A Message From StageSource ED Julie Hennrikus
As you may know, I started my career in a box office, and understand the challenges around managing ticket inventory, audience development, and the need to fill seats to generate early and valuable word-of-mouth. I’m excited to share news of an innovative partnership between StageSource and TheaterMania to launch the New England Gold Club, an audience development club serving Boston and other theater/performing arts communities in New England. The goal of this initiative is to increase arts attendance at our diverse theater and performing arts venues in the region by increasing access for new audience members.
For many years TheaterMania has managed the very successful Gold Club in New York City, as well as the WhatsOnStage Club in London. Together, these clubs have over 7,500 members who attend live events and share, both online and in-person, their positive experiences with their friends and family. These clubs are used as a matter of course by local theater and other performing arts organizations to manage inventory, provide exposure and generate word-of-mouth.
StageSource, with its over 30-year commitment to supporting theater and theater artists throughout New England, sees this similar New England Gold Club as furthering the art form by helping fill houses early in the run of a production, increasing word of mouth, and by providing access to theater artists and supporters who may have a strong desire to see a variety of performing arts events but lack the resources to do so. StageSource will be the on-the-ground partner for this membership based program which also allows for discrete papering during a run, at the beginning of an extension, or when some unforeseen circumstance creates a hole in your house.
Here is how it will work:
- StageSource will contact you in the coming weeks with more specifics about the New England Gold Club. We will be hosting an info session, and will also be providing information on our website. We will also be hiring two part-time staff people to help manage the New England Gold Club.
- We will reach out to determine if there are any performances for which you may wish to fill some unsold seats. This program works well for light nights, press nights and previews when you need a full house. The size of your organization does not determine your access to the New England Gold Club—all organizations are welcome to use it.
- As we are rolling this out late summer/early fall, we will ask that you offer a modest allocation of seats at no cost to StageSource, which will create a listing for the event and promote the event in a password-protected database. This database will only be accessible to members of the program through a private login. The software TheaterMania has developed is intuitive, mobile-friendly and already widely used by thousands of members in other cities. You need not assign specific seats or sections.
- Members of the Gold Club will be asked to join for a monthly $12 fee or an annual cost of $99. When a member selects up to two tickets for an event, the member will be charged $4.75 per ticket. This dramatically decreases the “no-show” rate while remaining very affordable for members. As an added benefit, New England Gold Club members will have reciprocal privileges in TheaterMania’s other club markets.
- When members reserve tickets for your events, they will receive reminder and follow-up emails encouraging them to promote their experience on social media and directly with friends and colleagues. We will provide language to help support their word of mouth efforts which will encourage future ticket sales for your event.
- Your box office will be provided with a list of reservations for ticket distribution at your Will Call. A StageSource staff member will be dedicated to further training and support for your box office to ensure easy fulfillment and address any service matters which may arise.
It may take some time for the initiative to reach the scale seen in New York and London. In those cities, preview performances and other “buzz-generating” events can quickly be filled and are increasingly a part of large-venue campaigns.
Please join us in building a robust audience development program for the entire region! This program will be free for organizations to use, and is a great addition to the suite of programs we offer to support the New England theater community. Program revenues will initially go towards the software costs and StageSource staff members to manage the initiative. In time, the program may generate net revenue for StageSource so it can provide further resources to the communities it serves.
The New England Gold Club will be launched in the Fall of 2016. If you want more information, please fill out this form, and we will stay in touch as details roll out.