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Forum Theatre Will Let Theatergoers Decide What to Pay

Thursday, August 29, 2013   (0 Comments)

Washington Post (08/13/13) Marks, Peter

The nonprofit Forum Theatre of Silver Spring, Md., has adopted a policy allowing patrons to pay whatever admission fee they think a performance is worth, beginning in September. Theater-goers will be able to pay as little as 25 or 50 cents for shows under the program. "The one thing I wanted to take a crack at is how do we make theater accessible to everyone, and get past the idea that it's only for someone in a certain economic bracket," says Forum artistic director Michael Dove. He notes that some of the theater's approximately 150 general admission seats will be reserved every night for people who still wish to book in advance, with each seat sold for $20. Forum board president Rebecca Ende notes that since only about 33 percent of the theater's budget is raised by ticket revenues, "the leap to 'pay what you can' is not that great." Momentum for such practices is building in the theater industry, which faces the challenge of revitalizing aging audiences with younger and more diverse patrons. In 2011, Minneapolis' Mixed Blood Theatre instituted a Radical Hospitality program that each night freely gives away half the house seats to walk-up customers. Managing director Amanda White Thietje says the program is so successful that the theater has broken even in the first two years.



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