Ken Davenport writes a blog called producer’s perspective at http://www.theproducersperspective.com. He is also involved in BroadwaySpace.com, a social networking site for theater in NYC, with a focus on the commercial (as opposed to BigCheapTheater.com, a social networking site for small theater, primarily in Los Angeles).
We’d like to direct you to two posts he made this week. One is on the ever present New York Playbill, the half sheet folded programs that people collect to fill bookcases. They aren’t solely a NYC thing, the Alley Theatre and other Regional Houses use them as well and there is a company in LA that produce’s a similar publication called a Stagebill. Whatever you want to call it, a lot of them get printed (in advance) and a lot get trashed without much thought.
– Could we allow customers to leave their Playbills for the next patron (we could put a sleeve on the back of the seat in front of the customer, and the Playbill could be like an airline magazine. Take it if you want, leave it if you don’t.)
– Could we charge $1 for the Playbills and use the money to plant trees to offset the paper we’re burning through (in the same way that trucking companies like Clark Transfer dedicate monies to offsetting carbon emissions
– What about removing the casting information from the Playbills altogether so they don’t have to be reprinted as often, and using new inserts each week or each day (London doesn’t even have Playbills)
– Issue one Playbill for every two people or have the ushers add “share your playbills” messages to their “be seated” speeches.
The first and third ideas are my favorites, but you can take a look at the original post by clicking here.
I also want to direct some attention to his writing on the impact of the economy on theater:
Those of us here working on the Big Broadway tend not to worry about what’s happening in the hinterlands, but we should, because it affects us all.
Actors’ Equity Association just lost three major employers, and our investors and writers just lost three major distribution houses that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties every year. That means it just got a little harder to recoup shows and for writers to earn money post-Broadway.
This is in referrence to the troubles faced by The Magic Theatre in San Francisco, North Shore Music Theatre (running HSM2 of all things and on the losing end), and Carousel Dinner Theatre in Ohio.