Do comp tickets make a difference?

As performers, the support of our friends and families is what keeps us going when the times get tough. When we do get to perform, it is our victory as much as it is theirs. So when they want to come see us perform to see the result of their support, it seems logical that we want to give them some comp tickets.

But with the recession, more theatres have been thinking twice before giving away comp tickets. If performers bring in couple friends, that means more money for the theatre. But if theatres gave comp tickets to their performers, they would achieve more in the long term than the extra buck.
  1. Happy performers: sure, performers are paid so it's their job to do their best at all times. But one, they're paid little, and two, it motivates the entire cast when they know someone special is in the room. Also, when performers are happy with the theatre they work at, they are more likely to publicize the show they're in, thus bringing in people who will actually pay to see the show.
  2. New audience members: When people pay to see their loved ones on stage, they connect with those people rather than with the theatre. But if they go in for free and have a good experience, they are more likely to return to that theatre for shows that do not involve their loved ones. That's one step closer for the theatre to having new loyal customers.
  3. Butts in seats: the theatres that do not give comp tickets are usually the ones that already have a hard time selling tickets. Audience members always enjoy a show more when they're not the only ones in the theatre. By having non-paying people in the audience, theatres actually create a better experience for their paying customers, thus increasing the chances of them coming back. 
When a theatre doesn't give comp tickets to their performers (actors and musicians alike), it alienates those performers, their friends, and the theatre itself. Sometimes, making the right choice is beyond that night's bottom line.

Picture from http://www.memphisthemusical.com/blog/2009/11/16/640/raffle-tickets-7986881/

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