OOB Helps Make Free Night of Theater a Success 

Jennifer Conley Darling, LIT Representative 

Many Off-Off-Broadway companies participated in the Theater Communications Group's (TCG) Free Night of Theater NYC this year. "The Mission of Free Night NYC is to seek out new audiences and invite current theatergoers to try new theater venues, as well as ignite interest in and create awareness about the incredible variety of live theater options across all five boroughs." Since its inception in 2005, Free Night of Theater has become a nationwide program that currently involves over 650 companies in 120 cities from Seattle to Miami, from NYC to SLC. Over 65,000 new theatregoers took advantage of this initiative and according to TCG, many of them will be coming back for more.

2008 marked the program's New York City premiere and our community was an important part of the event's success. OOB and Indie Theater made up over 50% of the participating theaters and companies. In NYC alone, over 9,000 FREE tickets were distributed to over 350 performances. Preliminary demographic information on the Free Night NYC audiences (based on the surveys collected during ticket registration) indicate that NYC had higher averages for all categories listed below against the national average.

Never visited theatre before – 65%
Under the age of 35 – 28%
Under the age of 45 – 50%
Non-white – 28%

New York City
Never visited theatre before – 83%
Under the age of 35 – 60%
Under the age of 45 – 77%
Non-white – 55%

The League of Independent Theater (LIT) was one of the Managing Partners for this event and made it possible for OOB productions to participate. Not only did this initiative help our community gain well-deserved exposure, it also legitimized LIT’s place in the NYC theater scene as a strong advocate for artists and companies working in 99-seats and below. This program provided a great opportunity for OOB & Independent Theater to sit at the same table with the esteemed roster of Managing Partners.

Planning for the 2009 Free Night has already begun. For more information, please check out www.freenightnyc.net.

Did you participate in Free Night of Theater NYC? Tell us your thoughts, what worked and what needs improvement? Email us at info@nyitawards.com.


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