Living Ticket Update, Week Two

(Photo by Kelly O’Donnell, edited by Isaiah Tanenbaum, because it’s just too soon for a hi-five on the Living Ticket yet. Post by August Schulenburg. Read more about the Living Ticket and Open Book programs, and then reserve your Salvage Living Ticket today!)

Last week, we shared our progress from the first week of the new Living Ticket and Open Book programs. If you’re in a hurry, the short version is that while the first week was our best first week in terms of attendance and income…we were more than two weeks behind. Would the extra time it took to get the Living Ticket and Open Book programs running doom them before they started?

Week Two offers no clear conclusions, but here are the stats:

56 Living Tickets reserved!

From those 56 Living Tickets, Flux received $958.74 in donations. As per last week, there’s been a great blend of folks giving at a wide range of levels–from free to the full Living Wage rate.

But how are we tracking in terms of catching up with past shows? We are now 12 days away from opening night of SalvageAt this same point for Once Upon a Bride There Was a Forest, we were at 80 tickets and $1,080 in income. For Jane the Plain, we were at 115 tickets and $1,009 in income. (Interesting side note: the big jump that Jane made versus Bride over that two-weeks-out mark may be a result of more aggressive, limited availability discounting that we did for Jane, which resulted in higher attendance, but lower income.)

So what does this mean for Salvage and the Living Ticket

While we’re catching up with Bride, that beautiful show was unfortunately not well-attended by Flux standards. That makes Jane a better target for us, and in that regard, we’re not making any headway–we’re still tracking at 50% of Jane’s rate of attendance.

On the positive side, a lot of the gains made in this past week came in the last few days, when (after returning from an insanely busy two weeks away) I began personally emailing people with the Living Ticket pitch. I’ve started with folks who know and love Flux, and they’ve been very supportive of Salvage and the Living Ticket.  If we can rally our core community to RSVP early and create a narrative of momentum, it might make a big difference in the Living Ticket’s success. (For those who raise the justifiable concern that the study would be marred by this personalized outreach, I do it for every show.) I’m basically only a third of the way through that core community, and so if I can keep up the pace over the next few days, we could conceivably catch up with Jane by the next report. My feeling is we have to track Jane in this early ground game, because…

…we are not working with a press agent for the first time in years.

This isn’t because we don’t love Emily Owens; in fact, we absolutely think the world of her and are eager to work with her again. But the ensemble core values we’re manifesting through Open Book require wage equity, and it’s simply not possible for us to pay all of our collaborators the (entirely reasonable) fee Emily needs to charge to keep her business running.

So, that means we can’t rely on the same level of press and positive reviews to drive middle of the run attendance. Alisha and Chinaza have stepped up to run the press relations for Flux, and they’re doing a great job, but we got a late start there, too, and can only assume that without Emily, we will see some press attrition.

So are we falling on the swords of our ideals, or simply experiencing the growing pains of advancing a new program on short notice? We should have a much clearer picture by Week Three, so stay tuned…and reserve your Living Ticket to Salvage!

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