Posted by Bruce Miller
In the midst of an avalanche of challenges (snow cancellations, threats to the Virginia Commission for the Arts), there is some GREAT news coming from Hanover Tavern. Bucking all trends, local and national, subscription sales are UP by 10.5%!
First Baptist of Ivy Gap is doing exactly what we hoped it would. It’s selling well and sending happy and heart-warmed Hanover audiences into the cold night air feeling uplifted. We’ve just extended the previously announced six-week run by two more weeks. Many thanks to our extraordinary actresses--Ali, Harriett, Jan, Joy, Maggie, Sarah and Audra (Audra is filling in this week while Sarah is auditioning at SETC) for making this show such a crowd-pleasing hit.
Thanks also to Chase (stage manager), Jeannie (house manager), Terrie and David (set design), Sue and Marcia (costume design), and Slade (light design) for their fine work transporting us to a Tennessee church hall in 1945 and 1970. And major kudos to Ted Soto, Barksdale's Board of Trustees leader extraordinaire. It was Ted who first saw Ivy Gap at Cumberland County Playhouse and brought the play to my attention.
Ivy Gap is helping to define our Country Playhouse Season at Hanover Tavern as the type of pops series that provides a warm haven for those seeking easy-going, well produced, graciously performed, unabashedly pleasant comedies and musicals.
There are those who consider shows like Ivy Gap to be “popular,” and mean the word “popular” to be pejorative. At Hanover Tavern, we’re embracing the “popular.” Seriously, what else are “pops” series all about?
We’re doing our best to entertain and delight audiences at all our venues. We want the great plays in our Signature Season at Willow Lawn to be entertaining, and we work hard to make the entertainments at Hanover Tavern artistically rewarding. But in an attempt to draw a distinction, we program Hanover Tavern to appeal to those who love theatre that reaffirms rather than challenges, that cares more about being lighthearted than serious.
All told, Barksdale and Theatre IV have about 3,000 subscribers at Willow Lawn, 2,000 subscribers at the Family Playhouse, and 1,000 subscribers at Hanover Tavern, equaling six thousand subscribers total. Last season, Hanover subscriptions dropped to 953 subscribers, comprised of 839 renewals, 85 new subscribers, and the return of 29 former subscribers who had lapsed in previous years.
This year (and we won’t complete our subscription campaign until the close of Ivy Gap on March 28) we have 1,053 subscribers at the Tavern thus far, comprised of 900 renewals, 106 new subscribers, and the return of 47 former subscribers who had previously lapsed.
We couldn’t feel more satisfied and grateful. To our loyal supporters, THANK YOU! As we begin our five year plan to grow total subscriptions to the 8,000 level, we’ll do our best to continue to earn your vote of confidence.