The New Colony Theater's Game Changing ePlaybill

Organization Name:
The New Colony
City & State:
Describe your creative piece – what is it and what has it been used for, and why is it innovative?
Part of The New Colony’s mission is to develop a new audience for the future of the arts. As such, we decided to pursue a digital outreach strategy that blew the barn doors off the old theater model. Thus, we developed a web-based playbill for our productions: our ePlaybill. The ePlaybill serves multiple purposes: It is environmentally and fiscally friendly; reducing waste and expenses that have allowed us to focus our resources to our artistic endeavors. Secondly, by removing paper materials from our audiences hands, we are able to engage our audiences in personal ways by creating an immersive, environmental pre-show experience around each production, and invite more face-to-face time with our supporters. Lastly, it has increased the traditional audience outreach benefit of paper playbills by ten-fold. Our metrics have shown that for every one audience member who would receive a paper playbill when they attend a performance, our ePlaybill reaches ten potential audience members.
What issue or problem were you working to address with this piece?
When the company was founded, we designed traditional paper playbills for our first production. The print costs were roughly $1.50 for every playbill, which reduced gross income by nearly 10% for every ticket. Furthermore, only individuals who purchased a ticket would receive a playbill, and only at the venue. Worse yet, the paper playbills were taking our audiences’ focus before each performance, making it difficult to personally engage our supporters before the performance and during intermission: the two critical opportunities for any arts organization to meet and develop their support base. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the majority of our playbills were littered around the theater seating, trodden on and destroyed beyond the ability to re-use them. After months of research, we concluded that no better alternative existed. Thus, our only option was to innovate a solution that would hopefully succeed and be adopted by the rest of the arts community.
How has your submission successfully impacted your organization’s ability to solve this issue/problem?
Not only has our ePlaybill garnered press from even national publications such as American Theater Magazine, but it has recently been adopted by other arts organizations in the City of Chicago, some much older than our own. The growth and attention it has provided for our company is more significant than I think we even realize. It truly was the initiative that put our company on everyone’s radars. Through Adobe’s easy integration between its web, film, audio and graphic applications, we have been able to develop the ePlaybill into an organic and living electronic document. With our first production, our paper playbills only reached approximately 550 individuals. Our first ePlaybill reached an audience triple in size, and our most recent ePlaybill reached nearly 4,000 individuals from countries all over the world. Furthermore, our ePlaybill has been integrated with current social media practices, allowing individuals to share the ePlaybill through Twitter, email and Facebook.
Creative Submission - URL