Subplot Studio Launches an Innovative Online Poster Design Resource for Community Theatre and High School Drama Programs That's Fast, Easy and Inexpensive

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San Luis Obispo based start-up Subplot Studio launches an innovative online library of customizable theatre posters for popular plays and musicals. The website is an incredible resource for drama teachers and community theatre directors who are looking to promote an event but are limited by time and budget.

After its official launch at the Theatre Communications Group’s National Convention in June, 2011, Subplot Studio recently unveiled its new website, introducing the concept of high quality, customizable poster designs to the theatre industry. Traditional poster design processes can take a considerable amount of time and cost a theatre company thousands of dollars. The company’s innovative approach to poster design promises to give theatre directors and drama teachers the ability to create a customized poster that’s ready to print in about 15 minutes at a fraction of the cost. At a time when theatres are faced with shrinking budgets and limited resources, Subplot Studio is a welcomed alternative.

For community theatre and high school drama programs that struggle to promote and convey the quality of their productions, Subplot Studio offers great design for plays and musicals at very affordable prices, allowing them to enhance their image and increase attendance, while saving time and money.

After years of designing posters for theatre industry clients like PCPA and the San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, Subplot Studio founders, local entrepreneurs, James apRoberts and Brian Christopher decided to put their heads together with the goal of streamlining the process of creating artwork intended to market plays and musicals.

“It’s frustrating to watch theatre directors struggle with poster design. It consumes a considerable amount of time and is always stressful. When working within a tight budget, it’s a recipe for a headache. We think we’ve come up with a great resource.” says Christopher, Creative Director of Subplot Studio.

The concept was presented to SLO Seed Ventures, a venture capital group that invited Subplot Studio to participate in an 8 week “bootcamp” that culminated in a pitch to Central Coast investors in August, 2010. They also worked closely with a program associated with Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo called Innovation Quest, which encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. Through Innovation Quest, apRoberts and Christopher participated in a second investor pitch at Cooley LLP in Palo Alto where they presented Subplot Studio to Bay Area investors and executives from companies like Yahoo Futures.

These experiences helped apRoberts and Christopher define immediate and long term goals for Subplot Studio. With those goals in mind, apRoberts and Christopher approached Ryan Miller, founder of Etna Interactive, a local web development company. Miller’s passion for the arts and Etna’s understanding of current web technologies and marketing made Etna a natural partner in the new business. Throughout most of 2011, several members of the Etna team dedicated time to the development and launch of the website.

The decision to partner with Miller and Etna Interactive has allowed Subplot Studio to offer much more than a collection of poster designs. Customers can select artwork for their production, add their specific information, upload a logo and custom footer with sponsor logos, see an online proof and order printed posters, apparel and other promotional materials. To keep up with the demand and to continue to expand the library, the team has created a network of designers and artists. In early 2012, Subplot Studio will launch it’s fundraising program which will be an incredible tool for high school drama programs and community theatres.

So far, the response has been great. Customers are impressed by the artwork and relieved by both the pricing and how easy it is to customize poster designs on the website. “The House of Blue Leaves is, by far, the best graphic treatment of that play I've ever seen.” says Kevin Harris, SLO Little Theatre Artistic Director.

Subplot Studio currently offers artwork for close to 100 plays and musicals ranging from classics like Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to more current works like “Art” by Yazmina Reza. Over the next year, the goal is to expand the library to 300 productions.

Subplot Studio offers exceptional design for theatre companies that is fast, easy and inexpensive. By accessing a library of pre-designed theatre posters for the popular productions, theatre directors and drama teachers can fully customize a poster design, that’s ready to print, in less than 15 minutes. Please visit, call 855-782-7568 or email james(at)subplotstudio(dot)com for more information. Follow us @subplot on Twitter and like us on Facebook at


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