Why membership is our future

I apologise for the lateness of this weeks column but apparently it is possible to get Delhi-belly without actually going to Delhi.

I apologise for the lateness of this weeks column but apparently it is possible to get Delhi-belly without actually going to Delhi.

Today is a little bit about self-promotion but I wanted to speak to everybody about why we have a little bit of a membership push going at the moment and why I believe membership is a huge part of where this website, and where theatre itself goes in the future.

I know I mention sport too many times in this column but I will reflect on it just one more time for this issue.

The major sporting codes in this country – and let’s just stick with the AFL and NRL – have strong membership support. The AFL has led this campaign for many years, and in fact the number of members each club has is somewhat startling. As a rugby league follower, it makes you jealous. The NRL has finished the year on the back of a very strong push for new members and most clubs saw a spike this year.

Membership is important as it obviously shores up support, and more importantly, finances. Go to the game or not, your ticket is paid for.

The comparison with theatre comes in the shape of subscription purchases.

Companies like the Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company and Belvoir all rely on subscribers to give them a little more confidence and to set their vision for the year, and years, ahead.

I don’t think enough emphasis is placed on how important subscriptions are to theatre companies, and as theatre lovers, we need to embrace membership as almost a must-do. We must belong to the world of theatre, not just sit on the sidelines.

Perhaps one of the big risk factors for major musicals is that these subscriptions aren’t really there to fall back on. There’s no ‘membership’ to the major shows, just like in sporting terms there is no membership to a major event, such as the Grand Final. There is, however, options for members of various clubs and teams to have priority booking windows. Perhaps something in theatre would work just as well.

I think the theatre industry as a whole needs to re-think how they sell subscription packages, and offer season ticket holders something above and beyond what they get now. It is time to take membership of theatre to a whole new level.

Here at AussieTheatre.com, we are essentially doing the same. We are moving to a huge focus for members, and for a $99.00 membership fee at the moment you can become a member, get access to discounts and giveaways, and get a free double pass to Fame in the process. We see membership as a key to our future, and what we do for theatre.

Think about your options in 2011 – become a member here, and become a subscriber to a theatre company.

It’s time we all got more involved.

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