. 

  • If the show is a competition, decide on the rewards for the winners. Make a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place with tiered awards. Consider making a winner for each performance category.
  • Create a judging criteria. If you have judges, create categories and a point system. For example, 20 points for originality, 20 points for costume, etc. Create penalties for exceeding the time limit to keep the competition fair.

2. Create a budget. The budget is the lifeline of your show. You will have to host your show at a venue, advertise for it, and buy supplies. Determine the size of your show and how large the budget needs to be to make it successful. 

  • Find sponsors to help raise money to host the show and provide awards.[1]
  • Application fees and ticket sales will help pay back your initial expenses.
  • Set a spending limit for each show category such as advertising and rental fees.

3. Create an organizational committee. Assemble a group of community members - such as parents, local business owners, and teachers - and form a committee. This committee will help plan, promote, and organize the talent show.[2] 

  • An organizational committee will not only help take the pressure off of you, but will also give you support in emergencies.
  • Designate a treasurer to keep track of your budget and expenses.

4. Choose a venue. Think about the size of your show. You want to be able to accommodate the size of your audience. If the show is small and the performers require minimal technical assistance, then a small meeting hall is the best. Larger halls require more advanced technical setups with PA systems. 

  • Find a local school or theater to host the event. If you work with a place that already has the venue, contact the person in charge of its schedule.
  • Remember your audience. Depending on the venue you choose, you will have the provide adequate seating. If you choose an empty hall, for instance, you have the choice to set up rows of folding chairs or tables for the audience to sit.

5. Set your date. Set your date as soon as possible. You want to make sure your venue is available and secure it. Plan your date around other major events the show’s participants might have. For instance, if your show is full of students, then you want to plan around tests.[4]

6. Create a support staff. You will need people who are not performing or judging to help run the show. You will need stagehands and a stage manager, sound and light operators, and judges (if it is competitive) at the very least. Recruit people in the community who want to help but do not want to perform.[5] 

  • It’s important to think about every aspect of your show. You will need people to set-up, run the show, attend to the audience, and clean up.
  • Host a tech training day. Some people without technical experience may wish to help with the technical aspects of the show. Holding a technical training day will help them gain experience and be able to help run your talent show.

Holding Auditions

Task list

  • Create an application for participants
  • Advertise your auditions
  • Find a place to hold auditions
  • Have participants sign in when they arrive
  • Create a schedule
  • Limit the audition time

1. Create an application for participants. Applications keep records of the participants as well as set parameters and legal agreements. This helps you organize participants according to the show's categories and keep track of their technical needs. Indicate anything that is unacceptable for your show. For example, if you do not want nudity or pyrotechnics, stipulate that on the application. 

  • Make sure participants under 18 get the signatures of their legal guardians to participate.
  • List the categories of the talent show so that the participants can check where their performance falls under.
  • Charge an application fee to create a larger reward and to help with the costs of running the show.
  • Indicate when the prizes will be disbursed.

2. Advertise your auditions. Make flyers that tell the time, date, and place that you are holding auditions. Indicate the age range, type of performances, and awards. Tell them where they can apply.[6] 

  • List the application fee if there is one.
  • Specify if you want them to be in their stage apparel.
  • Provide relevant contact information in case anyone has questions about their act or your show.

3. Find a place to hold auditions. You will want to book a spot where everyone can perform their act at full volume with plenty of space. Choose a time that works well for both the judges and performers. For instance, if the judges work during the day or the performers got to school, hold the auditions on a weeknight or on the weekend. 

  • Any off-site hall, dance studio, or gym makes a great spot to hold auditions .
  • Do not use someone’s home. You will not be able to hold the amount of people auditioning, and you will bringing strangers into your house. If anything goes wrong, then the owner of the home can be held liable.
  • Make sure the performers have a space where they can wait and practice before their audition

4. Have participants sign in when they arrive. Have a check-in sheet. This will help you keep track of the how many people are auditioning and allow you to schedule their audition times.

5. Create a schedule. This schedule will be based on how many people have arrived and signed in. Let the performers know when they will be auditioning so they can leave and come back if necessary.

