Coming Back to Theatre - Prioritising the Audience Experience

Our ongoing research suggests that only around 25% of theatregoers may be willing to return to venues immediately, with the remainder needing a considerable amount of reassurance and confidence-building to persuade previously very frequent attenders to return.

pointOne and Indigo were keen to find out what effect offering food and beverage options in a Covid-safe way might have on people’s decisions whether or not to re-attend theatres immediately – and what might venues put in place to help guarantee audiences the great theatre experience they had previously enjoyed.

pointOne theatre clients were invited to send an email to a sample of their attenders inviting them to complete the survey via a link provided. Eight organisations took part, and the survey received 4,000 responses during March 2021.

Coming Back to Theatre: Prioritising the Audience Experience

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Key findings

An ideal trip to the theatre

Audiences were asked what made for an ideal trip to the theatre, and it is clear that the in-venue offer is of the highest importance to theatre attenders:

  • 76% wanted to have a drink in the interval
  • 70% wanted a pre-show drink at the theatre
  • 72% wanted to buy an ice cream in the interval

This suggests that venues who are able to offer a Covid-safe (even if limited) drinks and icecreams offer could benefit from significant secondary spend to compensate for lower capacities and ticket income.

Restrictions in place

Audiences were asked how they felt about certain restrictions being implemented at venues. The least popular options were performances with no bar, catering or snacks available and performances with no interval.

Having a drink before the show or during the interval is an important aspect of the experience, so for many people if it wasn’t available, re-attending would be a considerably less attractive option for them. Coupled with the fact that only ½ of respondents say they’ll re-book within 3 months, this is an important finding.

How might technology help?

We asked audiences how they would feel about changing the way in which they ordered food and drinks at the venue, and which would be most attractive to them.

We also included an idea to make a priority bar/queue service for people who would not be in a position to use such technology. The results were heartening.

All of the options were attractive to audiences, but in particular the in-venue ordering by smart phone was very popular – and the people liking the idea of the priority service for elderly customers were predominantly younger respondents.

Webinar - Coming Back to Theatre: Prioritising the Theatre Experience

On 21 April, we presented the key findings from the research and also heard from Samuel Biscoe, Ticketing Operations Manager from Selladoor Venues, and Mike O' Dwyer, Head of IT from Birmingham Hippodrome, about their experiences of utilising technology when they reopened between lockdowns last year.

Watch again and download the slides →

About pointOne 

Founded in 2001 by Steven Rolfe and Nick Williams, pointOne had one aim: to develop and deliver innovative

EPoS solutions and tools for the hospitality sector, all backed up by outstanding support and project delivery.

Over the last 20 years, the company has achieved this core objective and much more. They are now installed in over 2500 outlets. pointOne founded an arts and culture division and now the solution includes many theatre-specific features to manage interval ordering, ticketing integration and kiosks, as well as focused learning and support for our customers. They now have over 50 theatre venue customers. Find out more →

Flo Carr

Head of Consultancy & Client Services

Let's talk

Whether you’ve got a specific issue you’d like our help with, or just want to find out how we might help your organisation, get in touch on info@indigo-ltd.com for an informal chat.