Currently BDTC. are in the middle of putting together the final phase marketing material for Much Ado About Nothing. Mostly, this involves writing on pictures of people cuddling / slapping each other in the face with cake from Tesco (BDTC. photoshoots are always good fun). It also means writing marketing blurbs & building a programme.

I love a programme. I think most theatregoers do. As a teenager, I collected dozens of RSC programmes & I have some very fond memories of sitting in a flatmate's room in my first year at university, going through her collection of the same. The RSC make some cracking programmes. Great big ones for the main stage, long elegant ones for the Swan, with that slightly rough texture on the covers. The essays, too. Brilliant, brilliant essays. Germaine Greer on heroic doubt in Hamlet. A BBC journalist on violence & dictatorships in Macbeth. An essay about Kurosawa in Coriolanus. Brilliant programmes. Obviously, BDTC. work on a slightly different scale, but a good programme is always something worth putting a bit of elbow grease into.

But what do you include in programmes? Obviously BDTC. find that programme space is at a premium - we don't have much money & we don't have much time, so creating a programme always involves a bit of a scuffle. Obviously, we need a cast list & credits to all the people who have built the show, taken out photographs, helped with marketing & costumes. Do we need photos of the cast? I always like rehearsal photographs in a programme - I love seeing a snapshot of the show in development, directors staring angrily at scripts, actors looking confused or pulling peculiar expressions, but on the other hand they take up quite a lot of space. Would it be better to fill that space with a short essay? Textual background on the play, it's place in the canon, some wider context? Most Shakespearean productions include a brief synopsis. I hate them - but are they a necessary evil?

So I suppose this blog post is a question, to you lot. What do you want to see in a BDTC. programme? Would you prefer a booklet for a small price, including a bit more detail & context, or would you prefer a single sheet, for free, with a just a cast list & any crucial information?

So let us know, here or on Facebook. Tell us what you want from a Bingo Dragon programme. And, of course, don't forget to stop by the Dukes' website & get your tickets.

 - Paul S.