The Philadelphia Theatre Company is piloting its new TheatreACCESS program, designed to help make theatre more accessible to Philadelphians, during the run of its current show, Brownsville Song (b-side for tray).
One of the goals of the TheatreACCESS program is to engage new and non-traditional audiences in live theatre by offering $5 tickets to the company’s shows.
The program allows anyone to purchase tickets over the phone for any showing for just $5. According to Carol Flannery, sales director at Philadelphia Theatre Company, they wanted to include a ticketing component in the TheatreACCESS program because one of the greatest barriers they felt to getting non-traditional audiences to see live theatre is the price of tickets.
“I’ve had people actually say that to me, ‘Well I don’t feel like I belong here,’ which is very sad to me, because the arts is for everyone,” added Gina Range, director of institutional advancement. She also mentioned that they’re committed to providing opportunities to bring people to the theater and make theater open and welcome to everyone.
Carrying on the Conversation
The other component of the TheatreACCESS program is creating community partnerships between the Philadelphia Theatre Company and grassroots nonprofits to help carry on conversations about the theme’s in the shows being held by the Philadelphia Theatre Company.
“[We’ve] done partnerships over the years with small grassroots nonprofits where there’s a connection between what they’re doing, the mission of what they’re doing, and the content of something that’s happening on our stage,” said Flannery, adding that while they’ve done community programming for years, they wanted to formalize the program using TheatreACCESS.
One of the goals is to carry on the conversations people were having after the shows in the theatre’s lobby.
“When we observed [people discussing the play], what we wanted to do was give people the opportunity to carry that conversation over if they wanted to get more information,” Flannery added. “What we’re saying to our community partners is we’re trying to create communications paths between you and who you are and our base and who they are.”
For example, the theatre recently held a post-show discussion, “A Community of Survival: Turning Tragedy to Advocacy and Hope,” moderated by Reggie Shuford, the executive director of the ACLU-PA. During the run of Mothers and Sons, its last show, the Philadelphia Theatre Company held a panel discussion at Suzanne Roberts Theatre with the LGBT committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association.
From our Partners
Other nonprofits Philadelphia Theatre Company is partnering with for Brownsville Song that relate to the show’s theme include After School Activities Partnership, Asian Arts Initiative, West Philadelphia Alliance for Children, and more. Theater-goers can pick up materials from the nonprofits in the lobby of the theatre or read more about them online.
“[TheatreACCESS’s] really an overarching theme of what this theater has always done and continues to do and it just gives us a platform to do it more concisely and to do long lasting partnerships with the people that we work with,” Range added.
Image via Philadelphia Theatre Company-30-
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