Let’s just forget about getting kids to go to the theater.
“Let’s get kids to see Broadway shows,” blah, blah, blah.
That’s what I hear repeated ad nauseam from everyone interested in the future of Broadway, including me (check out this post from last week to hear my latest whine about it).
Sure, kids are the seeds of our future audience, blah, blah, blah . . . but that’s not who we should be focused on. We can’t get kids to come to the theater. It’s impossible.
But we can get parents to come to the theater. And we can get parents to take their kids to the theater.
We know for a fact, fact, fact that exposure as a kid is what creates a future habit, (in all things, actually, not just the theater). And we also know that most kids don’t have $140 to spend on a ticket or a driver’s license . . . or a late enough bedtime to allow them to see a weeknight show.
So our job is not to get kids to the theater. And honestly, it’s not even always about getting parents to take their kids to the theater.
Our job is two-fold:
– Yes, get parents to take their kids to see a Broadway show.
– Give each parent such a wonderfully positive, life changing experience when they see a Broadway show, with their kids or without, that they want to pass on that feeling and that tradition to the other members of their family.
Yes, that starts with what is on the stage.
But it’s also about creating an inviting, inclusive and yes, sometimes affordable (thank you ‘Kids Night on Broadway’), off-stage experience as well.
So what can we do to get those parents to spend just one of their busy and tired nights a month with us? Is it free babysitting? Is it “play”-dates? Is it special matinee performances? Or more matinees during school vacations?
There’s probably no parental silver bullet, but it’s worth spending some time and money on.
Because kids are the future. But parents hold the key.
And if we hook a parent, you get the kids for free.
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