kids on the cat walk

Step by step guide: talent show

Celebrate the diverse range of talents your students possess by literally putting them centre stage! A talent show guarantees support from parents and relatives, providing an exciting evening of entertainment while raising lots of money.

St Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Portishead have run their 'St Joseph's Got Talent' contest for three years, raising lots of money and having tons of fun! They've advised us on the best way to get results. A talent contest works for either primary or secondary schools, but the key to success is having witty comperes, with a few jokes up their sleeve to fill a slot if acts suffer stage fright. Involve the whole school - you never know, your PE teacher might be a football freestyle whizz!


  • Agree dates for the main show and auditions. Give potential performers as much time to enter and rehearse as possible.

  • Send a letter and registration form out to all pupils at least six weeks before the event.

  • If providing refreshments and food, be realistic about what you can offer (hot dogs are popular). Build this into your ticket price.

  • Check the capacity of your school hall (or intended venue) and manage numbers by selling tickets in advance.

  • Aim for a team of about 15-20 volunteers to assist with auditions and to help on the night. You will also need some 'personalities' to act as judges and comperes.

  • Establish what equipment you need - microphones, CD player, lighting, amps, etc.

  • An event featuring live or recorded music NO LONGER requires a licence, however if you plan to serve alcohol a TEN will be required. Read our at-a-glance guide to event licensing.

  • Organise prizes for first, second and third places.


  • Allocate time slots of two minutes for each audition over a couple of afternoons.

  • Specify that primary-aged children must be accompanied by an adult. Have a few parents or teachers on hand to assist. 

  • Agree rules, e.g. whether pupils can perform more than once, as a solo act and again as part of a group.

  • Encourage teachers and parents to enter - if only to allow the judges to 'buzz' them!

Alright on the night

  • After the auditions, establish a running order, varying the acts. Send out invitations to performers, with instructions. This should include their time slot, arrival time and where to get ready.

  • Provide your PTA volunteers with a more detailed running order, indicating what equipment (music stand, microphone, chair etc) is needed for each act.

  • Have a contingency plan in place for any no-shows.

Gratnells FB

Fundraising revenue

  • Charge an entry fee per adult - remember, the more acts you have the more parents will attend. Get your performers to encourage their friends to come along to show their support.

  • Sell programmes on the night, featuring profiles of your acts. 

  • Seek sponsorship from local businesses such as dance schools, music shops, etc.

  • Run a raffle - ask local businesses for prize donations.


  • Create striking posters to promote the event on the school/PTA noticeboards.

  • Send letters home announcing the event, with a reply slip for families to order tickets.

After the event

  • 'Thank you' letters are always welcome. Send them to helpers, performers and any sponsors.

For more information

  • There are several issues to consider relating to insurance, licences, etc. See our Event Planning Checklist  for more detail.

  • For our at-a-glance guide to Temporary Event Notices, click here

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by a PTA, based on the guidance provided.


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