Lisa Condit spoke with Glen Grusmark, who has been general manager at The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts for a little over a year. Read on for highlights from the interview or listen to the full interview below. Catch more behind-the-scenes interviews Saturdays on WCRN 830 AM Radio.
Lisa: What have you observed now that you’ve had time to see how we work?
Glen: It’s been fantastic! Just the variety of programming astounds me. From family programming to rock and roll to Broadway to dance to our own programming with A Christmas Carol, it is truly, in the best of ways, all over the map. It shows in the demographic of our audience that is so varied… all ages, all walks of life. It’s fantastic to be a part of.
Lisa: You’ve also had a chance to witness the growth of our conservatory and a lot of development with the theatre district and what is sprouting up in our own neighborhood.
Glen: I’ve had the chance to visit many places around the country that have educational programs and schools and camps and conservatories, and what is going on here is really commendable. The variety of offerings and the participation is remarkable.
And just looking out the window here at the corner of Main and Federal, the tone of the neighborhood is changing visibly. It’s a testament to the leadership here… the amount of community support that has rallied around this relatively new institution.
Lisa: What are some of the exciting changes in store for our patrons here at the theatre?
Glen: As a staff, we’ve rallied around the notion of patron-centric. Everything we do, we try to look at through the lens of how it will affect our patrons. We’re looking at technology. The way our patrons buy tickets. We are embracing a mobile app called Noble where you are able to pre-order drinks and skip the line.
Lisa: Let’s talk about some of the changes that people will see especially in the fall when they go to buy tickets. We’ve been spending a lot of time looking at what seats are really in demand and how can we improve the experience for every audience member, whether there are 500 people in the building or 2,300 people in the building.
Glen: We have 10 years of data. What are the “best seats in the house”? How do they sell? When do they sell? Beginning in the fall, the least expensive seats will no longer necessarily be in the back of the house. They will be down in the orchestra near the stage. We took a look at what our demand has been. What are the buying habits of our customers?
Lisa: We want to make sure that The Hanover Theatre is accessible for everybody. We’re very aware and conscious of different price points and are looking at the data to see how many seats we sell in each of the price zones, making sure people can buy into those less expensive seats, but rewarding people who buy early. Those seats that at other times might have gone unsold because they were at a higher price level… now if you want a lower price level and you want to be in the orchestra, you act as a loyal customer and you receive those. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. I think that’s going to be an adjustment for people, but I’m excited to be able to reward people for that loyalty for being part of our community.
Glen: Starting next season, the “cheap” seats won’t feel “cheap.” They’ll feel like you’re right down there with everyone else. The trick is when we say act now to get the best seats at the best prices, that will be the real deal.
Lisa: When we go on sale, we’re not opening the entire house all at once. We’re putting the seats that are closest to the stage on sale first and then, as the demand builds, just like an airline, we open up more seating as we go along.
Glen: I’m really thrilled to be here and be part of this great organization and this team. Onward and upward!