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8 Expert Tips for Cultivating a Loyal Theatre Community

By On The Stage

Loyalty within your theatre community drives a variety of positive outcomes – from more engagement online to higher attendance rates and a bigger budget down the line. But how do you cultivate that loyalty from scratch? On The Stage offers you a few ideas to get started. 

Focus on Accessibility

If you’re a true theatre lover, then you surely believe the arts should be accessible to all. Embody that belief through the creation of a more accessible theatre on your own terms. A few ideas include tiered pricing for show tickets, offering giveaways and discounts for bulk buys or nonprofits, or ticket donations/freebie viewings to certain members of your theatre community.

In a broader sense, ensure your content is accessible to those who can’t physically make it to your theatre. Offering video-on-demand and streaming options will grow your audience and their loyalty to you in one fell swoop.

Support Continued Engagement 

Oftentimes, loyalty is fed through continued engagement with the community. This can look like dynamic social media content, including polls, behind-the-scenes clips, and consistent new material for your patrons to enjoy. 

Another way to engage your audience is by asking your patrons for feedback after shows. This keeps them involved in the process and ensures you’re delivering what they want, meaning they’ll keep coming back.

Reward Loyalty 

Once you see loyalty blooming in your community, reward it quickly. This will spur – you guessed it – even more dedication to your work! 

A few ideas include early bird specials for certain shows, discount codes on merchandise and tickets, lucrative sponsorship opportunities, and acknowledgements in your theatre programs, to name a few. If you’re a theatre that produces a steady amount of content a year, you could implement a customer loyalty program for those buying tickets to every show. No matter the avenue, lead with gratitude. 

 

Cultivate Partnerships

Community partnerships are an ideal way to up your loyalty by simple association. For example, if certain arts programs, local restaurants, shops, or community centers support your theatre, then their loyal patrons will, too. 

Forming these partnerships can be tricky, no doubt about it. We have a few ideas to get you started.  

 

Think Outwardly 

While theatre can be an intensely personal endeavor, you also need to focus on creating value for your community. Consider programming options for your community members, like workshops, camps, and speaking events. By bringing value to your community, they will in turn appreciate you and your work more. 

 

Make All Feel Welcome

One of the best ways to create loyalty within any context is to ensure people feel like they are welcome with you. In a theatrical context, this could manifest in a few ways. Host philanthropy events and open houses to encourage community members to get to know you and your work – and ensure you’re greeting and talking with everyone who walks through the door. Set up booths at local events to remain visible in the public eye. Encourage people with little to no theatre experience to visit your program and see what it’s all about. Essentially, work to create a sense of community, and people will remain loyal to that community. 

 

Look at the Data & Utilize Targeted Marketing Efforts 

Theatre leaders need data analytics, it’s true. With data analysis, you can best understand your audience and your target demographics. Whether you’re a small but mighty team of one, or have a few coworkers at the ready to help, take some time to sift through your social media and ticket buyer insights. Who is coming to your show? Who follows you on social media? 

Understanding your demographics and catering to that will reap loyalty in the long run. After you’ve found your audience, work diligently to create authentic but targeted marketing. Whether that’s strategic email campaigns, social media sponsored posts, or merchandise pushes, it’s time to kick your marketing into high gear. 

Wow Your Community from Start to Finish

It’s a simple idea: blow your patrons away with your work and they will continue to return. While that’s all well and good in theory, there are other ways to wow your audiences. From their first step into your theatre until your season is over, ensure you’re giving 100% to every patron you encounter. Customer service can be just as influential in cultivating loyalty as the work itself. Remember – people won’t remember what you said, but how you made them feel … so make them feel great!


While cultivating community loyalty within your theatre program may seem a bit daunting, On The Stage has an expansive toolset to help you get started on that and many other goals. Whether you want to tighten up your marketing, streamline your ticketing process, better engage your audience, or just generally empower your theatre, book a personalized demo today.

Tags: production, resources, how-to, marketing

On The Stage

On The Stage

By theatre makers, for theatre makers, On The Stage offers expert insights, best-in-class support, and an all-in-one platform for ticketing, promotion, audience engagement, and more...including a complete production and streaming platform for performing artists. Learn more today.