It is a rare and nice occasion when we learn that something we’ve published in American Theatre magazine is having positive effects on what theatres are doing. It’s also not often that we have a chance to do a followup to an article, but the Arden Theatre Company of Philadelphia’s recent Bike to the Theatre night provided the perfect opportunity to revisit bicycles and theatre-making. We got in touch with marketing and PR manager Leigh Goldenberg the day before the event. —Eliza Bent
Thurs July 1
Coming Full Cycle (American Theatre, May/June 2010) was partly what inspired us at the Arden to do our own version of a Bike to Theatre Night! We mentioned parts of the article in our press release and found it generally helpful when putting the event together. We’re very excited that we’ve gotten a lot of buzz and press in the community surrounding the event. I’ll report back to you on how ticket sales go after the July 4th holiday. —Leigh
Tuesday July 5
As promised, I wanted to share info with you about our Bike to Theatre Night that happened on Friday, July 2, for Sunday in the Park with George. In total, we had 13 cyclists park at our valet bike parking. That evening’s performance was sold out very early in the day, so we can’t be sure if we might have had more day-of sales, had tickets been available. We had attempted to schedule the bike promotion on a night that would have had more availability (which we figured would be the case over the holiday weekend), but it was the closing weekend of a very popular show.
We partnered with Neighborhood Bike Works for the valet bike parking. They charge an hourly rate for the service. We paid half in cash/half in ticket trade for our holiday children’s show, which they will bring students. They also set up a table in front of the theatre to share information about their programs. At their valet bike parking station, they had craft items on display that were bike themed. We also reached out to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, who included our event in an e-mail blast and on their blog. Numerous other bike clubs and stores posted information on their blogs and handed out flyers we’d made.
One of the most exciting results of Bike to Theatre Night was the amount of press we received. We were featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Weekend Section, the Philly DailyCandy Weekend Guide, and Philadelphia Weekly’s blog, and now on the TCG Circle! There was also a good bit of chatter on Twitter about our event, including a post from one of the local hotels.
Since Bike to Theatre Night happened on First Friday (gallery openings in our neighborhood), we had a lot of foot traffic. We partner with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer for our First Fridays, and they donated Pabst bike bells to give to all the bikers.
The diversity of the ticket buyers that took advantage of biking to the theatre was probably the most surprising aspect of the evening. I think we had expected Philly’s typical biking crowd (young hipsters), but we saw a great range in age and ethnicity.
Overall, I think this is something we’d like to do again, and as we build momentum, we’d like to bring in more participants. We were happy to reach out to this new audience and let them know about the Arden’s work.
I’ve posted photos from our Bike to Theatre Night on our blog page HERE.
Thanks again for the inspiration and support!
- Posted by Eliza