Vancouver Fringe Festival hopes to build audience for independent theatre

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      The organizers of the annual Vancouver Fringe Festival are musing about a potential marketing strategy that could give a boost to independent theatre groups in the city.

      Executive director David Jordan said the idea is to eventually launch a year-round subscription series designed to encourage people to buy multiple tickets to a range of productions.

      “There’s no rocket science here. They’re standard [marketing] practices that just aren’t available to a lot of small theatre producers because they’re focusing on making their art,” Jordan told the Straight.

      “They just want to make their art and they want bums in seats so hopefully we can sort something out that helps the community and builds a bigger audience.”

      Jordan said the Fringe Festival, a theatre celebration that runs September 5 to 15, would use its resources to serve as the hub for the subscription system.

      “We would base the subscription series on that type of established, independent theatre company: the ones who can say what their season is far enough in advance that you can market that stuff.”

      “And then we would fill in with some of the things that would never be included in the subscription. So the much smaller things, the Fringe-type shows, we would do as add-ons to a subscriber base.”

      The concept is still in an “exploratory phase”, Jordan said, and would probably not be in place until 2015. He said consultation with other theatre groups and a feasibility study are needed.

      As an initial step toward the goal, the Fringe Festival is looking to gauge the appetite among its own fans for discount, subscription-style tickets.

      To that end, organizers are promoting a new 30-percent-off ticket offer—the Pick Plus Package—for several special shows taking place just outside the regular festival schedule.

      Jordan said Fringe Festival attendees typically buy individual tickets closer to the show dates as buzz starts to spread about certain productions.

      With the Pick Plus Package, he said, the plan is to see how festivalgoers respond when ticket bundles are offered outside of festival time.

      Meanwhile, single tickets for the Vancouver Fringe Festival go on sale on August 1.