In the hustle and bustle of putting together a great show, you may forget why you’re creating your end product. It’s not for revenue, notoriety, or personal development – although those are great perks! No, presenting theatre is about sharing creativity, creating a community, and facilitating memorable experiences for your patrons. 

You might be thinking: I’m knee-deep in rehearsals, tech week is looming, and I don’t have time to think about the patron experience right now. We get it – but it’s worth the effort, promise! On The Stage (OTS) offers a few simple yet impactful ways to set the stage for memorable theatre experiences for your patrons. 

7 Tips for Creating Memorable Theatre Experiences

Encourage and Facilitate Dialogue 

There’s nothing quite like talking with friends and family before a big performance – what number or scene you’re most looking forward to, how excited you are to see the interpretation, or the lead nail it in person. Another great moment happens on the ride home when nuanced discussions about the show lead to a deeper understanding of what you’ve just watched. 

So, as the theatremaker, why not facilitate dialogue about your production yourself? This way, you’ll create buzz before the performance and nurture engagement afterward.

Facilitating dialogue can look like a lot of different things, including:

  • Posting polls on social media before the show about what patrons are most looking forward to or what they want to see when they visit 
  • Posting behind-the-scenes content to give patrons an inside look at rehearsals 
  • Sending feedback sheets to valued patrons after the show, asking them what they enjoyed about the show and what they wish was different
  • Asking questions before or after your show about your production’s general themes and characters to encourage discussion
  • If you’re in an academic environment, creating a teacher workbook that will allow educators to talk about the show with their class

Offer Pre- or Post-Show Activities

If you really want to increase engagement, offering events or activities before or after your show can certainly help.

Consider hosting a lecture prior to the show if it’s for adults or handing out a list of questions if the show is geared more toward kids or young adults. Keep in mind people’s attention spans! 

Host a Q&A session with the cast and crew after the production to allow patrons to get answers to their burning questions. 

Consider a themed craft activity before or after the event, where kids and parents can work on themed souvenirs to take home (pssst – this is the perfect time to push your merch, too). The sky’s the limit with these activities. 

Make Your Show Program Interactive 

We all know how important a show program can be for production – it can help you gain revenue, explain important components of your production to your patrons, and give props to your hardworking cast and crew.

You can also utilize this space to create an interactive component for patrons. Consider a production-themed word search or a list of questions to discuss with their seatmate. Either way, remember that program space is prime real estate – use it wisely! 

Cultivate VIP Experiences and Reward Loyalty 

When patrons feel valued, you create a more memorable theatre experience for them, leading to continued purchases and reliable attendance at your shows. A great way to ensure patrons feel valued is by rewarding loyalty through reward programs. 

Whether your reward program offers discounts for long-time patrons or VIP experiences like backstage tours or prime seats, make sure the audience members who consistently patronize your theatre are being treated well—they are the backbone of your revenue stream, after all! 

Present Giveaways/Competitions

Another way to create engagement and make memorable experiences is through giveaways and competitions via social media. 

Incentivizing following and sharing your theatre’s content by offering ticket or merchandise giveaways for participants. Additionally, consider hosting competitions for followers or within your own team for relevant prizes. If you leave patrons with a good impression the first time they interact with you, they’re much more likely to return to your theatre. And a great way to make a good first impression is through free swag! 

Dip Your Toe in Immersive Theatre 

Before you freak out, we’re not asking you to go way outside your theatre comfort zone! But you can create more memorable theatre experiences by stretching your creative muscles when it comes to your production.

Consider a few small changes to a show that keep your audience members engaged – and talk about your show long after the curtains close. Have actors break the fourth wall or enter the audience seating for certain portions of the show. To appeal to neurodivergent folks, consider offering muted sensory shows and sections where movement is A-OK. The key here is inclusivity – which leads to greater engagement! 

Tailor Your Messaging

No matter how you communicate with your patrons—email, letter, phone, in-person, carrier pigeon (just kidding)—make sure you segment your patron base and offer communication that resonates with them. 

Some of your patrons are long-time audience members, while others just decided to visit your theatre for the first time. That said, the messaging and communication should be different for both. Use your data, study your demographics, and ensure you’re providing tailored communication to different facets of your audience. This personal connection will reap major rewards. 

On The Stage Patron Management Tools

As we’ve discovered, engaging with patrons is critical to the growth and ongoing success of your theatre. If you want to better understand your audience and nurture a loyal patron base, On The Stage (OTS) can help. OTS offers a variety of patron relationship management tools that empower you with data, patron information, and insights you need to reach your goals. 

Here are just a few of OTS’ Patron Management Tools offerings: 

  • Custom Fields – Track any and all information you need about your patrons for better personalization and more refined targeting.
  • Bulk Upload – Easily import information from any source into the OTS platform, making it easier than ever to switch to OTS!
  • Exportable Patron Lists — OTS makes it simple to export your contact lists to use across other tools, allowing you to segment your audience to meet your specific marketing and engagement needs.
  • Patron Purchase and Journey Insights – Track your audience’s engagement and develop a deeper understanding of their purchase journey by utilizing Google Analytics, Meta Pixel, and OTS reporting.

So what are you waiting for? Partner with OTS to grow your patron base and keep them engaged. Book a personalized demo today to get started. 

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