The Performing Arts at The Movies
As a theatre box office software, ThunderTix's Green Means Go prides itself on being a source of information performing arts theater and nonprofits can use for creative solutions to vexing problems. ThunderTix offers many features to theaters as an easy-to-use theatre box office software. We want to help theaters sell tickets, accept donations, and promote their shows.
This edition of Green Means Go looks at the problem of a lack of performance space for The Arts and how it's being solved with help from nearby independent cinemas. When "a night at the movies" becomes an "evening at the theater", not only do the patrons discover a new form of entertainment, cost are lowered and more money is made between the theater company and movie house.
Executive's note: With respect for your time, Green Means Go posts highlight the salient points and solutions from theaters and nonprofit entities.
Comrades In Crisis
The first such example of a traditional theater company finding a temporary new home at "the talkies" comes from Laura Brown as reported for The Guardian. Brown writes that her area is literally saturated with theater productions (that's kind of a fantastic "problem" to have actually) resulting in a lack of venues for performing arts to be enjoyed. Conversely, cinema venues are experiencing a bit of a drought.
Hollywood blockbuster films are not pulling in the people they once did. Attendance for mainstream film is down, as the big movie studios are in a malaise of sequels and re-makes. Even though the popularity of small independent film has been on the rise, the huge multiplex movie theaters can make enough money from such specialized tastes.
As it turns out, homeless performing arts productions and empty movie theaters are two great tastes that go great together. Brown's starts with the most important reason for of this new kind of civil union - money:
For audiences, tasting the world's best theater just a few miles from your own home is no longer a luxury. David Sin, head of cinemas at the Independent Cinema Office says performing arts programs at independent cinemas are becoming increasingly popular: "It brings to those cinemas an audience they don't normally attract; it keeps the box office ticking over as the ticket prices for theater are different from cinema prices."
Ticket prices for a movie and a play are very different. A movie theater might squeeze in eight performances a day for, at best $15 person. A play may command a per-ticket price north of $50 each running three times a day. A current movie theater owner may want to "do the math" and consider the value of having a live action play, or other performing art, in lieu of say Transformers 4.
Brown goes on to echo many of the recurring themes written of here in the Green Means Go series.
Sharing possibilities and ideas with neighboring venues and crossing platforms may help more people engage with the best productions in every town and city. Pooling funds, as well as ideas, could help reach (and build) wider audiences, giving both regional theater and independent cinema a higher and more distinctive profile.
There is another example of the performing arts and a local movie house cooperating, deep in the heart of Texas...
My Education at The Alamo
In Austin, Texas, one of the most successful start-up companies ever founded is not a high tech software firm, but a movie house. Officially named 'The Alamo Drafthouse', the beloved place to see film, lets moviegoers enjoy a expertly crafted cocktail with a delicious dinner, while watching a movie at the same time. The rave reviews for Alamo are so many, they are beyond the scope of this blog post. Suffice it to say the small franchise of bespoke movie theaters is an unbridled success. That success has not gone to it's head. Alamo has hourly performances of Hollywood's biggest films, yes, but it also play independent film and is host to an an eclectic mix of events.
The Arts also have their place at Alamo cinemas. One such performing art event is when local band My Education performs as the orchestra for an airing of the vintage silent film 'Sunrise' (as seen in the video above).
My Education is part orchestra, part rock band, made up of exceptionally talented performers who are all Austin area residents. When they perform as the score for a silent film, the experience is transformed in an overwhelmingly emotional one. A local review describes the experience of the arts combined with the movies as follows:
There comes those rare moments in time when you experience something that feels otherworldly. Maybe it was the first time you fell in love, you were moved by a short story or you had your favorite band take you on a journey. One of my favorite moments came with a cinematic experience coupled with live music. This was a few years ago when I caught My Education performing their all original live score to the silent classic film ‘Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans’. I was taken back by how great the film was and how the story was still relevant in this day and age. Underneath the screen was My Education performing their soundtrack which gave the film an enhanced meaning. Scenes popped off the screen, emotions cut through in highs and lows. This was an experience that left me with goosebumps and it was something I have looked for the band to do since.
Historical ticket data shows nearly every performance of My Education at Alamo has sold out well in advance. The performances are somewhat rare, occurring only a few times a year, which may explain the high demand for tickets. Moviegoers respond well to the high cultured sophistication of live orchestral music accompanied a silent film.
The Performing Arts at The Movies happen in more than just one Texas city...
The Performing Arts Are Paramount
Hundreds of miles North of Austin, in Abilene Texas, another cinema is cooperating with local theatrical productions to make a night out on the town special. The Paramount Theatre of Abilene is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with a long history of melding The Arts with film. The historic venue shows feature, classic and independent films, of course, but there are also concerts, musical productions, opera and dance. From the Paramount website:
The Paramount is the home of Paramount Productions, a producing wing of the theatre's non-profit organization, which presents live theatrical performances utilizing local and regoinal perfomers guided by professional theatre artists...Additionally, the theatre is rented by community arts organizations, performing groups, schools, and businesses for a myraid of events. The Children's Performing Arts Series, produced by the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council, brings professional children's theatre to Abilene. The Paramount is also the performance home for the Abilene Ballet Theatre, the Abilene Opera Association, the Celebration Singers, Chameleon Performing Arts Company, the Abilene Performing Arts Company.
To say the Paramount is just a theater that also shows movies is to ignore the tapestry of cultural enrichment all under one roof. The Paramount enjoys fiscal endowments from its established patrons as well as new donations from those wanting to be associated with such quality.
Theatre Box Office Software
ThunderTix is especially proud to be the theatre box office software of choice for the Paramount Theater. Our technology is what powers cooperative efforts between the performing arts and cinema. In addition to our interactive reserved seating charts, the Paramount makes full use of our extensive features tailored for nonprofit theaters. Your cinema can be home to a theatrical production using ThunderTix as your ticketing website too. We would love for you to contact us and ask how we can help graduate a night at the movies to be an evening of theater.
What is 'Green Means Go'? ThunderTix’s commitment to The Arts doesn't end with a sold out performance. We want to help theaters, big and small, meet their operational goals by sharing new ideas and best practices for accepting donations and increased ticket sales. 'Green Means Go' is a series for performing arts theaters and chronicles the latest developments in fundraising, event awareness and ticket sale technology.
The previous installments in this series include: