Optimistically Cautious

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Fringe's New Frontier: Online Ticketing

An article in the Edmonton Journal today revealed an exciting new development for this year's Fringe Theatre Festival. It seems the new executive producer wants to jumpstart ticket sales by releasing "100 per cent of our inventory on sale right off the bat" in a brand new online system. The rest of the piece was unclear with regards to how exactly they intend to balance between what Liz Nicholls describes as "spontaneous hustle and administrative convenience." A meeting was called on Tuesday night to solicit the opinions of local Fringe artists, but no concrete resolutions were arrived at.

I understand the reasoning behind allowing potential audience members to surf ticket availability before heading down to the grounds, but I'm not sure if ease of use will translate directly into higher numbers. This conundrum has been talked about to death, but Fringe organizers have always had trouble luring those who go exclusively for the "free" busker entertainment, food and retail stalls, and festive outdoor atmosphere into the theatre venues. As I'm too far down the rabbit hole to know what it's like on the "other side" (for non-theatre goers) I'd still like to think that lineups outside of random buildings scattered across the site would make some of the wanderers curious as to what the hype is all about, and potentially buy a ticket to try it out.

At any rate, I'm willing to keep an open mind about this for now, and at the very least, an online ticketing system is quite a significant milestone for our little festival that could.



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