Ok, so I said it, there is nothing wrong with wanting to make art AND make money, but where does the social part in "social profit" come in because although we want (and should) make money we also want to make theatre accessible and affordable especially to those who quite literally can’t afford it.
As social profits we are here to serve our communities and do it in the most economical fashion. Yes, it is a hard balance to maintain. But that is why we have discounted previews, 2-for-1 nights and prices for students and seniors. We discount are regular ticket prices just like those Lululemon pants will eventually go on sale but there still needs to be a standard base rate that sets a value on the product.
Currently 20-something charges $22 adults, $16 students and seniors and from there we have two $10 previews and three 2-for-1 nights. And, this past summer, we had 6 sold-out performances and had an average audience attendance of 88% so I can only put two-and-two together.
Some people may ask: how much of that 88% percent were comps? And, I can tell you that Opening Night was probably 50% comps and then every other performances maybe on average 5 comps (and that included the free comps we gave to everyone who came to see our second preview that ended up being cancelled). So, that means the majority of our audience was paying, and that meant we turned a profit, AND that meant I was able to pay everyone who worked on the show. That is a great feeling. Especially for us, a young company, who is only now entering into their 5th year.
That being said however, I am trying something new with our upcoming production. I’m not scaling back our prices for our winter show – which is smaller and therefore we charge less – but I am changing our ticket pricing system. On a post in the fall I raved about another blogger's post on young audiences and the three points he made about getting young audiences. We have been successful at getting those young audiences; however, I’m not about to just say “ah well, we’ve been successful” and leave it at that.
No, I’m always going to be looking at new ways and new ideas of how I can bring more people, and specifically young people, to the theatre. So, point #3 on that list is “offer it at a price point they find reasonable”. Well the fact that we sold-out tells me we seem to be doing that but I said to myself how can I make it even more accessible and affordable for young people? Because god knows we are only starting to establish ourselves and money can be a struggle. Trust me I’m in that boat with the rest of you.
With that in mind I’ve decided not to change our ticket prices, per se, but to change our ticket pricing structure. Our target demographic is 18-35 and sometimes the “student” rate doesn’t cover that demographic because all 18-35 year olds are (obviously) not all students. So instead of a “students/seniors” rate we are going to be offering an “under 35 & over 65” rate.
I’m not sure how it will work out because it might be hard to monitor. It’s much easier to ask someone for student id then it is to say “excuse me but you look older than 35 can I please see some id?”. But I thought I would give it a shot and see what happens. On the plus side it will also make it much easier to keep track of how well we are doing at bringing in our target demographic.
What do you think? Good idea? Bad idea? Any other problems or glitches you foresee? Any thoughts on how to smooth out any possible glitches?