Women's Theater Series Offers Chance to Interact with Celebrities

Marketing to Women: Addressing Women and Women's Sensibilities, February 2006 | Go to article overview

Women's Theater Series Offers Chance to Interact with Celebrities


Women age 50-75 are the core audience for Unique Lives & Experiences, an interactive lecture series that brings major movie stars and other prominent personalities to theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada. The series, which began in 1992, offers a chance to see and even meet celebrities and leaders such as Gloria Steinem, Margaret Thatcher, Mary Tyler Moore, Maya Angelou, and Barbara Walters. The subjects and speakers are geared to the interests of women over 50, and the stage set is designed to project a homelike atmosphere that lends itself to conversation. Topics include anti-aging strategies, personal experiences, and current issues.

Speakers are selected in part through a survey of subscribers, which is inserted in each year's program guide; the results help the company develop a "wish list" for the next season. "We certainly defer to our subscribers in terms of who they want to see ... [We also look for] names [that] transcend the age range we're trying to talk to," says Howard Szigeti, Owner/Producer. The ideal is to find speakers with strong appeal for women 50 and older, but who can also draw women in their 30s, to help develop new audiences for the program.

The format includes a question-and-answer period during which audience members can interact with the speakers. Pre- and post-event receptions include food, drink, music, and fashion. The events are held at 2,500-seat theaters, and each theater typically hosts a series of four to six events. Ticket prices range from $40 to $60; most events sell about 80-85% of tickets. A portion of the proceeds from each show are donated to local charities.

Szigeti says part of the appeal of the events, especially for those who subscribe to a full series, is that they help women "regiment six nights out with their friends over [a season]. We've found a group of women who want and need a night out with their girlfriends."

Promotions typically include media placement with a major local-market media sponsor and marketing activities by the venue. Other sponsors get involved in a variety of ways, often including visibility at the pre- or post-event receptions. …

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