Patron engagement is critical to the growth and success of your theatre. Engagement can mean a variety of things – from generating new interest or nurturing long-standing relationships – with the end goal of providing memorable and personalized experiences for all and keeping your patrons coming back for more.

It’s important to maintain ongoing patron engagement year-round, and that includes keeping pre-show efforts top of mind. Fostering engagement before a show – whether it be with content, your brand as a whole, or fun campaigns – has a variety of benefits, including:

  • Financial perks: Patrons’ financial backing allows you to plan ahead and concentrate on your creative process.
  • Networking perks: Your patrons have a variety of contacts that, if utilized, could better improve your theatre. By engaging patrons, you open the door to more community connections. 
  • Creative perks: Your patrons can be a wonderful asset when it comes to restructuring your theatre or making creative decisions. Their feedback can help to refine your show. 

So, now that we know why engagement is important, how can you get the engagement train rolling before your next show? Here are a few tips and tricks.

8 Best Pre-Show Engagement Practices 

Network, Network, Network

To increase excitement, interest, and engagement before your next show, make sure you and your theatre’s advocates are attending events – from art fairs to other local theatre showcases, talent shows, charity events, and more. Remember that any event can be a great opportunity to network, find community connections, increase awareness of your theatre, and spread the word about your upcoming shows. 

Utilize Social Media 

We’ll never stop touting the many benefits of social media. In terms of patron engagement, digital platforms are key. Use social media platforms – and your show website – to share your work, engage with your followers, and connect with potential patrons. You can post behind-the-scenes content to pique interest or plan giveaways with show merchandise or tickets. 

Collaborate with Sponsors and Community Partners

Collaborating with other community-based artists, local businesses, or sponsors can introduce you to new audiences and, thus, new potential patrons. Additionally, collaborating with other artists will help get the creative juices flowing for your next production. 

Keep Patrons Informed with Regular Communication

You won’t get patrons excited about your show if you rarely communicate with them. That being said, make sure you’re sharing regular updates about your work, your next show, any blooming projects, partnerships, and achievements you want to celebrate. 

By creating these two-way relationships with patrons, they’ll feel more invested and involved in your journey. Make sure you have an organized and effective patron database with which to utilize email marketing communications. 

Express Gratitude 

Everyone enjoys feeling appreciated – and saying “thank you” goes a long way. Your patrons are the backbone of your organization, so make sure you’re recognizing their support. Consider shoutouts on social media, personalized thank-you notes, or extra perks to ensure they’re feeling valued. 

Encourage Patron Interaction

One of the best things a theatre can do is create a sense of community for patrons, actors, crew members, and other enthusiasts. Make sure you’re harboring in-person and digital platforms that allow patrons to interact with each other. This will deepen your connection with your patrons and create a safe place for people to be themselves. Win-win! 

Engage the Press

Boosting your visibility via press outlets is a great way to connect with existing and new patrons. From press releases to print and digital advertising, news and radio spots, snippets in community calendars, or posters in local businesses, you’re allowing more people to hear about your work. That means more tickets sold!

Provide Sneak Peeks

You always want to leave patrons wanting a little more… which is why sneak peeks are an excellent way to drum up engagement. Alongside posting snippets of rehearsals on your social media platforms, consider inviting patrons to preview nights or dress rehearsals. They will feel like VIPs, and, after feeling valued, will be more likely to share your work with others. 

How On The Stage Can Help 

On The Stage (OTS) understands that theatremakers around the country need robust patron engagement and relationship tools to understand the needs and behavior of their audience. OTS is committed to continuous innovation and strives to maintain a deep understanding of what theatremakers need to ensure the success of their organization. 

That’s why the OTS Patron Management Tools have recently been refined and updated to continually serve customers’ needs. If you’re looking to elevate your theatre experience for yourself and your patrons, book a personalized demo today. 

Related products and solutions