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Connecting with a Younger Crowd

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by lieperjp, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    New Ulm, Minnesota, United States
    In an age of "Economic Crisis" what is your theatre (or theatres) doing to attract a younger crowd (and make them patrons for life?)

    Obviously for me, I'm on a college campus. People go see their friends perform, and it cycles through.

    But what about regional theatres? I get to go see a show at the Milwaukee Rep theatre today, and I get an "Under 40" discount. Pretty large cutoff.

    Details: Milwaukee Rep - Under 40 and ENTOURAGE.

    There. I shared my example. How about you?
  2. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    We market to kids because getting kids means you get the parents too. Our season always includes at least one show aimed at families with children. Our December show is marketed outside of the regular season and offered at a reduced rate so we bring in new faces other than our subscriber base. We have a children's theatre program and a youth member on our board of directors. Our rentals are primarily dance schools which is a whole 'nuther pool of people with a demonstrated interest in the performing arts.
  3. dhorn

    dhorn Member

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    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Here at the Children's Theater in Minneapolis we added a new wing 3 years ago with a 2nd Stage which is programmed exclusively with shows for Teens and shows for Nursery School ages. Some of our Teen shows each season are created by Teens, for the Teens. We also have a "Teen Council" that produces it's own after-performance events on the weekends that are related to the Theme or Subject of the Productions. These events range from open mic nights to DJ or Live Band Dance Parties to playwrights readings.
  4. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

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    Southern California
    As far as I know, we're not doing anything differently than we normally would. Maybe I'll ask our marketing department at some point. We simply put on the best show we can, and hope that's enough to bring in the crowds.
  5. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Lititz, PA
    At our theatre, we offer lots of great benefits for students. For college students we offer tickets to every preview for a grand total of $10 per season. We offer season ticket packages starting at $80 for all seven shows. We have two student matinees during the run of every show. We offer these matinees to high school kids all over the state at huge discounts and we sell them out all the time.
  6. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Marine City, MI
    We offer a student ticket for $10 for most of our events. We also offer a 30 and under discount of 25% off for every performance except Saturday evening. If we have lots of seats left for a performance, we will do a Facebook or MySpace discount to friends that subscribe to our pages on those sites. That is also a great way for the younger generation to feel like they are a part of what is going on with your company. They can read designers posts, or actors rehearsal blogs. It keeps them coming back to the site on a regular basis, and is a great free source of publicity.

  7. cprted

    cprted Active Member

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    BC, Canada
    Our theatre as a "Youth Outreach Coordinator." I'm not entirly sure what he does, as I try and spend as little time as possible in the admin office. We are also part of a program called eyeGO which gives high school students $5 tickets to lots of shows and concerts across Canada.
  8. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Somewhere far far away, Vic, Aus
    Im a "Younger Crowd" love the theatre, but so many plays are just to gritty, complicated, or just boring. Saw "The 39 Steps" the other day, at a local venue, it was great. The same venue doesn't just to plays, it does "Bananas In Pajamas" (the most awesome Aussie kid's TV show, it is as the name surgests) and also some stand up comics. Whenever we drive past I always look and see what good stuff they have on. Doing just musicals and plays that are outdated or for an older audience obvioulsy doen't attract young people. I have been recently working on "James Bond The Musical" a musical that doesn't have songs and gives you a "3d Experience" obviously this might not apply to your seniour sitizens. Doing shows for youth, (and even by youth is also a good idea, you could start a high school/under 21's short play festival) you change the idea that the theatre is for old folks, and the kids keep coming. Money won't drasticly affect the amount of young people that go, we quite happily pay $80 for a video game, and $12 for a movie, and theatre is WAY better than both. Anyway, I'm going to go and listen to loud music on my iPod to make myself feel less like my father, because what I just wrote made me sound like him.
    Nick Jones
  9. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    Sydney, Australia
    We have a multi-pronged attack towards getting a younger crowd into the theatre...
    - Our second space (The Forge) is pitched at a younger audience than our mainstage. Some of that is in the programming, with edgier plays than we might put on the mainbill, but we also have what's called the "30-Under" club which is free to belong to, and means you can get two standby tickets to Forge shows for NZ$12 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays - cheaper than the movies!
    - We have a long-established troupe of improvisers called the Court Jesters who do a late-night improv show "Scared Scriptless" every Friday night after the mainbill show has finished, and that's a real drawcard for younger audiences; once they're in the theatre we often find they'll buy tickets for another show which they may not otherwise have come to. Ticket prices for Scriptless are again cheaper than the movies!
    - We do a kids' show every school holidays; it usually runs less than an hour and is often a rewrite of a classic story (Cinderella, Robin Hood, Rumplestiltskin, Beauty and the Beast) with three or four actors playing multiple parts - they're high energy and good fun, with plenty of audience participation. They run on the mainstage, using whatever set happens to be in for the mainbill show, with a few additions, and play twice or three times daily. If we can get them interested in theatre at seven or eight, we've got a good chance of getting them back in later on!
    - We have an Ambassadors program where two students from each local high school are Ambassadors; they get a free ticket to each show and can get discounts for their friends and if they want to come back and see the show again. Ambassadors also have workshops with company staff - acting, directing, stage management, lighting.....
    - We have great relationships with local secondary schools. Often sections of outgoing sets are given to schools (we'd otherwise be dumping them), costumes go out on loan, and technical staff often lend their expertise to assist with school productions. We also often get work experience students through.
    - Every year we take a show on the road to primary schools around the city and sometimes there's a secondary school tour as well (as there is this year).
    - We run a schools' theatresports competition - kids will often come and watch their friends compete and we get the Scared Scriptless effect where they then buy tickets to other shows.
    - We use Facebook! If it's good enough for the Royal Opera House, it's good enough for us...

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