Friday, January 20, 2012

Four Ways Were Changing Our Relationship to Our Audience

Transforming our Lobby into a Lounge. Utilizing QR Codes in our program. Opening the bar after the show. Initiating an Elite Pass for the production. Here’s why:

Transforming our lobby
We’ve got a small lobby—it has room for maybe four chairs, and is separated from the theatre by a curtain. It’s not the best of circumstances, and it often requires us to set up folding chairs in the hallway outside the lobby to accommodate early arrivals and overflow. In the past we’ve done things to spruce up our “inner” lobby: lit candles, projected images high up on the walls, filled the space with old show posters, and offered free hot chocolate (that was a big hit). But it still says, “wait here a minute, the real entertainment soon.” It’s a “waiting room.” Why am I telling audience members not to engage in conversation? Not to connect? Not to enjoy themselves? So we’re moving comfy furniture into the lobby and even the outer hallway.
QR Codes
You know, that funny little black and white square with dark speckles in it. If your smartphone has the right app, you can take a picture of it and visit a website or see a short video. Like a lot of marketing innovations it’s become all the rage without a whole lot of evaluation, but I figure within the setting of a theatre auditorium having one person use the QR code gets 2-5 neighbors in on the fun. Want to hear an actor talk about his role? Hear the playwright’s description of the play? Get clues on who done it? All they have to do is open their program, point and click.

Open the Bar
People tend to flee the theater after the show, even if they enjoyed the show. That’s cool. But we also want people to talk about the show and engage with the art form. So even if the attendance doesn’t merit it, we’ll be keeping the bar open after the show and inviting folks to chat with the artists.

The New Elite Pass
Make theatre more than a business transaction of dollars for stage entertainment—that’s what this new program is about. We’re encouraging people to get involved not just for two hours, but two months by offering inside looks, workshops, right of return, discounted food and drink. For just $35, the price of many shows in SF, you get a whole experience. It’s our new adventure. For everyone involved. And frankly, we think it's the most intimate theatre experience in the nation. Check it out at
So come tell us how we did.
Vigilance runs February 2nd thru the 25th at The Phoenix Theatre.

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