Audience observations

by Jini Stolk

Curtain times: I quite enjoyed the 3-hour theatre/musical production I saw recently, but I can’t say I remember much from the crucially important final half hour. It would have been lovely to have had a clearer sense of how the show ended, so I will ask again: can we consider earlier curtain times, especially for very long shows? Think of it as an act of mercy for your audience members.

Ticketing software: Ticketing systems are not all alike, and not all of them are happy. I’ve been on an online ticket-buying binge, and the user experience matters. Eventbrite and Sumac are a pleasure to use. TicketLeap, I have to say, is not. Check out this site which tracks customer reviews of ticketing software. It doesn’t answer all the questions you need to ask if you’re buying a new system, but it answers some important ones. (Similarly, was a friendly and easy platform for Theatre Passe Muraille’s recent online auction, and I love CauseVox, the fundraising and crowdfunding platform that Toronto Dance Theatre uses for Tour de Danse.)

Festival brochures: The TIFF and Hot Docs brochures, with their plethora of information, make my head spin. Luminato’s 2015 flyer seems to contain everything you need to know (program highlights, a map of venues, and a basic event schedule) with clear and easy information about where to find more details and how to order tickets. Well done.

Group sales: I believe we’re missing something important for growing our audiences. At a recent performance of the Eifman Ballet’s wonderful Anna Karenina, I was fascinated by Russian Tix’s very busy pick up desk. I had no idea that Toronto’s Russian expats were so well served by this group sales/discount ticket organization. How many of us work with culture clubs like Toronto Arts & Culture? TO Arts & Culture was started by Greg York to organize informal outings with fellow Centre for Social Innovation tenants; it now has over 6,000 members eager to attend theatre, music, dance, films, discussions and more. If we want to reach out beyond our already-committed core audiences, we should be encouraging, working with, supporting, and helping to develop more group initiatives like Greg’s.



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