I would go to more independent theatre if . . .
You said:In-depth analysis:
First, the easy stuff. According to these results, big name actors, clear distinctions between companies and comedic theatre all rate low on people’s list of independent theatre expectations.
Cost seems to be a factor among only a minority of respondents: one person wants lower ticket prices, another wants money-back guarantees.
Two people voted for improved marketing materials. (More on this below.)
And another two said they want productions that are more accessible (presumably in regards to a production’s content).
These numbers are hardly conclusive, but as we move toward the higher-rated options, we see clearer definition in the responses and – by design – greater consensus.
Given the format of this poll, we’re not sure the most popular answers qualify as “winners”. Let’s, instead, call this “insight”.
Four respondents expressed a desire for increased quality in their independent theatre experience. There’s obviously a discussion to be had about what exactly is meant by “quality” and how to achieve it. Maybe we can put this one into our 10 questions rotation: “What do you think is the single greatest barrier to producing quality independent theatre?”
Another four respondents expressed interest in being able to buy tickets for a bunch of shows at one time.
But the most popular response to our survey was from people who feel they need to know more about independent theatre: What is independent theatre? What makes it independent? What are the benefits of independent theatre over mainstream and established theatre? How do I know which shows to go to?
Maybe there’s a link between this knowledge gap and the respondents who felt that marketing materials need to improve.
Obviously, this survey raised many more questions than it answered. But one thing seems clear: the more people we can entice into our theatres, the more work we’ll be able to produce. If there’s a gap between what independent theatre artists are doing and public perceptions of that work, its seems a worthwhile pursuit to examine our communications strategies with renewed vigour.
If anyone has further thoughts on this, let’s continue the discussion.