Thursday, December 16, 2010

Undersupplied

I read a blog earlier this week that referenced the notion of an “oversupply” of arts organizations. The idea being that there are too many arts organizations and not enough demand. As far as theatre in Chicago goes, I think that’s crazy talk. Part of what makes us so unique is that a person can graduate from college, move to Chicago and found a theatre, it might last a year or it might last 30 years, but for however long it lasts, there will be opportunities for artists to have a voice and that’s what keeps us on top.

BUT…last night I was part of a discussion where we talked about how there might be an oversupply of shows, particularly at certain times of year. Or should we call it an undersupply of audiences. It was an interesting discussion and I wonder if we could or would want to stagger some shows, but there is a definite perceived “best date” for opening, for instance, a fall show. But is that the best date if there is a ton of other shows opening on or around that date? Would it be easier to get the attention of audiences if a show opened in August? If so, then why doesn’t anybody do it? Can anybody really risk trying that?

The real trick is to get an oversupply of audiences. So many people clamoring to see plays that we can’t keep up with their demands for MORE THEATRE! We’ll work on that.

Deb

5 comments:

Jenny Seidelman said...

Something that might potentially be helpful would be to get a community calendar going. The world of major non-profits in Chicago has this so that none of their annual Galas end up being scheduled the same night as other Galas. That way, institutions with similar patronage aren't competing with one another.

Of course, this may not work so well for small non-profit theaters - many of them are not planning or cannot plan far in advance.

Would it be worth it for someone (maybe the League) to do a study on openings over the last few years, to see which dates in particular are the most popular?

Deb said...

Hi Jenny-

We do have an opening night calendar at http://www.leagueofchicagotheatres.org/night-calendar.html

The trick is getting people to use it! Any adivce or suggestions on that would be most welcome.

September and October seem to be the most popular times for openings with the last week of September and the first couple of weeks in October being the most popular by far.

Deb

Jenny Seidelman said...

That's great! Thanks, Deb. I wish I knew how to get people to use it. Maybe just including reminders in any kinds of emails that go out from the League to its members, especially early in the year, when most companies are planning their next season?

Tony Adams said...

Calendar on the new site is much harder to use.

Is there a way to make it default to a monthly view that shows the dates?

Deb said...

Thanks Jenny and Tony - we'll look into making the calendar easier to use.