Extending the Experience

Every ticket buyer wants value for money. More value = More satisfaction. And with increased satisfaction comes more recommendations, referrals and ultimately more future ticket buyers. So how do you achieve this increased satisfaction? There are two ways. More value in the theatre-going experience, or . . .



Extending the time in which they engage with your show!

When you do the maths, shows have a lot of value to stuff into a very short period of time. For your average family of four to go and see the latest family-friendly show will set the parents back about $600. But the experience will only last for two and a half hours. So that means that each minute has to give this family $4 of value every minute just to make them feel that they received their money’s worth from the experience. That is a tough goal for any experience!

But what if the experience was longer? What if the show actually kept the audience engaged for three and a half hours. Even four hours.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we bring out the original version of Les Miserablés which ran for just over four hours before it was cut down for musical theatre audiences. I’m suggesting that we think outside the box a bit . . .

Theatre is ultimately a tourism game. Tourist audiences make up approximately 70% of the theatre-going crowd on Broadway and no doubt the figures are rather similar in the West End. So why not draw an idea from the tourism industry as these audiences will also be looking to discover the city in addition to seeing a Broadway show?

Sydney’s The Rocks precinct is one of the most iconic historical sites in this city. It was where the first Sydney residents settled and developed the city into the international hub that it is today. It is still home to original buildings and many of those which have since been demolished still leave their footprints in the land today. And they have found a unique, interactive way to involve tourists in the past . . . a self-guided walking tour with a twist.

Bundled into an app, this walking tour guides its audience around The Rocks stopping at virtual beacons along the way to hear some of the history or take in some virtual reality as a heritage image is overlaid onto the current landscape through your phone. But how would this help a show such as Wicked? You can’t be guided through Oz as that would require parallel shifting time travel – and that is a bit too imaginative for your average audience member.

I am thinking something more along the lines of Prince of Broadway. This new show has recently opened in Japan before making its Broadway bow in the next couple of months. Featuring a stellar all-star cast, the show travels through the story of legendary director and producer Hal Prince who has influenced some of the most iconic shows on Broadway (some of which are still running today). This concept could go a long way towards extending the experience with this show guiding audiences around Times Square, from theatre to theatre, and taking them on their own journey through Hal Prince’s life story before or after the show. Give the audience snippets from interviews, exclusive commentary, historical pictures that appear over the marquees of new shows (but actually show Hal Prince’s original works).

Why not give your audience a lot of extra value for a simple little app?