Updated: 28 May 2013
Loft Theatre Company
The numbers game
Our most recent show, Calendar Girls, played to 97% which
counts in my book as a technical full house. We can never be more than
100% sold so the last single digit percentage points are as elusive as
creating absolute zero (-273°C) in the laboratory. My
congratulations and thanks to Gus and everyone involved.
Interesting facts can be elicited and conclusions drawn from this
performance and from the other high 90% shows we have had this season.
The overwhelming majority of the seats are sold to people that are not
members. The average price is therefore high because there are no
voucher holders amongst the majority which comprises 75%+ of the
purchases. These shows are therefore good revenue earners not just
because of the volume but also because of this price factor.
These shows also slay some myths. Chief among these is that hoary one
which holds that ‘nobody knows where the Loft is’. Clearly
many people do. Another is that there is ‘something wrong with
marketing outputs’. Fact is, all shows receive similar treatment
and expenditure. Calendar Girls got no more than any
other show. Now, it may be true that greater expenditure on other
shows might nudge their numbers upwards but it is hard to know which
shows to do that with and where to apply the spend. Local press
advertising is expensive and inefficient since it means marketing a
niche product to a general readership. The shows for which it works
best are those with a broad demographic appeal – but they sell
anyway as Calendar Girls demonstrates.
The other number that interests is the average attendance and the
confusion that percentages create. Recent shows have averaged well
over 1200 seats sold. I would love it to be more but I can think of a
number of LTG houses locally which would love to have those numbers.
In last month’s column I reminisced about the 1970s and the Loft
bar. Over the past year we have experimented with Friday-night opening
but there has been no significant take-up. We have lost money doing it
but had committed to running it for a year to give it every chance of
growing. It didn’t and so the board has now taken the decision
to end the experiment and the bar is no longer open on any non-show
nights except for organised special events.
I am aware of the increased level of difficulty for casts, crew and
all our volunteers caused by the increased use of the Yard facilities
and the closure of Bath Place car park for the sewer engineering. I do
not have any easy answers but will have some conversations with people
inside WDC and see if I can pull something together that will be
helpful. Please do not place any bets on my success.
If you would like to discuss anything I have said here, or
just want to chat – or complain – about any other aspect
of the theatre that concerns you, please get in touch. I am always
happy to talk.
Contact me by phone on 07763 974264, or via email to