6. Limit the audition time. This gives everybody an equal amount of time. This will also keep the schedule on track. Use a light or sound to let the participant know when their time is up.

Advertising Your Show

Task list

  • Use the internet
  • Create an information hotline
  • Use word of mouth
  • Create posters
  • Create announcements

1. Advertise for the show. You need to get the word out so you have an audience! There are many ways to advertise. Make fliers that let people know the time, date, and location of the show. Be sure to list the type of performers you will have to create excitement. 

  • Advertise well in advance for you show so people can make plans to attend.
  • If you know someone who is great at graphic design, then recruit them! This can be a very cost-effective way to make professionally designed flyers.
  • Place flyers at local universities, performance spots, and coffee shops to attract not only an audience but performers as well. [7]
  • If you are selling tickets, advertise where they can be purchased. If you are selling tickets ahead of time or online, be sure to include that information.

2. Use the internet. Create a Facebook Page, Twitter, and Google+ account for your show. Send reminders amount the date and time. Highlight the performers to generate buzz.[8] 

  • Find a local community member who is willing to build website for your show that provides all the details for the event. If you have enough funds, consider hiring someone for this purpose.

3. Create an information hotline. This line will be used to answer any questions a performer or an audience member might have. 

  • Have volunteers answer the line. Make sure you set hours for the hotline so that the volunteers are no overworked.

4. Use word of mouth. Tell everyone you know and encourage them to do the same. The more excitement you show, the more likely they are to tell others about your talent show. This is one of the very best, and most cost-effective, ways to advertise your talent show.

Running the Show

Task list

  • Have everyone arrive early
  • Perform a stage check
  • Set up the ticket booth
  • Set up food stands
  • Start the show
  • Clean up

1. Have everyone arrive early. Make sure everyone arrives at the venue an hour to and and hour and a half early. That way you have time to deal with any major issues before the show. 

  • Use this time to go over all the logistics of the show with your committee and volunteers.
  • Make sure that everybody is informed of any last minute changes.
  • Create an emergency phone line. Either purchase a new line or designate someone’s phone for emergency calls. Keep this number separate from your informational line. This line will be for performers who are running late or unable to attend.

2. Perform a stage check. Assemble the tech crew to make sure the lights and sound are working. Check with the backstage manager that all the performers have arrived and are backstage preparing for their routine.[9] 

  • Have the tech crew check the lights. Make sure to have replacements bulbs in case any lights are out.
  • Have the tech crew check the sound also. Have replacement cables and back-up equipment in case something does not work.
  • Make sure the performers have everything they need for their act such as musical instruments, laptops, or screens.

3. Set up the ticket booth. Place a small table at the main entrance of your venue. Have two volunteers work the booth. They will collect tickets from people who bought their tickets in advance. They will also sell tickets. 

  • Have a cash box with plenty of change. Make sure the treasurer keeps track of how much money is in the box before and after to check that against the amount of tickets sold.

4. Set up food stands. Decide on what kind of food you want to sell before the show. Pre-packaged snacks require far less effort than selling hot food. If you wish to serve hot food, you will have much more to clean and prepare. 

  • Comply with the local ordinances to avoid being fined. You will most likely need someone with food safety training to handle the food. You will also have to comply with fire safety requirements.
  • Bring disposable utensils and dishes so you do not have to wash dishes. Provide a place to recycle them.
  • Bring cleaning supplies, such as wiping cloths and a bucket to rinse them in. Use bleach in the bucket water to keep them clean.
  • Have a cash box for the food stand as well.

5. Start the show. Have the Master of Ceremonies start the show and introduce the performers. Take this time to enjoy the performers, but be ready to handle any questions or situations as they arise. 

  • Make sure you have an announcer or M.C. to engage the audience in between acts. This will keep the audience engaged and give the stagehands time to set up the next act.

6. Clean up. Make sure to clean the venue after the show is over. If you have a volunteer staff, gather them together as everyone is leaving. You want to leave the venue in better shape than when you arrived. 

  • Designate teams to clean certain areas. This will make cleaning faster and more organized.