In news that could have ramifications for the orchestra world, Robert Hurwitt reports in Wednesday’s (6/10) San Francisco Chronicle that “Free Night of Theater, the 4-year-old national audience development program administered locally by Theatre Bay Area, succeeds in attracting new audiences and in contributing to their ‘aesthetic growth,’ according to a study released Tuesday. The study, announced at a news conference at New Conservatory Theatre Center, was conducted by Alan Brown of the consulting firm WolfBrown.  The key finding, bearing out earlier follow-up surveys in the months after previous Free Nights, is that giving away tickets works not just to attract new theatergoers to a free show, but also to convert a significant number into future paying customers. A full 28 percent of Free Nighters expressed strong interest in seeing the company’s future shows, with another 37 percent showing milder interest. Theatre Bay Area’s local and Theatre Communications Group’s national follow-up surveys show rates of paid return attendance of 41 to 44 percent for each of the past three years.”

Posted June 11, 2009