Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How do you get people to see theatre?

Ghostlight continues its trip to New York. Yesterday we saw the Late Show with David Letterman. He offered some good advice to increase ticket sales:

Also winning a Tony last (Sunday) night, Scarlet Johansson and Catherine Zeta-Jones. And I'm telling you if that doesn't get straight guys into the theater, nothing will.

But much to the same point, I was in the hotel bar last night and got to talking to a gentleman from Austin, Texas. We talked about everything from college football to investment banking. Eventually I told him I was in theater and we got to talking about that. He told me about the few shows he'd seen, but stressed that he really enjoyed them. The very next thing he said was that theater has to find some way to get their ticket prices comparable to that of a movie ticket. Cheaper tickets and serving alcohol and food right at your seat - like his favorite movie theater in Austin - were his keys to increasing revenue.

And while this isn't the first time that a theory to increased theatre revenue like this has been kicked around, it was the first time I had heard a non-theater person going on for a rather long time and rather passionately about how to get more people out.

He also had a interesting suggestion about marketing more to women. He was suggesting that the women were more likely to drag their husband or their boyfriends out to the theater than the other way around. A little sexist, yes, but an idea that might be worth trying. I've never heard of a marketing scheme that included ads in Today's Chicago Woman. Just a thought - I'd be interested in seeing if this would be effective.

Happy Birthday:
Simon Callow (b. 1949)

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