5 Tips for Increasing Audiences

How to increase your audiences, and turn casual theatergoers into patrons

When it comes to increasing audiences, it's important to stay motivated, attentive, and -- most of all -- creative!. Photo © Flickr user The Shopping Sherpa

When it comes to increasing audiences, it's important to stay motivated, attentive, and -- most of all -- creative! With that in mind, here are just a few new brainstorms and approaches that could be truly transformative when it comes to filling those seats:

1. Offer a "Buy One, Get One Free" Program for College Students

Performing arts are for everyone, and today's starving college student is certainly tomorrow's potential arts patron.

With this in mind, implement a "buy one, get one free" program for college students with appropriate student I.D.

2. Implement a Ticket Reduction Program for Young Theatergoers

It’s simple, but effective--by offering a program of reduced ticket prices for theatregoers under 30, Broadway theatres have successfully wooed thousands of young arts lovers into lifelong theatre habits.

As with Tip #1, if you make it a little easier for young people to afford your shows, those same people may very well grow to become successful and accomplished patrons in your future.

3. Partner with Local Arts Councils

In a tough economy, it's more important than ever to team up with other local arts councils or organizations, and this can directly and positively affect profits for you both!

For instance, you might team up with a local contemporary dance company to offer a night of dance and a night of theatre for a reduced combo price.

4. Cast a Local Celebrity

Cast a local politician or celebrity in your next show, and promote their involvement—then watch the audiences flock to your door!

Whether you cast the mayor, a local newscaster, or the guy who does the weather at 6 a.m., people will want to attend, just to see how well they do.

(Just make sure you cast them in a role they’re comfortable with, and that gives them a chance to shine.)

5. Market Group Sales Directly to Sponsoring Companies

Don’t just go after local businesses as potential donors, sponsors or patrons. These very same folks, when they become patrons, are also ideal audience members who’ve already shown a commitment to the arts. So ask your corporate patrons about the possibility of mentioning your upcoming shows in their next newsletters or bulletins, and offer special pricing for groups from sponsoring businesses as an added incentive, as well.

Make a note of what works, with an eye toward that bottom line. By thinking creatively, your performances will feature the full houses they deserve!

Meanwhile, How do YOU increase audience size for your group or venue? Tell us about it in our forums. Meanwhile, read more about regional theater news from across the U.S. here.