Audience development has long been identified by American professional not-for-profit theatres as one of the most pressing and ongoing issues facing our field and it continues to be an integral part of TCG's long-range vision and strategic plan for the organization.
Introduced as a three city pilot-program in 2005, the goal of the Free Night of Theater program was to increase public awareness of our national theatre community, while in turn attracting new and non-traditional audiences to our theatres. In 2011 Free Night of Theater over 400 participating organizations offered more than 55,000 tickets to over 1,800 performances in 19 states. The total value of tickets offer is estimated at 1.75 million dollars! Read more about the history of Free Night.
Over the past seven years the Free Night of Theater program introduced almost 300,000 new theatergoers to the thrill of live performance. The program provided a unique opportunity for theatres, service organizations, arts councils and even city governments to collaborate on a nationwide initiative that increases their visibility, provides new sponsorship opportunities and introduces new audiences in their community to the joy of theatre for the first time. Read testimonials about the success of Free Night and learn more about the Free Night audience research and demographics.
As regions tailored the program to fit the needs of their unique communities, Free Night expanded to include other performing arts genres and different ticket distributions structures. In 2010 TCG's long time Free Night partner LA Stage Alliance offered a new lottery based ticketing system, which many of the Free Night partners adopted in 2011. This expansion and flexibility of Free Night continues in 2012. Free Night of Theater is no longer be centrally administered by TCG. However, support structures, such as the Google Group, allow the network of Free Night managing partners to stay connected, so the field can all benefit from the knowledge, online links and communication channels. LA Stage Alliance will help to facilitate this network and continue to provide technical services. Managing partners can access Free Night tools and templates from past years here.