Dancing into an Exhibition

First it was Les Misérables, now Strictly Ballroom has announced an exclusive exhibition celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original production and exploring the journey from page to stage. I think we are beginning to see a trend!


The Strictly Ballroom Story will open at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney on April 5. The exhibition will celebrate the stage and screen musical through design drawings, cast and set photos as well as performance and rehearsal footage. Topping the experience off will be a chance to view 40 of the original costumes created by four-time Oscar winner Catherine Martin (most recently awarded for her designs in The Great Gatsby) for the iconic movie.

You can find out further details about the exhibition at the end of this article. But the exhibition itself suggests an interesting new trend in Australian productions.

Wicked on Broadway has a museum of costumes and footage, The Lion King mounted a pop-up exhibition in Times Square featuring an up close view of costumes and props and now the trend has moved Down Under.

And when it comes to decreasing customer risk when buying expensive tickets – the biggest issue in the entertainment industry – allowing customers the opportunity to engage with the show is an effective strategy!

Interacting with these shows in an exhibition setting is significantly different to actually buying a ticket. Attendees can gain an understanding of the show. If they are not enjoying the experience they are welcome to leave. If they really enjoy the experience they may come back for the show. It is a much more casual and relaxed environment in which most people are confident. And, most importantly, it is a whole deal cheaper than gambling that money on a ticket to the show!

Costing only $12 for an adult, $8 for concessions and $6 for children, the museum display allows potential audience members to undertake a bit of research on the show BEFORE they commit to tickets. By attending the exhibit, they are not locked into an experience in which they feel uncomfortable, they are not venturing into unknown territory and they can get a feeling of whether or not they want to engage with the show.

And if they attend and enjoy what they see, well then you can hit them hard with a pamphlet at the end of the experience and they will most likely be back for more at the actual show.

The question begs . . . which show will be next? Museums are always looking for ways to get new people through the door and the theatre market is certainly thriving in Melbourne. Its first time around, Wicked lasted for an impressive 18 months in a 2,162 seat theatre. Imagine if you just got a tenth of the people who attend each performance going to a museum to follow up their experience.

Or even the other way around. All those people who had heard about the great experience from their friends but were not ready to commit the $120 for a Photo Nº: 00x11465ticket. A lot of them would be quite happy to risk $12 on an exhibition, even if for no other reason than to be able to join in the discussion with their friends.

What a clever idea from Strictly Ballroom!

On View: The Strictly Ballroom Story
Dates: From Saturday 5 April 2014
Hours: 10.00am to 5.00pm daily
Address: Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo, Sydney
Website: http://www.powerhousemuseum.com
Admission: Free with general admission: $12 adult, $6 child, $8 concession, $30 family