Selling out the first show

On the 7th of February 10 days before the opening of the festival we sold out the first show of the season. The opening night February 17 is the very first show of The Expert at the Card Table — How to Cheat at Cards and this is the night that’s sold out. It’s a great feeling and very good place to be in at the moment.

Last year with our debut show, Reading Minds and Other Fascinating Lies, we sold out shows in three weekends but it took us two days and on the first Sunday we sold out that show. We worked hard for that first sell out, we were on the ground flyering up until 10 minutes before we went on stage. The venue was a 100 seater theatre. In contrast the show I just sold out is only 30 seats, it’s a close-up and intimate show.

I am very forntuate to be at The Tuxedo Cat for this season, they celebrating their 10th anniversary and with it comes a large marketing push. One of the stated goals is to sell out every show, and with the combination of a smaller venue, a great show, the marketing push, and gained experience I don’t think this is beyond reach.

So far the other dates are selling reasonably well and on track for selling out with a strong on-the-ground prescence. That sentence sounds like disgusting marketing speak—but it’s an occupational hazard—hopefully the talk of a sell out show is the push people need to pre-purchase tickets. We learnt from last year that almost all of the tickets you sell are sold on the day of performance. Not many people buy early and have plans that extend weeks or days into the future that involve Fringe shows. In fact, many people will not know what show they want to see before they leave home or even before they get to the box office. With this behaviour in mind I am afraid that some people with the intention to see the show might miss out due to a sell out. So a large part of my marketing is a push to pre-purchase tickets. In some of the weekends last year we would sell 30 tickets in 10 minutes by flyering before a show, so I know how fast these sessions can sell out. While I am happy to sell out shows I don’t want punters missing the show because we don’t have a seat for them. It’s a positive but also a real negative to those who came out to support me.

It is a great start and hopefully indicative of things to come, the first show is always a hurdle and for it to be over 10 days before the festival starts is a good feeling.

This post is part of the series The Tale of Two Fringes for the months January and February of 12 Things, 12 Months.