Step-by-step: talent show
Celebrate the diverse range of talents at your school by
putting pupils centre stage! Talent shows work for both primary and
secondary schools, and children of all ages will have something to
offer, whether that's singing, dancing, acting or other skills you
may have never seen before.
- Agree dates for the main show and auditions. Book a venue and
recruit your team - you will need about 15-20 volunteers to assist
with the auditions and to help on the night. You will also need
some 'personalities' to act as judges and comperes.
- Send letters and registration forms out to all pupils, and
specify that primary-aged children must be accompanied by an adult.
Allocate time slots of two minutes for each audition over a couple
of afternoons. 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, too - if only to allow the judges to
- Establish what equipment you will need - microphones, CD
player, lighting, amps, etc. Create posters to promote the event,
and send letters home with reply slips for families to preorder
tickets. Remember that the more acts you have, the more parents
will attend, so get your performers to encourage their friends to
come along to show their support! If you're planning to provide
refreshments, state this on your tickets.
- Organise the running order and send out invitations to
performers with instructions, including their time slot, arrival
time and where to get ready. Have a contingency plan in place for
any no-shows. Provide your PTA volunteers with a more detailed
running order, indicating what equipment (microphone, chair, etc)
is needed for each act. Seek sponsorship or raffle/silent auction
prizes from local businesses, such as dance schools, music shops,
etc. Finalise what refreshments will be provided and who will be in
charge of these on the day. If supplying alcohol, you
will need a TEN.
- Arrive early to set up and decorate your venue. If you're
running a raffle or auction, encourage guests to buy tickets or
place bids when they arrive, then announce winners at the end of
the event. Congratulate your performers for their efforts and
distribute certificates to all those who took part.
- Have a post-event debrief to discuss what worked well and what
may need tweaking for next time. Thank your acts, judges and
volunteers after the event, and ask for feedback. Give details
about how much the event raised and how this will be spent.
Talent show tips and advice
- Licensing: If selling or supplying alcohol at
your event, you will need a TEN (England and Wales). Submit
an application to your local council at least ten days before your
event. If playing music and your event is held on school premises,
your PTA will not require a separate PRS for Music or PPL as you
will be covered by the school's licences.
- Prizes: Ask local businesses to provide
prizes for first, second and third places, as well as prizes for
the raffle and/or silent auction. Your event doesn't have to be a
competition - it can also work as a way to engage parents, boost
community spirit and celebrate the range of talents at your
- Photos and videos: Consider raising
additional funds by selling DVDs or photographs of the event. When
filming or taking photographs of children you should get consent
from a parent or guardian, in writing, prior to the event. Explain
what you intend to do with the photograph/footage, including
whether it is to be published, and where. For more information, visit the ICO
- Boost profits: A raffle and/or silent
auction is a good way to raise funds from a captive audience!
The benefit of an auction over a raffle is that your audience can
bid on items based on their particular preferences, and will
undoubtedly shell out more than the £1 they might have spent on
raffle tickets! Sell refreshments to boost profits further - buy
from a wholesaler such as Booker and return unopened packs of
non-perishable goods if unsold. Increase revenue by producing a programme.
- Judges: Brief your judges beforehand to
ensure that feedback is kept light and positive. You don't want any
children to be left in tears or traumatised by the experience! Use
this as an opportunity to build pupils' confidence, and as an
opportunity for them to share their talents with the rest of the
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