Meet Tyler Garlej, who earned the 2022 International Thespian Excellence Award for Theatre Marketing at the International Theatre Festival last June! Learn more about his theatrical background and experience below. 

Tyler Garlej
Salpointe Catholic High School
Troupe 5370 | Tucson, AZ
Governing Alice by C. Denby Swanson

What are your top three tips or pearls of wisdom about being involved in theatre?

First, don’t always think that you have to fill people’s shoes when other members of your troupe leave. It is not your job to fill those shoes, but to fill your own shoes and leave those behind when you graduate. Second, have confidence in yourself onstage. When you do, you will not only have a good show, but you will also have a great character. Finally, cherish every moment you have in theatre, because no matter what your role is — from the actor onstage, to the run crew backstage, to the technical crew in the booth, to the front of house team — without any of these roles…there would not be a show.

Tell readers the most important steps you took on your way to winning the 2022 Thespy for Theatre Marketing.

I made sure my designs and marketing strategies were cohesive and engaging for the show. I won the overall high Superior score for my work on Governing Alice by C. Denby Swanson. The focal point was a brick wall with a mural of graffiti splashed on it, and it was an attempt to tease and entice the viewers to want to know more about the play. My director and I decided that concept would be our inspiration for the graphics for flyers and advertising. Everything that was designed, created, and marketed was completed by myself, as I was the marketing manager for this whole show. It was definitely a learning curve to manage all aspects of marketing — it was for social media, flyers, press releases, and all the way down to the programs. I found that communicating with our director was essential to completing projects.

How long have you been doing theatre marketing?

This was my first year doing theatre marketing. I have always had a passion for business and marketing. My mom actually taught me all I know about design, marketing, brand strategy, and project management. My high school director also allowed me to take on the responsibility of our Instagram account, and it was remarkable. When I started, we had 300 followers. I set goals for myself to increase our followers, and with just pushing that one Instagram account and not anything else, we increased our followers by being active and enticing people to interact with us. We gained over 195 followers in a just short time!

What method of promotion has worked best for you and why?

The method that has worked best for me is social media, especially Instagram and Facebook. I think the reason why is because our we’ve grown up with social media and digital technology for almost 30 years now. Social media is a great way to target your selected audience. Even newspapers and magazines are going more digital, which also helps make it easy to promote your work.

What would you like to try if you had the means (time, money, access to technology)?

If I had the time, money, and access to technology, I would get a digital marquee sign for our school theatre so that we can promote shows and anything fine arts-related. This coming year, my marketing team and I have fought for a TikTok account for our theatre as well to promote the shows.

Tyler garlej headshot

Photo of Tyler Garlej by Jamie Williams

What’s next in your theatre career? Further education in theatre? A different path where theatre still is a part of your life?

Over the past four years, I have fallen in love with all aspects of theatre. Starting out as an actor, then learning tech and all aspects of backstage has made me want to stay involved as much as I can in my future. However, I am planning on going to college for a major in Business with a minor in marketing. I don’t intend to leave the theatre completely. I plan on doing either local or community theatre while in college and then I would love the opportunity to have a job in my field, such as doing marketing for shows on Broadway.

What would you like to say that we didn’t ask you about?

Many people don’t realize that along with acting, the show would not be possible without all the various technical crew members. After experiencing the behind-the-scenes work that goes on, I have so much more appreciation for learning these fields and I appreciate everyone who I have worked with and learned from. As for marketing the shows, without the business sense and creativity of promotion, we would not have an audience. Theatre is full of creative people, and it interlocks everyone. Creative minds work well together, and that encompasses the whole show — ranging from set design, lighting, sound, makeup, stage management, directing, acting, and yes, even the creative process of marketing. Thinking full circle makes the team. 

View all of the 2022 Thespy Award winners, and get ready for ITF 2023! Watch for deadlines to be updated soon at  ♦

Natalie Clare is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Dramatics. Visit her work at

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