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live theatre in front of our screen! 07 Jun 2006 08:55 #16115

  • Mike
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We have started working with a local musician doing a Vaudeville show every first Sunday of the month. Comedy-music-sketches-live band-guest musicians-poetry. Show lasts 2 hours and it is filmed live for local cable tv. Sells out 160 seats in the original 1918 theatre stage.

Then I hired a "Mark Twain" one man show for a one night run. 550.00.

People who go to this stuff do not buy a lot of food. But it is fun.

Anyone else do any live stuff?



Michael Hurley
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Re: live theatre in front of our screen! 08 Jun 2006 15:16 #16116

  • revrobor
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Hey Mike:

I'm about to leave for Sumner, Iowa (up in the northeast corner) where I will be employed as GM of a community owner theatre (both film and live). The house was built in the 50s and was closed for about 20 years. A community group bought it and restored it. They eliminated about half the seats (down to 248) in order to install a full stage. Up to now they have been using a local theatre group and groups from the University of Northern Iowa. I hope to be able to book in other groups.

The theatre re-opened about three years ago and looks brand new and right out of the 50s. Would you believe the one price of admission for all age groups is .99 cents? And they have been steadily packing the house and making money. The non-profit that owns it has never had to subsidized it.

Since it is a community theatre some of the staff are volunteers but a couple of staff members (including myself) are salaried. I will be doing the booking and, so far, it's been the G and PG stuff that has made the money for them. But what do you expect in conservative Iowa?

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
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Re: live theatre in front of our screen! 08 Jun 2006 17:21 #16117

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If you run into any touring acts that are not the way high price spread looking for sites in Maine send them to me at 207-338-1975

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Re: live theatre in front of our screen! 08 Jun 2006 22:18 #16118

  • dsschoenborn
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We do several live shows a year. We have a full stage with a restored theatre organ so that helps a lot.

Our first few years we did fantastic. Now that I have been doing this for 6 plus years it is getting hard. First we used local acts and the organ with silent films. Now I am looking for some more regional or touring acts.

I did a full 2 hour magic show the other year. I had sponsership so we could run lots of ads and even some TV. We did good but never sold out either show. I had even thought we would have to add a show but that did not happen.

So easy at first but as you go on you must have that variety. The one thing that worked for me at first but I have seam to lost is tour groups. selling 45 tickets at one time helps sell those 500 seats much faster.
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Re: live theatre in front of our screen! 29 Sep 2007 22:44 #16119

  • tratcliff
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I am bringing this thread back up because we are considering doing more live events ( concerts, plays, etc. )
We have a good size stage and do several concerts a year, mostly Southern Gospel, but they are not well attended.

But we are looking a doing more things, more of a variety of live things to help get us through the slow movies months.

Anyone else doing this?
Or does anyone have any advice on what types of events might work?

revrobor, your post in this thread suggests your theatre may be doing something similar to what we are looking into - a more movie/live mix. How is it working out there?

Tony Ratcliff
Ohio Theatre
Madison, Indiana
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Re: live theatre in front of our screen! 30 Sep 2007 00:34 #16120

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Live shows can be very expensive and extremely risky. That is why I seldom produce live shows, but I make the theatre available on a rental basis for others to produce live acts. The rent gets collected up front. If the show flops, I already have my money... the worst for me is that I don't get much concession. If it does great, yes I only get the rental amount... nothing off the ticket sales, but I do get all refreshment sales.

This year our local high school is remodeling their auditorium, and have rented the theatre for all the drama club plays, and the music department orchestra and chorus concerts. This is my chance to get some of my school taxes back.

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Re: live theatre in front of our screen! 30 Sep 2007 19:23 #16121

  • reelman
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I have scheduled two live events for my new theatre- a magic show by an local entertainer and a concert by a local acoustic group. Have high expectations . I will let you know how they pan out.
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Re: live theatre in front of our screen! 01 Oct 2007 16:10 #16122

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we started a "Praire Home" style variety show on Sunday afternoon. It was successful, plenty of attendees but Sunday afternoon meant a day off became a work day plus the cast was completely unrespectful of the facility. Stage is different that movies: the entire staff had different needs: my mother is late, can I smoke, duct tape on the wall.... etc. anyway. They are no longer with us. We also had a Mark Twain guy... he was awful. Luckily only 50 people came. We did a 9:30 comedy show with local comedy and no bar: you should have a bar for comedy. I think we could have developed it more and will do more with that. It was a straight 50/50 on the house and the comeds were happy.

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Re: live theatre in front of our screen! 01 Oct 2007 21:48 #16123

  • MovieGuy
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We have been broadcasting Green Bay Packer games on our DLP projector, 12'x18' image. Believe it or not, we get higher attendance than some of our indie films that we run. They buy lots of beer and nachos too. We also are killing a Friday or Saturday 9pm screening of a movie in favor of a live band or comedian show. Last week Tuesday, we made a killing on a local bunch of artists that put on a super show, we did more in concessions/drinks than on a night of running films. Maybe, Hollywood will realize that they are no the only entertainment that can be booked into theatres.

[This message has been edited by MovieGuy (edited October 01, 2007).]
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Re: live theatre in front of our screen! 02 Oct 2007 09:04 #16124

  • leeler
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Movieguy, who do you pay for the rights to the broadcast? I've always wondered about this as it would be a great way to earn some money but I'd hate to get an NFL lawyer after me!

"What a crazy business"
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Re: live theatre in front of our screen! 02 Oct 2007 22:21 #16125

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We do not charge for admission to any broadcasted games. Totally free admission. However, you must be 21 or older to enter, due to the fact that we have a bar in our theatre.

As for any comedians, they are paided a nightly fee from the boxoffice tickets sold for that event. They are actually performing live on stage, not a broadcast.

Many theatres in WI are showing games on their screens. Bars offer football games, and they do not pay any fees to show them in their establishment. Why not theatres? Wouldn't your customers enjoy a football/baseball/basketball game on a huge screen with comfortable seats vs a smoky bar with a few flat screens and load music drowning out the game?
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