In honor of the 20th anniversary season of the company co-founded by William Macy and David Mamet, Atlantic is launching the "Theater for the Price of a Movie" program to encourage people to attend theatre.
Beginning Aug. 24, sales of 33 seats — 20 percent of the house — for every performance will be available to the general public at $10 per ticket. Unlike some "rush seat" programs in town, seats may be reserved in advance by calling (212) 691-5919 ext. 126 or may be purchased at the box office (336 West 20th Street) two hours prior to curtain (if the 33 tickets are not already gone by that time).
Because ATC administers the program, there are no service charges, managing director Andrew D. Hamingson told Playbill.com.
"One has to begin to cultivate the next generation of theatregoers," Hamingson said. "Those [potential] theatregoers are going to films or buying DVDs or CDs. We wanted to make it possible for them to have another $10 price point when looking at their entertainment options. We wanted to encourage people who in the past have been resistant to pay $50 to $60 to come to the theatre."
The program is not about "back of the bus" bad seats, Hamingson said. The second row and a row in mid-house will be used. (Fans of ATC's Chelsea venue know the space is intimate enough that there aren't really bad seats in the space, but the managing director suggested some people associate the last rows with the worst rows, and that's not an idea they wanted to introduce in this test program). By the Sept. 19 opening of the New York premiere of The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow, the new play by young writer Rolin Jones, ATC staffers will likely know what the future of the program will be.
"It's our hope to do it at least on one other show," Hamingson said, adding that "it's a program we hope to replicate on all of our shows."
ATC is exploring getting underwriters for the program.
The offer was inspired by the National Theater's £10 Season in London, sponsored by Travelex, which has been successful increasing audience capacity and attracting first time theatregoers.
Atlantic Theater Company (Neil Pepe, artistic director; Andrew D. Hamingson, managing director) is the award winning Off-Broadway theatre "dedicated to producing great plays simply and truthfully utilizing an artistic ensemble." For more information, visit www.atlantictheater.org.