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New Audiences

How to get them and keep them

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#11 freckles

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 07:50 AM

I do think price is the main issue for most people; if you go regularly, you have built that cost into your lifestyle (and have probably become very savvy at shoppping around for discounted tickets!), if you don't it can seem like a lot of money to blow on a night out. Yes, it is a comperable amount to some other forms of leisure entertainment but with theatre there is often dinner, transport & drinks to pay for too.
Planning ahead is not always an issue, a lot of London theatres sell heavily on the day, I assume to tourists& visitors, passing trade almost.
There is a large sector of people who go occassionally as a treat, I think. But they see that as an occassional expense.
And sometimes I think it is lack of promotion; some shows are marketed really well (nobody could fail to know about Loserville)  while some other things go ahead with minimum publicity & people only find out about them if they are actively looking for shows/reading forums/Twitter/listings etc, eg the excellent series of cabaret concerts at The Matcham Rooms, little gems of musicals like Daddy Long Legs at St James or Mack & Mabel at Southwark Playhouse.
I count myself an"obsessive", but don't think we always make up the majority of the audience.

#12 Epicoene

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:36 AM

View Postxanderl, on 04 November 2012 - 12:20 PM, said:

The Barbican and the RSC also have good returns policies - as long as the tickets are back 24 hours before the show you get credit vouchers minus a £2 fee.

Only the RSC in Stratford, at their London venues you can't exchange tickets at all.

One problem in attracting a new audience to theatre is that most of it is just not very good, not good enough to attract anyone back to it again anyway. I'd say that on average only a handful of things I see a year would be good enough to recommend to a non-theatre-goer and they are impossible to spot in advance - by the time they have opened and are popular it is very hard to get tickets. When booking in advance you know you'll have to sit through a lot of very moderate productions before you get to the good ones. It is different with films where you can wait for reviews and word-of-mouth and still be able to easily buy a ticket on any evening that is convenient for you.

#13 igb

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:55 AM

View PostEpicoene, on 05 November 2012 - 08:36 AM, said:

It is different with films where you can wait for reviews and word-of-mouth and still be able to easily buy a ticket on any evening that is convenient for you.

That's a good point.  The Guardian published an interesting article on that a few years ago, when I think a Barenboim Beethoven piano cycle was booking a year in advance.  Even with good returns policies, which few theatres have, if you have to book a year or so in advance then it favours people with the stability, predictability and capital to book (and pay) for entertainment well in advance.  And that means older. I joke about banking with Arts Council England as I routinely have a thousand pounds' worth of tickets booked in advance (family of four).  The RSC appear to be living beyond their means, by continuously extending the booking horizon so as to get 13 months' booking revenue every 12 months, and they're not the only ones.

The obvious parallel outside "culture" would be football season tickets, but there the discount is so massive that if you don't go once in a while, you're still hugely in the money.

#14 fringefan

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:04 PM

I'd like to thank Latecomer for starting what is proving to be a fascinating discussion and one clearly relevant to lots of us.  Some really interesting views emerging and so far debate has remained very civilised.

#15 Epicoene

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:12 PM

View Postfreckles, on 05 November 2012 - 07:50 AM, said:


There is a large sector of people who go occassionally as a treat, I think.

You are right, theatre is regarded as much more of a "treat" night out than cinema for example. I go so often that it is really just part of my normal routine and I am not bothered at all when I pitch up at something like Damned by Despair because I know (or hope) I'll see something better in a few days time. But if I had the "treat" mentality then I'd want to be 100% sure everything was going to be good and I wouldn't book in advance and then it would be hard to get tickets.

#16 Kathryn2

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:06 PM

My mum only goes to the theatre occasionally as a treat. In fact, I've just bought her tickets for Singing in the Rain as her 60th birthday present. Her birthday is the end of this month, but I had to buy tickets for January because she'll be busy in the run up to Christmas.

Now, I know that SITR is likely to be offering discounts in January, probably as part of Get into London Theatre, but as it's a birthday treat I needed to buy the tickets at full-price in advance. She'll be going with her sister (my aunt), as that's part of the treat - they don't get to see each other without hordes of grandchildren running around very often, so it'll be nice for the two of them to have a day out up town together. That's another reason for needing to book in advance - I had to get it into my aunt's diary before she got booked up for her caravanning weekends/babysitting duties.

I paid £130 for two tickets that will likely be going for £80 nearer the time.

If your're the occasional-treat kind of theatregoer, and need to book in advance for these kind of planning reasons, it's actually more expensive to go than if you're a regular who can take advantage of ticket offers or is happy rocking up on the day for a day seat or a discounted ticket from TKTS.

#17 peggs

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:08 PM

As a regular theater goer you kind of get used to the prices and know what you are prepared to pay, I think i become somewhat numbed so that i'm not as horrified by prices than i might be if i only went rarely and of course knowing which cheaper seats are worth booking etc helps. On the board you can probably always find someone who can tell you if it's worth picking a seat or not and/or a play after a while if you get a feel for what people like so that helps. I go to the cinema rarely and find it expensive  but of course it's much cheaper than most theater and doesn't invovle such travel costs, however theatre feels 'worth it' because it is a unique expereince, but of course that leads you back to an occasional treat needing to be really worth it.

#18 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:21 PM

I  don't want to pay anything over the £20-£25 mark, without good reason. I pay full top West End price roughly once a year, for a big gig- Jerusalem and most recently The Audience (though that was preview price) are two examples which spring to mind. There were cheap(er) seats for both, but on those occasions, I wanted prime stalls (esp since the cheap seats in the Apollo, for Jerusalem, are awful). But now I've been going to the theatre long enough that I know where the where the good cheap seats are, and I'm on every mailing list on earth, so I get regular offers in my inbox. And also I'm prepared to book in advance- I've got stuff for the end of 2013/beginning of 2014. I don't even where I'll be then, but I can always return/exchange them, or off load them onto friends/ people on this board, closer to the time! But if you go a few times a year, you're not going to take that risk, or check theatre news everyday to be in the know and book things in advance- those cheaps seats go quickly. Take the stalls/dress circle at £10 for the Michael Grandage Season, for example. They were gone in one morning!



#19 Kathryn2

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 09:08 PM

My average ticket cost tends to be 30 ish - that gets pushed up by doing the occasional big show or charity performance at full price. I just booked a full price stalls for Richard 3 at the Apollo, because I missed it at the Globe and fancied a good seat for it, but that was using theatre tokens.

That's the other thing that being a regular theatre does - people get to know to give you theatre tokens for birthdays and christmas.

#20 David J

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:37 AM

I am glad of the position I am in as a student and young person since I can use discounts to see productions at the RSC and my local theatres. I have until next summer to use this advantage before half the discounts are no longer available.

Seeing the National Theatre and Globe Theatre live is also a cheap way for me to see some of their shows without paying too much for travel. It is wishful thinking that more theatre companies would do so.

I would like to take advantage of further discounts. I was very satisfied when I used TKTS for the first time this summer when seeing Jersey Boys in a top price stall seat for less, though that may have been due to the fact that I went during the Royal Pageant. Is it easy to get good seats from TKTS?

My real problem unfortunately is that I am a tall person, which makes it difficult for me to consider trying dayseats in places like London. Compromising a good view is another aspect I would have to consider.

I would therefore see myself as a newcomer to cheaper tickets outside the student and young persons discounts.
My reviews can also be found at "A Night at the Theatre"

http://www.anightatthetheatre.co.uk/




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