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Great Lakes Theater "The Merry Wives of Windsor," 2014

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Confession: I’m still afraid of dark, empty spaces.

Cleveland Play House - Lincoln Elem

You’re an arts marketing professional, so you know what it’s like. It’s the eleventh hour and you’ve spent every penny advertising the show, you just posted another brilliant tweet, but alas, there are still a few seats left unsold for the upcoming performance - dark, empty theatre seats. No one wants to see these seats left unattended when they could benefit the community by providing an awesome free opportunity for a child to experience live entertainment, right? After all, we love giving a theatre seat a good companion for the evening.

But what are you to do?! You have a million things to accomplish—that bring in earned revenue $$$$—and stopping to give away tickets takes your eye off the (money) ball. Besides, because the theatre involves participation on a few levels—we require you to travel to a specific place, for a predetermined amount of time that requires precious attention—it can be difficult to ensure that people use the complimentary tickets we share with them. And what is worse than giving away a free ticket? Giving away a ticket that results in an empty seat!

Theatre seats deserve the warmth of a patron on a cold winter night in Cleveland. Don’t worry. Take it from me, Tickets for Kids is your 911 for this conundrum. With Tickets for Kids I get a chance to work with passionate professionals who take the distribution of these assets very seriously, and to heart, like we as arts professionals do. They work with all sorts of entertainment companies and venues, from sports and concerts, to live theatre.

Tickets for Kids has found the way to get the right kids in the right place at the right time, so you can know the thrill of sharing a live performance with a young imagination for the first time. And we both know that finding said young patrons is no easy task to coordinate, so Tickets for Kids works out all those prickly details like transportation, and at times chaperons, for these events.

My desire is to always find and work with organizations that value our productions as we do, and, takes the distribution of our complimentary tickets just as seriously. Tickets for Kids, started in 1994 by parents who noticed empty seats at a number of events in Pittsburgh, has since distributed nearly two million tickets to live events in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and neighboring states. I trust you will find working with them as fine an experience as I do when entrusting them with your treasured tickets, and the cherished youth they bring to your venue. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade. Now let’s think about ways of selling that delicious beverage in the lobby.

And now, back to refreshing that ever so refreshing sales report, my dear arts professional friends.

This blog is used under license and was submitted by volunteer contributor Julie Gilliland, Associate Director of Marketing, Cleveland Play House. Learn more about Cleveland Play House at their website http://www.clevelandplayhouse.com/.

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