Audience subscriptions rise

The general manager of The Canadian Stage Company credits strategic marketing with boosting audience subscriptions for the 1994-95 season to record-breaking levels.Martin Bragg, the company's general manager, says by identifying and targetting former or current Canadian Stage patrons, the company has...

The general manager of The Canadian Stage Company credits strategic marketing with boosting audience subscriptions for the 1994-95 season to record-breaking levels.

Martin Bragg, the company’s general manager, says by identifying and targetting former or current Canadian Stage patrons, the company has increased subscriptions 45% over this time last year.

Bragg, who began in theatre as an actor, then moved backstage, says it has been a case of Canadian Stage dropping the shotgun approach in favor of the rifle shot.

Bragg says the Toronto-based company’s strategic marketing plan, dubbed, ’75 by 95,’ set out to achieve a 75% subscribed house by 1995.

To date, he says 81% of last year’s subscribers have renewed their season tickets for Canadian Stage’s 1994-95 line-up of plays, and there are four months left in the marketing campaign.

Bragg says to reach that figure Canadian Stage used telemarketing, calling subscribers who had attended the theatre and so had some connection with it already.

As well, he says the company delved into its database to find out which subscribers for 1993-94 had not subscribed for the next season.

Bragg says during the last couple of plays in 1993-94, reminder notes from Canadian Stage were left on the seats of those subscribers who had not renewed their tickets.

Also, during the last two plays of the 1993-94 season, Bragg says he made pre-curtain speeches thanking patrons for their support.

Yet, despite the astute marketing of 75 by 95, Bragg makes clear it was all done with a soft-sell approach.

Subscribers to the coming year’s line-up at Canadian Stage get a 20% saving off single ticket prices – equal to one play free, special ticket bonuses on Berkeley Street Theatre productions, invitations to special events, preferred seating, and more.

Plays scheduled for Canadian Stage and its Berkeley Street offshoot include Don Hannah’s The Wooden Hill, Hay Fever by Noel Coward, Transit of Venus by Maureen Hunter and David Mamet’s Oleanna.