Real Estate? Maybe. Curb Appeal? Definitely

you_are_probably_not_here_webFood for thought post in the Mission Paradox today:

Marketing, Real Estate and You

“My point is that you should NEVER underestimate the power of real estate.  That doesn’t mean that you need to build your own space.  Renting can be just as good or better.  But if you are having a problem drawing audience, maybe you need to change the space where the work is happening.”

I completely agree with the post and its principles. And I thought for a while about what some of the nicest real estate in Toronto was for theatre. Then I thought some more about some of the best or most interesting work I’d seen, and whether or not they could have afforded better real estate. Probably not. So I thought a bit more about what they could have done to improve that experience.
(Note: I am aware that some pieces have a certain aesthetic to them. But if you’re doing standard people sitting and watching your play, read on)

Answer your cell phone with something other that “Yeah?” If you’ve listed your private number as the box office contact – it means it is no longer your private number. Which means you have to answer cheerfully, professionally and properly, and if the phone wakes you up – let it go to voice mail and call them back when you are coherent.

Signage. I like seeing theatre in “non-traditional” spaces. I don’t like traipsing down alleyways, or up unlit staircases, wondering if I’m in the right place. Even a sheet or two of 8.5 X 11 saying (THE SHOW) is this way. On that note: I know I personally have a terrible sense of direction. Just so you know, odds are very good you need one more sign, between the first one and the second one. If I can find you, you’ve done a stellar wayfinding job.

Please tape down cords and light the three steps down into the space. Or glow-tape them. People pitching into your theatre is not how you want this to begin. It puts them in a bad mood.

I guess all I’m saying is, do everything you can to make it easy for me to find you. That way when I get there I can focus on your work, and not have to be brushing off lingering irritation about how difficult it was to get there. I also believe it’s about the art – but we are human, and everything leading up to it affects us. I know sometimes that the journey is part of the experience, but if it’s more important for me to enjoy the destination when I get there, please help me do that.

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