The Pyramid in Practice – Front of House

In this post, I want to take another look at Imagineering Pyramid principles in practice, but in a slightly different way than in my previous “Pyramid in Practice” posts. Most of those posts look at fairly large-scale projects, including theme park attractions, Broadway musicals, or large-scale performing ensembles such as drum corps, but the principles outlined in The Imagineering Pyramid can also be applied to smaller projects as well. For example, let’s look at the “front of house” for a high school theater production.


This past Spring, our high school theater department put on “Legally Blonde: The Musical” as their Spring Musical . My wife and I were part of a group of parents who were helping out with the “front of house” for the show (we’re the folks who sell tickets and concessions, hand out programs and help people to their seats, etc.).

For our “front of house” we took over half of the school’s cafeteria, and set up a make-shift theater lobby with the following:

  • Tables for ticket sales, including walk-up sales and Will Call
  • A concessions table where patrons can buy refreshments
  • A table where customers can purchase flowers and gifts that can be sent backstage to members of the cast
  • A Senior Gallery featuring photos of the seniors in the casts and essays written by their teachers
  • A table with a variety of baskets to be raffled off
  • A table where we sold 50/50 raffle tickets
  • Tables where we sold t-shirts and other items

In addition, the entire area was decorated with streamers and balloons. Not exactly a small project, but certainly nothing the scale of a theme park attraction or Broadway show.

Over the course of the three performance days, I had the chance to step back and look at our “front of house” through the lens of the Imagineering Pyramid, and found examples of several different principles at work. For example,

It All Begins with a Story: The show’s story was a major influence in many aspects of our theater lobby, particularly around its theming. Speaking of…

Theming: Our “front of house” was strongly themed based on the show.

  • Pink is a major color in this show (it’s the main character’s signature color). All of the decorations, including streamers, table clothes and balloons were pink.
  • The contents of the raffle baskets were each based on one of the main characters from the show.
  • There are two dogs in the show, and several of the items on sale were doggie-themed (including pink dog-shaped refrigerator magnets – double theming!)

Wienies: The layout of our theater lobby used visual elements to attract and draw attention across the room such as balloons on the raffle table at the far end of the lobby, and large signs directing patrons to the Senior Gallery.

Plussing: Each night, the person in charge (my friend Sandra) was looking for ways to tweak things a little bit to make them better. We moved several of the tables and re-arranged things to help the flow of people walking through the lobby and to help promote sales of certain items.

To be clear, I’m NOT suggesting that Sandra or any of the other parent helpers read The Imagineering Pyramid and were consciously applying ideas from it. Rather, I’m just pointing out that Imagineering Pyramid principles are often right in front of us, even if we don’t notice them right away. And the more sensitive we are to how these principles work and can be applied in different ways, the more likely we are to leverage them in our own creative projects.

Thoughts? Let me know what you think in the comments!



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