Local theaters find innovative ways to increase revenue


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Local theaters in Wichita have found creative ways to help rebuild after a tough year.  

For Roxy’s Downtown, it was about installing tech. “We decided to invest in a three camera system right at the heart of us losing all kinds of money,” said Rick Bumgardner, creative director with Roxy’s Downtown.  

Bumgardner said selling virtual tickets to their shows helped keep them afloat during the pandemic. “It’s a way for us to reach people that we wouldn’t normally reach, it’s a great revenue stream,” he added. 

When restrictions limited theater capacity to about half, virtual tickets were a way to get more people ‘in the door’ sort of speak. 

“It’s like being in a live show, except it’s not taped and edited the audience at home will really get the opportunity to see how the audience’s inside the theater are responding,” Bumgardner said.

Max Wilson, the executive director at the Crown Uptown Theater, was able to secure the venue as a non-profit organization. This means more options to bring money in.

“Mostly sponsorships and grants — there are, I mean just tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousand of dollars that we could be eligible for right now,” Wilson said. 

Wilson said the best part, is now his patrons can benefit too, simply by buying a ticket to a show.

“We’re a wonderful tax write off if you’re looking for one,” said Wilson.

These theaters are now operating in the ‘new normal’ and the community seems to be responding. “It’s been good to see new people purchasing season tickets,” said Bumgardner.

Both venues said as excited as they are to bring in revenue, they are equally eager to keep their patrons safe and will maintain social distancing at all their performances. 

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