Talent shows often are a memorable school experience. Students get to show off their dance steps or magic skills to their peers. Schools could raise money. Everybody has fun. It could also turn into a comedy of errors if the proper preparation isn’t taken. Every detail needs to be worked out in advance. If nobody notices the director, then she’s doing a good job.
How to Make a School Talent Show a Success
Define success. Many schools use talent shows as major fund-raisers for school programs. They approach businesses for advertisements. It could be a failure if the school doesn’t turn a profit no matter how much fun it was. Others have talent shows to reward and entertain the students.
Know the school district’s fund-raising and extracurricular policy. The talent show might have to be covered under the school’s umbrella insurance policy and meet the non-profit status of the school. The content might not jive with the school’s mission. You would hate to have to cancel the show at the last minute or get sued for an injury that occurred during the show.
Have the logistics settled. You are going to have a lot of angry relatives if you book a room for 50 people and 150 show up. Are you going to sell refreshments? Do you want parents to bake cookies to sell? While the emphasis is on the kids performing, the behind-the-scenes details need to be worked out.
Delegate tasks to several people. Trying to run an entire show yourself could be overwhelming and lead to mishaps. The Physicians for Human Rights recommends that each member or volunteer should be in charge of something and set deadlines to make sure it’s completed in time during a fund-raising event. That advice is also applicable for a non-fundraiser talent show.
Make sure the talent is ready. Post tryouts far in advance and have several practices. There should be one final dress rehearsal for everyone, from the performers to the person in charge of the CD player.
Put a program together. You could include photos and short bios of the performers. It makes for a nice keepsake and helps the audience. It’s also a good opportunity to sell ads to local businesses and parents wishing their children luck.
Try to include students who aren’t showcasing their talent. There are plenty of opportunities to involve the whole class, from controlling the lighting to filming the show.
For elementary and middle school, the emphasis doesn’t have to be about who performs the best. Teachers should encourage participation at that age group.
A.M. David's articles have appeared in "The Washington Post" and several regional publications in a career spanning more than 15 years. He has also written for the "Princeton Packet" chain. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.