Last Saturday I went to a show in a 99 seat house that had 18 audience members, I also heard about a show that was cancelling performances because they had no reservations. Then I got a link to this and I started wondering if we had an epidemic on our hands. But then I thought, no, I can name at least as many shows that were sold out this weekend.
I’d like to see them all sold out. The League does a lot of marketing of Chicago theatre and a lot of PR around Chicago theatre. Can we be doing more? Always…but we are limited by resources. So, I started thinking about specifically targeting new audiences – that would be local people who don’t go to theatre now. The Free Night of Theatre program is focused on getting people to a theatre they haven’t been to before and Hot Tix is also focused on bringing in new audiences (although those audiences are as likely to be tourists as they are to be residents). Could we maybe expand on the Free Night message – there is a great theatre in your neighborhood – go check it out? How would we do that? What media would we use? Are we using social media in the best and most targeted way? What kind of a goal could we have to measure success? Beyond that, are theatres using their current patrons and their patron data to retain and attract new audiences? Are there more ways we can help with that?
The goal is important. What number do we start with and where do we move it. What tools do we use? I’m curious to know your thoughts on this.