Stuff To Ponder: MyStage Accounts

Hartford Courant columnist Frank Rizzo recently suggested an interesting subscription alternative, MyStage Accounts, that is something akin to the flex subscription or monthly membership pass.

Rizzo’s idea is basically like a savings account or gift card that the patron can use as a basis for purchasing tickets. (my emphasis)

Tell theatergoers that for the new season coming up they can simply open an account and from that account they can buy any ticket at any time. Simple as that. Write a check for $100, they’ll get get $115 worth of tickets; $200 and they get $240; $300 they can get $400 worth of tickets; $500 they get $700; $1,000 they get $2,000. Or whatever discounted percent those spreadsheets tell you is viable.

No muss, no fuss. (Is there an app for that?) The more they give, the better the deal (up to a point.) And there could be promotions where the theater can add to some accounts for whatever clever reason their marketing staffs come up with.

Rizzo’s thought is to provide a win-win situation. The theatre gets the money up front just as they do with any subscription and the audience member gets the flexibility of choice. I don’t know that this is any better or worse than the flex subscription or monthly membership model, it just provides another option that might appeal to your community.

What I like about this idea is that: First, it gets people invested in your organization when they think about the amount they have in their “bank account.” If you had a way to easily do an email merge out of your ticketing database you could send people their balance on a monthly basis during your season to keep them engaged.

The other thing I like is Rizzo’s suggestion that you might add to people’s accounts for various reasons. I think this ties in very well with the practices of social media and online gaming sites which give you bonus points and achievements for reaching certain milestones (very often based on use which encourages people to keep using!) or awards bonus points for playing during a certain time of the year.

Obviously a theatre might award bonus points for attending a show that they think would have low attendance but people would soon recognized bonus points signaled a lack of confidence. A successful program would also award people bonus points for seeing shows they want to see anyway like the annual production of A Christmas Carol.

That can actually provide an incentive to single ticket buyers to to open an account. They won’t derive any benefit from the Christmas bonus if they don’t have a MyStage account to deposit it into, after all.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


Leave a Comment