How to Create a Theater Program Playbill

Updated April 17, 2017

Even if your school or community theatre group has a budget that is completely off Broadway, you can still hand out show-stopping program playbills to patrons. You don't even need an expensive desktop publishing program to create them. Simply use the word-processing application on your computer to design the programs. Print them on your desktop printer or send them to a professional print shop, depending on your budget and your needs.

Start your word-processing program and open a blank page in "Landscape" orientation. Insert a text box that is eight inches high and five inches wide. Move this text box to the left side of the page. Copy the text box and paste it on the right side of the page.

Insert a second page into the document by moving the cursor to the bottom of the first page and pressing the "Enter" key or by choosing "New Page" on the "Insert" menu or tab. Copy the text boxes from the first page and paste them onto the second page.

Type the title of the play into the text box on the right side of the first page. Insert an image that relates to the play or to your group into the centre of this text box. Center the text and the image inside of the text box so that they will be centred on the cover of the playbill once it you print and fold it. Select them and press the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl+E" or use the "Center Alignment" option on your word processor's menu. Type acknowledgements, dedications or special thank you messages into the text box on the left side of the first page.

Type "Act 1" in a large, bold font into the text box on the left side of the second page. Enter a synopsis of the act in standard font below it. Type "Act 2," also in a larger, bold font and its synopsis below the first one. If your play consists of more than two acts, include this information for each act.

Type "Cast of Characters" as a heading in the text box on the right side of the second page. List each character and the actor portraying him. Type a list of settings beneath the cast list.

Save and print your playbill using your printer's duplex setting so that the bills print double-sided. Fold each playbill in half. The text box containing the play title and graphic is the cover; the acts, cast list and setting list comprise the centre pages; and the acknowledgements are displayed on the back cover.


If your printer does not have a duplex option, you can print double-sided manually. Print the first page only and then place the paper back into the printer to print the second page on the back.

Things You'll Need

  • Word-processing program
  • Printer
  • 8.5-inch x 11-inch printer paper
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About the Author

Tricia Goss' credits include Fitness Plus, Good News Tucson and Layover Magazine. She is certified in Microsoft application and served as the newsletter editor for She has also contributed to The Dollar Stretcher, Life Tips and Childcare Magazine.