SOR 48: The Myth of Market Saturation

Is your market truly saturated for theatre or are there just a lot of theatres all doing the same easy, trite promotional tactics?

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Based on the responses I’ve been getting from readers here at Sold Out Run, there are a lot of people who are looking around their community and concluding that there are more theatres than their market can comfortably support. How do you thrive as a theatre company when there just aren’t enough people in your area to fill the seats?

I thought maybe this phenomenon was just happening in Indianapolis, but I’m getting emails from people (even from other countries) that are painting a picture very similar to what we have here. There’s been an explosion of new new theatre companies in recent years, and many of them are doing very well at establishing a foothold in the local arts community. How do theatres (both new and old) deal with all this competition?

In this episode:

  • a rising tide lifts all ships – a growing reputation for any theatre in your community is going to raise the interest and awareness of live theatre across the board
  • live performance isn’t a unique hook anymore – it isn’t enough to explain why a night at the theatre is different than the cinema or curled up in front of a big screen television. Why your theatre?
  • people respond to scarcity – if your production is exactly like other productions they might see, there’s no urgency to see this particular show
  • what collaborative role do you play in the local arts scene – you aren’t in competition with other theatres when you bring something unique to the table
  • you are responsible for reaching outside the theatre community – your cast and crew can tell all their friends who are active in local theatre. It’s your job to connect with people who are not actively involved in theatre already

Items mentioned:

  • SOR 46: Georgeanna Smith – in a previous episode, artistic director Smith explains NoExit Performance has a unique style that fits into the overall arts scene in her market

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