Experiments with Ticket Sales: Filament Theatre in Chicago
November 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
Remember that idea about a theatre that doesn’t sell tickets? Ok, well, this isn’t exactly that, but it is very interesting. The Filament Theatre in Chicago is changing the way it sells tickets this year based off of Community Supported Agriculture. Instead of selling tickets outright, the theatre is posting their production budget online and allowing patrons to sponsor a specific item in the budget. You can pay anywhere from $5-$35 on the rent, costumes, pieces of the set and then see that same show you sponsored. Tickets are general admission, so paying more or less won’t get you a better seat. Filament is attempting to keep all of their numbers transparent and connect more with the community. It’s not revolutionary, but it sounds interesting. Attaching a physical piece of the production with your dollar might make people feel more connected to the show. You can literally point to a costume and say, "I paid for that button!" or something along those lines. The website (which is not up at the time of writing) is supposedly set up like a wedding registry. This might also create some urgency since the cheaper items will likely go first and buying a "rush ticket" will likely mean paying $35 dollars for 1/80th of the rent (I’m assuming).
What I would like to see is a theatre expand on this idea even more. When Radiohead released their album "In Rainbows" a couple years ago, they allowed people to pay whatever they want to download it. Sure, many many people paid less than a buck, but Radiohead still saw profits on the experiment. People paid what they thought was fair, or paid on the basis of their insane fandom. A nonprofit theatre probably wouldn’t have the same insane fans that Radiohead has, but it might be interesting to see how much people would pay when given the chance to choose themselves from an unlimited range of prices.