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Theaters try new pricing scheme: Pay what you wish – after the show | Philly.com

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Seeking to entice new audiences and build interest in Philadelphia theater, the Azuka Theatre will hit the boards next season with an unusual ticket strategy.

Visitors will pay what they wish – after seeing performances.

Azuka is not alone in seeking a new way to bring people in.

Theatre Horizon in Norristown will begin testing a similar strategy with its one-night-only concert performance Aug. 4 and its reading series later in the month.

The two theaters believe this may be the first time such an effort – optional payment after performance – has been employed in the United States, although it has been used in Britain.

At the same time, Pottstown’s Theater With a View, an Equity company, is entering its third season of pay-what-you-wish. But the Pottstown productions – Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit, running Aug. 17-Sept. 3 – will require patrons to fork over anything or nothing in advance. It’s the third season Theater With a View has used optional payment in advance.

All three theaters are using the pricing strategy to expand audiences in some way.

“With the pay-what-you-decide model, we can eliminate the financial barriers of attending theater,” said Mark H. Andrews, Azuka cofounder and marketing director. “Patrons will decide the value of their experience at our shows. The price is up to them – and they won’t pay a dime until after the show.”

Azuka producing artistic director Kevin Glaccum said, “This model eliminates the need for reduced-price, discounted, or tiered ticketing, providing an equal opportunity for patrons from any financial background.”

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Theaters try new pricing scheme: Pay what you wish – after the show.

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