Theatre and Airports and Training Your Customers

Last month, the students of the Capitol School of Performing Arts performed not one, but two full-length plays at the end of their semester.  (I sit on the School’s Advisory Board, and on its Marketing Committee.)  One of them was Departures and Arrivals, a play by noted Canadian author/playwright Carol Shields.  In a remarkably innovative move, the cast actually staged one of their performances at the Moncton International Airport.  Not long after, the School received this email:

“I am the husband of the late Carol Shields, the playwright and author.  My family and I were pleased and impressed that a group such as yours would take this initiative when performing Carol Shields’ work.  What a great idea to actually put on a play about people in an airport – in an airport.
 
And we understand that you also translated the play into French.  Bravo. 
 
Good luck to you all.  Don Shields”

All my marketing instincts kicked in, and I asked Mr. Shields if he would be kind enough to let us use his praise in our marketing materials.  He replied:

“Hello Stephen:  I have reviewed what I said, and find no reason not to say “yes” to your request.  So, yes, please go ahead and use anything that you might find helpful.
I was on the board of the Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg at one time.  We too had a theatre school (in fact that is how the Prairie Theatre Exchange got started).  A theatre school is a wonderful endeavour for children and young adults.
Keep up the good work.  Don”

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Shields that theatre schools are wonderful for young adults, but they’re also wonderful for the theatres.  By teaching a love and interest in performing arts to young people, you are building your future audience.  I tried to think how I could apply that logic to training future bar customers.  Teach kids to do shooters?  Not really practical (or legal).  But a bar owner could sponsor boys and girls clubs, and start teaching them the pleasure of gathering in a location away from home to have fun with friends…

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