Brisa’s Pieces: Social Networking a la Live Theater

Brisa’s Pieces: Social Networking a la Live Theater

By Brisa Trinchero on February 21, 2013
Just as live theater is the original 3D entertainment, so too can old-school face to face social networking be a goldmine for your box office and a benefit for your audiences.

We all know that people attend theater specifically for the live experience. They want to see the performers in the flesh and experience the energy of a full house. However, theaters have a unique opportunity to provide live experiences beyond just the stage.

The other night, I attended a regional theater production.  While waiting for the house to open I noticed  a group of people having a fabulous time in the corner of the lobby.   When I asked the house manager what was going on in the roped off corner, she told me it was Singles Night at the theater. Now, I’m not single but they sure looked like they were having more fun than I was while we all waited for the house to open.

Having theater theme nights isn’t a new concept. But I’m surprised at how few theaters take advantage of the opportunity. The face to face opportunities that people crave in this era of all-things-online in their “social networking” are the same as why they attend live theater. The two go hand in hand.

If you only have limited resources at your theater, you can start small. Simply pick one or two themes that you think your audience might embrace and test them out for a night or two during the run of your next show. If you have a separate room for an event, great. If not, the corner of the lobby works just fine or you can even send the group to the bar across the street afterward - your work is to provide the opportunity to connect. No need to hold a block of tickets, just advertise it up front and people can buy tickets for that performance.

If you have more resources, make it bigger. Reach out to the people within whatever theme you’ve chosen - singles groups, book clubs, young professionals, GLBT, teens, etc and create a mini pre or post show event for them. Maybe include a backstage tour, maybe not. Often these groups are simply looking for something fun to do and if you provide the venue and entertainment, they can take it from there.

Websites like also provide an excellent place to mine potential groups for a theater outing. There are literally thousands of people who are actively looking for things to do. The theater-interested groups should be your first call but there are many, many groups that rely on finding unique outings - why not invite them to the theater? Offer a discount or don’t. Offer refreshments or simply give them access to your concessions.

I’ve attended pre-show wine tastings that were entirely hosted by local wineries. I’ve seen successful father/daughter nights at the theater and so many other brilliant and creative ideas.
I’d recommend giving it a try. Start small if you need to. Try a few and give the program a chance to catch on. You’ll find out what groups are drawn to your particular kind of theater and if you stick with it, word will get out.

Your audiences are showing up to connect with live people, why not do more to give them what they came for?

If you’ve hosted successful theme nights, tell us about them in the comments below!

Read all of Brisa’s Pieces here.

You can reach Brisa via MTIShowspace or on twitter: @brisatrinchero. I also blog about the art and business of new musicals at I look forward to hearing from you!