Category Error: Box office

A job post, December 2017:

“Supervisor, Commercial Operations who will be overseeing all the revenue generating aspects of our operations: box office, food and beverages, rentals, and advertising.”

“Box office” and “food and beverage” going the revenue generation silo. Rather than in say, an “experience” silo.

That’s not the right word but here’s why…

The mind set matters, it sets the top priority. Putting the experience nature of those interactions behind the revenue generation lead to short term decisions that can lower the experience of the interaction, which hurts long term viability.

e.g. A focus on revenue margins means less bartenders with less training and more expensive drinks. An endemic problem in arts venues I’ve attended. Not having seen the numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a decreasing rate of financial return by adding service staff or extending training. There are probably tons of rational reasons to keep expenses down and costs high. The arguments for experience over efficiency are much “softer” and harder to fit in an Excel file.

Revenue problem is a side effect of a relevance problem. The relevance problem is a side effect of experience problems.

Most attempts to “make theatre relevant” are focused on content changes while the experience stays the same. It hasn’t worked.

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