The characteristic s of a theatre, if it is considered as a product, can be identified in four basic levels. These characteristics create customer value and help a theatre in keeping its future customers interested. These characteristics are:
- Core benefit (play itself)
- Basic product (actors’ performance, music, decorations, stage direction, topics and actuality of repertoire)
- Extended product (theatre location, price relevance, box-office, cloakroom service, theatre atmosphere, availability of tickets, playtime, box-office, service personnel, response to requests and complains, toilets, theatre coffee-bar, theatre interior, variety of repertoire, halls equipment, parking convenience)
- Whole product (possibility to communicate with actors, subscription system).
Hence we can say that, different elements which are bound together to deliver a memorable theatrical experience, can be identified and measured as the theatre product customer value determinants. Taking feedback from regular customers and assessing their evaluations of the determinant factors and their relations to consumer behavioural intentions will be helpful in determining how a theatre can maintain its customer relationship and hence can deliver better value to its future customers by analysing the micro and macro environment of the industry.
Globalisation and Its Effect On Theatre Industry
In his well famous book “The World Is Flat”, Thomas Friedman, has discussed how business globalization has made an immense impact on different businesses and industries in the current society. It is nearly impossible to distinguish whether a product or service is offered by a specific company of a particular country or not. This has happened since most of the major business bodies we experience are multinational.
This theory is true for contemporary theatre industry as well. Many groups which are culturally and geographically diverse influence each another to create the current theatrical landscape. Theatre artists are truly multinational. They cross the boundaries of different nations to showcase their works along the artists of other nations. Different popular works of play tour across the world and influence theatrical activities of other countries. International theatre festivals unite the artists of different countries to communicate with each other and artists of the host community.
People working in a particular theatre group – that is casts and production teams also comprise of individuals who are of varied nationalities and ethnicities. As an example a classic American musical staged in London with British performers participating in it can be cited.
This type of example suggests that it is impossible to easily classify theatre artists and productions by specific national designations. Easy and cheap modes of travelling, instantaneous electronic communication and the ever increasing financial power of theatre have all led to a blurring of the boundaries between theatres of different nations. These days, like the global economy, theatre has also become a global activity.
SWOT Analysis of Theatre Industry
A SWOT analysis is intended to analyze the internal factors of an organization (Strengths, Weaknesses) and the external business environment in which it operates (Opportunities, Threats). The following is the SWOT analysis of theatre industry.
- A pool of people who are diversely talented and are can perform consistently in any corner of the world.
- The supportive nature of the people who are part of this community.
- Healthy discussions and debates amongst the people working in theatre industry on what they do and their future path. This reflects the open-minded of the theatre industry.
- The willingness of people working in this industry to explore different new thoughts and ideas and the way they approach their work.
- A group of intelligent and understanding audiences who can take risks and are willing to follow the artists they really like.
- Quite a few festivals which are instrumental in creating lots of opportunities for developing work.
- Big and medium sized theatres are encouraging and partnering with the independent theatre groups.
- Commitment of the people attached to this industry for diversifying the stage.
- A new trend is beginning where all the performing arts especially those which are performed on stage are being combined and delivered together. This is adding to the acceptability of theatres.
- A dedicated group of companies (Rasik Arts, Company Theatre, Mackenzie Ro, one big umbrella) committed for producing quality international work. Theatrefront and Mammilian Driving Reflex are collaborating with companies/festivals internationally. Harbourfront and Luminato are bringing in the some of the best theatre from the world.
- Famous international theatre groups which have toured worldwide and gained success (Volcano and MDR) have given an impetus to the theatre community and have made them identifiable in the international radar.
- Different groups like: The Fringe and Summerworks’ growth story which is getting momentum with every passing year and bringing in new audiences for the whole industry.
- Relatively stable financial positions of different theatre groups.
- In the theatre industry the transfers having very small size are also possible these days.
- The tendency of the theatre companies and their creative minds to mimic and draw ideas from film rather than the talented pool of world theatre.
- Coupled with the first point, tremendous scope of improvement in the field of training the directors.
- A very rigid approach taken by the producer directors. This industry is very insular. They don’t look at the broader industry and world picture nor support it when it’s here. Factory Theatre, The Fringe, and SummerWorks are the big exceptions in this regard. Hence we can say that new paths are being traded in this direction.
- The indifference and unhealthy rivalry between different big theatre companies and the rest of the community.
- A very small group of audiences who intensely follow most of the independent work.
- A new wave of culture has started creating a new group pf potential theatre audience, who like and understand this form of art. This ensures a loyal group of audience in the longer run.
- Different big corporate and media houses are coming forward to have partnership with the smaller theatre houses which work independently.
- Economic downturn has led to the boost of market for entertainment and leisure products and increased local acceptability of them.
- Ever increasing ticket prices and touring money have given a thrust towards the technical development of the theatre industry.
- Lack of resources – especially venues and increased rents have made the small theatre groups almost incapable of having their shows.
- Economic downturn could endanger different corporate bodies which were interested in spreading helping hand for the theatre groups.
- Subsequently, indifference towards the artists and financing the theatre can deprive the industry from its much needed lifeline.
Suggested Actions For the Theatre Industry To Attract Consumer of The Future
- Different theatre groups have to understand their true identity and their value addition to the industry as a whole.
- These groups also need to get more acquainted with the other groups and stop scheduling conflicting show timings.
- The independent theatre community has to make of use of marketing communication which is better and targeted more aptly. Though use of the social networking has started but full potential of this amazing tool has yet to be tapped by the marketers of the theatres. Collaboration between different theatre companies and making a group of talented marketers which can be helped by the theatre fraternity taking all the groups together would increase the chance of success the marketing communication plan by quite a few times.
- A joint effort by the entire community and its internal stakeholders to explain their identity and their value addition to the society as a whole will help to decrease the indifference this industry generally faces from the mass. It has been seen in many occasions that the mass do not have any knowledge about the modus operandi of this industry. This causes serious trouble for the industry.
- A focussed, all encompassing discussion amongst the internal stakeholders of this discipline is needed to look at and analyze the different new ways of providing financial stability to this industry. The latest developments have given the industry a brilliant chance to address this issue. Since there is an urge for revamping, by channelizing this debate it is possible be make sure those changes which are happening should happen in a way which benefits the industry and its stakeholders.
- The development of different multi theatre venues which can provide space for small independent companies as well as big and medium sized companies can act as wonders for the theatre industry.
- Development of better support for the artistic growth and elements of the play writers and directors is also needed since it would add to the long term value and sustainability of the theatre industry.
- An effective measure should be taken where more support for touring of the national and international companies to different parts of the world can be encouraged. The new multi theatre venues can help in this front as it would provide them with place to showcase their talents.
Concluding, it can be said that the theatre companies have a huge amount of positive opportunity to acquire future customers and entertain them, but they need to work together and work hard to avail the opportunities present in the macro and micro economic environment.
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