Inconveniently, Subscriptions Still Sustain the Arts

Many in the arts industry say that the subscription model is dead. But if it were dead, wouldn’t it have just disappeared by now? Organizations like the Guthrie Theatre, Washington Pavilion, Hollywood Pantages Theatre, and Houston Ballet are experiencing a subscription resurgence and renaissance. Depending on your point of view, these organizations are seen as a last gasp of a dying model, or proof that, despite the arts industry’s best efforts to kill it, subscriptions are still viable. READ MORE

The Rise and Fall of the Season Ticket Buyer [and what to do about it]

In the 1970’s, the idea of a “season ticket” in the arts really took off. Arts organizations were able to bring ticketing revenue and cash in ahead of the performance (which is when they actually are incurring the cost of the production), encourage loyalty and reduce risk. Ticket buyers were incented by discounted tickets and the promise of the best seats in the house. It seemed like a win/win.

That is, until the economic downturn in the early 21stcentury. Many arts organizations have seen ticket buyers less and less willing to commit to a season package and pay up front. Whether it’s the uncertainty of the economy or a desire to be more selective with their time (and only see the productions that appeal to them, vs experiment with the entire season), the loss of season ticket revenue has exposed arts organizations to additional risk and vulnerability. You create a season, you pay for the sets, designs, performers and marketing…and you have no way of knowing until opening night if anyone is going to come. Further, this creates a cash issue as the organization has to pay most of the bills for the production before they see much of the ticketing revenue.

So is it the end of season tickets? Hmmm, maybe not.


Good Missions for Arts Organizations

In order to qualify for tax-exempt status with the IRS, nonprofit organizations need to express a mission and purpose that has a public benefit. This is the essential bargain being offered by government: we allow you to avoid paying taxes on the proceeds of your work if you can suggest how and why your organization’s work will provide real and tangible benefits to individuals, communities and/or society as a whole. It seems like a good deal to me. Organizations that have an outward-looking mission should earn this exemption, while those that are only doing what they do for their own benefit should not. READ MORE

The Secret to Activating Your Audience’s Brain

Um…isn’t this what THEATRE does ALL THE TIME. Like this is news. Everybody WAKE UP and go to the theatre instead of being a Netflix potato 🙂

Karimloo and Wilkinson duet “Bring Him Home”

Moves me to tears every time. ESPECIALLY at the end…Ramin is a “true” gentleman of the theatre and one of the nicest talents I’ve ever met (Theatre World Awards 2014)


They’re calling it “The Dress That Broke The Internet.”

I’m talking of course about that blue and black dress . . . or is it gold and white . . . wait, hold on, it’s blue and . . . nope, white.  Damn it!

You know exactly what I’m talking about.  It’s the dress that caused knock-down, drag-outs at the water cooler late last week because some people adamantly saw it black and blue and others saw it gold and white.

There are all sorts of super-sciency reasons why people see the dress as different colors, as written about in this New York Times article (and now can we pause for a moment to reflect on the fact that the New York Times covered this crazy story?).

But for me, the matter was quite simple.

People see things differently.  And that goes for cheap dresses on Tumblr, and it most certainly goes for art, and yep, theater.

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