One goal all theatremakers have in common is ensuring their work has an impact. But how do you measure … measure a yeaaaaar … just kidding – how do you measure the actual success of a show? Success, after all, means different things to different people. But a few metrics are universal. On The Stage explores the methodology behind measuring impact, and how to do so with your own show. 

Metrics to Consider

Box Office Figures

Perhaps the most black-and-white indicator of the impact of a show is the actual box office bottom line. When looking for metrics to evaluate in regards to your box office, consider the following:

  • How many tickets did this show sell?
  • What percentage of tickets in total were sold? 
  • Did this show sell more or fewer tickets than shows before it?
  • If you offer tiered pricing, which ticket tier sold the best? The worst? 

Other Financial Figures

Of course, your show’s financial impact can be measured outside the box office. Other financial metrics that can help you determine success include:

  • Return on Investment – How much money did you spend on this production? After crunching those numbers, determine if you recouped that investment through all your revenue channels. 
  • Add-Ons – Did patrons purchase any add-ons? These can range from upgrades in the theatre, VIP experiences, and exclusive offerings to merchandise, concessions, and the like. 
  • Upticks in Sponsors, Donors, or Grants – After the show, did you see an increase in monetary or in-kind donations? Did this show help you to secure more grants or business sponsors? 
  • An Uptick in Subscriptions – Did you see season ticket subscriptions or flex pass purchases increase from this show? 

Audience Response

Moving away from the data and numbers, a great – and very human – way to measure impact is through your audience’s response to your work. A few ways to gauge audience reaction are:

  • Response during the show: Did your audience seem engaged during the performance, even during “slower” scenes? Did they emote – laugh, cry, gasp, or applaud? 
  • Response directly after the show: Watch patrons as they leave the theatre. Did they discuss your work? Did they seem animated or emotionally moved? Did anyone come up to you to sing praises?
  • Response days/weeks after the show: Did you see patrons discussing your work online, through various social media channels? Were there positive reviews of your show, or rousing debates? To get a clearer response, consider sending out post-show surveys, conducting interviews, or hosting focus groups to get concise feedback

Other Audience Metrics 

Aside from initial and long-running opinions about your theatre, your audience can provide more insight into the impact of your show. Consider other metrics, including:

  • Purchase behavior – Did this show spur the growth of new patrons? Did patrons participate in any add-ons because of this show, whether merchandise, tiered upgrades, VIP experiences, or concessions? 
  • Return clients – When it comes time to sell tickets for your show, look at your repeat customers. Did any previously new patrons return to buy more tickets to your next show?

Marketing Performances 

Marketing is the backbone of most industries, and theatre is no exception. Measuring impact through tactical marketing metrics can give you a clearer picture of just how much interest the public has in your work. Consider:

  • Email metrics – Whether before or after your show, measure how many of your patrons opened and interacted with your emails. 
  • Newsletter engagement – Along the same lines, see if you gain an uptick in newsletter subscribers after the show.
  • Social media engagement – Social media insights can give you a clear look into the impact of your production. Did you gain more followers or increase your engagement?
  • General media coverage – Did local media channels, whether news, print, or digital, cover your show or review it? 

Social Impact

A more intangible way to measure impact is to determine how much your production affected your ecosystem at large – whether that is your town or city, your school, or the performing arts community in general. Measuring social impact can be completed by asking yourself the following questions: 

  • Did my show raise awareness of certain issues, either globally or within my community? 
  • Did my show challenge assumptions about societal norms? 
  • Did my show inspire positive action? 
  • Did my show educate my audience on some facet of history or culture? 
  • Did my show spur meaningful conversations?

Personal Growth

The impact can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Of course, the impact you may be most concerned about as a business owner or theatre leader is financial. But alongside your bottom line, your theatre can have a lasting impact through the personal growth of those involved. Looking back over your show – from auditions to rehearsals, tech week, and opening night, did the entire experience: 

  • Enhance the skills, knowledge, or experience of those involved? 
  • Broaden perspectives, create meaningful insights, or foster interpersonal connections? 
  • Ignite passions or careers?
  • Stir up feelings of pride and a sense of community


How On The Stage Can Help

All told, there are various ways to measure your production’s impact – from objective data analytics to introspective deep dives into personal growth. No matter the avenue you take, On The Stage can assist in increasing the impact of every show. Our all-in-one technology platform for the arts will elevate your theatre, assisting in everything from marketing campaigns to ticket sales, reporting, and fundraising. If you want a partner in your theatre journey, book a personalized demo today.