Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Summer Days, Summer Nights

It may be cold outside - okay, it is cold outside - very cold - but the wheels are already starting to turn on our summer season preparations.

First and foremost, we have selected the seven shows that we will be producing this season. As long as the royalties people don't rain on the parade then we shouldn't have a problem getting any of these shows from the page to the stage.

The Ennotville Library has been getting some repairs done this winter - look for new windows, draperies and other improvements this summer.

We have begun to assemble the promotional materials that will form the backbone of our summer marketing campaign. We have a "Groups and Tours" kit that we will distribute to bus tour operators, senior's centres and many, many other locations and organizations in the next few weeks. Our season brochure is in the final stages of development as well, and this will be what we will use to conduct our season subscription campaign. And finally, we are putting together a media kit for our friends in the print, radio, television businesses. All this, combined with a revamping of our online presence, will become the raw materials that all of us can use to get the word out about the summer season.

And it's going to take a mammoth effort. I want this to be the summer that Grinder "breaks out."

My goals for the season are three-fold.

First, I want us to generate at least 100 season subscriptions by opening night, June 12th. If you think about it, that's only 50 couples - not an unreasonable number, but it will still take a lot of effort. With a season pass at $70 per person for many people that represents a significant investment of their summer entertainment budget.

Second, I want at least one group (of ten or more) for every matinee this season. Again, if you think about it, that's only 15 groups - certainly we can do that, right? But most groups are made up of seniors, and with a weakening economy even a $12 ticket (while still far, far, far less that the group rate of any other theatre company, like Drayton) could be cause for hesitation.

And finally I want all 60 performances this summer (48 in Ennotville and 12 in Belwood) to be performed for an audience taking up at least 20% of the theatre's seating capacity. Again, that's an extremely modest aim - 10 patrons in Ennotville and 30 patrons in Belwood and we've hit 20%, and most theatre's run their budgets with the expectation of a 40% house - but even these numbers are going to take a good deal of work.

I think this is going to be our best summer ever. We have some great people lined up already, and more are coming on board every week. We have seven great shows that audiences will surely love. There's an enthusiasm, an excitement in people's voices (not just my own!) around the upcoming shows. Yes, it is going to be a challenge, a huge challenge, selling tickets, and it's a job that very few people really like doing, but I believe that it's going to be worth it.

One day soon I'll have all the summer documents ready for posting on the blog. And as the winter and spring go on I'll be devoting more and more space here to summer preparations.

But until then, stay warm everyone. Summer will be here before you know it.

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