Is the theatre subscriber dead?
Why subscribe? I mean really…why buy a bunch of tickets to shows that take place over the next year that you have no idea whether or not you’ll like? The subscriber is someone theatres have relied on for a long time, but it’s a model that’s becoming increasingly difficult to sell. Most audiences claim they’d prefer to purchase single tickets, even if they’re more expensive, to the shows they’re interested in.
This scenario brings to mind another industry that has drastically changed recently, music. I am part of the last generation to buy the album, or in my case, the cassette tape. It was thrilling to go to the local record shop and pick up the newest album by your new favorite band. Opening the case, pouring over the cover art and whatever the band deemed worthy of sharing….please oh, please let there be lyrics inside. I miss the click of the cover closing, the sound of popping a tape into your player and the sound of rewinding as you played and replayed your favorite song. What I really miss the most about buying albums is discovering the song you never heard on the radio. You can still buy physical albums but somehow, even though I don’t download singles, it seems like a strange way of spending money in our digital age. So on occasion I ask my husband to burn me a cd of someone I like. The naked cd feels incomplete without the cover art though.
A season of plays is easily compared to an album of songs. The artist of that album is the Artistic Director and she compiles a collection of plays into a series that stretches over a year. Various factors go into choosing the plays, if they meet the companies mission, the order they appear in, the time of year they are featured and if they fit the theme of that season. The goal is that the order in which you experience the plays enhances the enjoyment of each particular production and that the season overall accomplishes a the intended artistic and monetary goal. This year we hope audiences leave feeling like they’ve seen our country, the good ol’ U S of A, in a new light and have gained appreciation for our diversity, our history and for our very character, even when we’re at our worst.
We love single ticket buyers but we have a special love for people who take the leap and decide to experience the real art we’re selling, the season. We appreciate those people so much we entice them with discounts, special offers and experiences. We want to share our whole album with them, from start to finish. We want to surprise them and move them when they discover a production they never would have bought a single ticket to but which after seeing they feel enriched their lives or helped them gain perspective.
So again I return to earlier question. Is the theatre subscriber dead? The answer is no but the fight is getting tougher to win and many theatres are ditching the model for a membership based program or in many cases relying entirely on single ticket sales. MOXIE isn’t ready to give up the fight though. If you’re on our mailing list you’ll get a brochure in the mail soon (here is a digital version if you wanna tak a look MOXIE-BROCHURE) Open it and consider joining our subscription family and if you don’t live near us (6663 El Cajon Blvd. Suit N San Diego, CA) please consider subscribing to some other theatre. They need you just like we do.