Publicizing the dickens out of your Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens has no idea what he’s done! This holiday season, in the United States alone, dozens of stage adaptations of A Christmas Carol will be performed across hundreds of venues.

There’s a stage version of A Christmas Carol to suit every taste. And there are just as many ways to publicize the show. The following is a sampling of how some theaters are marketing their Dickens-inspired holiday offerings.

Some stage adaptations of the classic story are staged-readings of the book, like the Dignity Players version. To communicate this important distinction to the viewer, the theater’s design literally includes A BOOK as a visual element. (Sometimes the most obvious solution is the best!)

Also, this graphic doesn’t shy away from the spooky elements of the story. As a staged-reading, this production is likely to draw more adults than tiny tots, so what’s the harm? And the adults are assured that this is NOT a children’s theater production.

On the other hand, if you are doing the Samuel French version translated by Romulus Linney, then you might opt for this serious, “sh*% is getting real” version. 

Design Tip! Illustrations used in some early Dickens printings now reside in the public domain, and are therefore available for purchase. This image of Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Future is one of four easy-to-find and legal-to-use renderings.


Or perhaps your organization is more like The Colonial Players, Inc., a community theater that produces its own original musical adaptation of the Dickens classic. For the last 35 years, the musical has been produced as a holiday gift to the local community. This is definitely a family show --- despite how many youngsters leave the theater screaming when Jacob Marley appears --- so the graphic wants to appeal to young and old alike.

The theater’s 2016 design is unique in that it depicts an event that the audience never actually sees on stage: the moment after Scrooge takes hold of the Ghost of Christmas Past and flies off into the night. The action isn’t normally staged for the obvious reason that most productions don’t have Lion King-sized budgets. Illustrating such a scene, however, provides an added bonus for the ticket-buying public: it appeals to their imaginations. They are engaged by the unscripted moment that’s come to life before their eyes in this publicity graphic. (It's like a DVD outtake!) They get a taste of the show’s magic before they even enter the theater. What's more, the design has an appropriately cinematic appeal that is attractive to modern theater-goers.

Which leads us back to YOU.

What Dickens adaptation or holiday show do you produce?
Musical? Staged reading? Spoof? 
And what does your poster look like?

We’d LOVE to see what you are doing.
Tell us where to find your design
in the Comment section below.

OR email a pdf/jpeg to

Bonus Feature!

You’ll believe a man can fly!”

(Finally! I’ve waited decades to use the tagline from the original “Superman” film!)

Anyway, We worked with the show’s producer and scheduled a photoshoot where we photographed the actors against a backdrop. This shoot was more challenging than some because we were attempting to create the illusion of flight -- and because our actors are seniors. So no, harnesses were not an option. Instead the photographer got creative: he shoot from a high angle and thereby created a sense of foreshortening. We also added movement to the Ghost’s diaphanous clothing with a simple fan. Similarly, we did some shots in which the photo assistant was literally pulling back the end of Scrooge’s cap in the frame. We’d later go back in and digitally remove the assistant, leaving a cap that looked as if was bending in the wind.

Photoshop and magic did the rest!