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Introducing new patrons to community theater...or any other theater!

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by nelakluwos, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. nelakluwos

    nelakluwos Member

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    Location:
    Lewisburg, PA
    Hey everyone! I've been a part of some really great community theaters, but the current one I am involved is in somewhat of a slump. It's not that the shows are not of good quality, I feel it's mostly because of the lack of interest in the community (and they could do a better job on marketing). I was wondering if anyone here has been in the same situation, and what they did to spark some interest in their communities. Thanks!
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Location:
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    Well, you said it, marketing. Theatres survive on season ticket holders or "subscribers", if you have a good subscriber base you will be successful. Its all about pleasing them and keeping them coming back.
     
  3. nelakluwos

    nelakluwos Member

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    Location:
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    Yeah marketing is key...unfortunately the members of the board have a hard time understanding that, they also cannot budget - but that is not my problem as I am not a member of the board. We have a website which I believe is one of the largest forms of marketing, but is looks horrible and everyone on the board is afraid to "fire" the designer because he helps out the organization a lot. I guess what I am asking is if anyone has decent ways that worked to get the community excited and come out to see a show, or a workshop, or a dinner, or whatever it may be. I know there has been a lot of effort by some of the board members to establish this group as a business and I would hate for all of their hard work to seem like it was for nothing. I am just all for giving everyone an opportunity to experience theater, if it wasn't for my parents forcing me to see my first show years ago, I wouldn't have a job in tech theater today...that's all for my rant...and thank you to all of you who support your local community or high school theaters!!
     
  4. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    nelakluwos - what is your position at the community theater? Do you have any sway or input? When our new producing director came in, he established an artistic committee, which reads and suggests scripts. We put together a list as well as offering alternatives.

    I sit on the committee as technical advisor, since not everyone can look at a play or muscial and see what the impact might be on the shop or even our budget. The shop foreman is also involved as he will be the one to have to build said show.

    We have established a season of two small musicals(less than six actors), two larger musicals (one which must be family oriented), a comedy and a drama, along with our 'second stage' which handles the more controversial shows. It seems to be working pretty well for us, as we've gone from a lackluster reputation to being one of the leading theaters.

    How involved are you on a daily basis? Is there anyone who is in charge of fundraising? Have you suggested having an open house and inviting the community in to hear what they have to say. Marketing is key to growth, but if you are offering what people don't want, it won't matter how well you market. We handed out surveys and asked what folks wanted to see. You have to get the patrons excited before you can concentrate on bringing new people in.

    Hope this helps a little. Be patient, it has taken use three seasons to get to a point of where we are showing substanial growth again.

    Charlie
     

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