Case Study

How Broad Encounters Achieved Debut Success for ‘A Midnight Visit’

The team at Broad Encounters are no strangers to the theatre. With over 25 years of experience curating some of the biggest arts and entertainment projects in Australia, programmers Danielle Harvey and Kirsten Siddle had seen it all. And they wanted to disrupt it.

They had a vision of providing a great cultural experience outside of a traditional theatre; To get people out of their seats and immersed into a compelling and extraordinary experience. “We decided to leave our comfortable jobs and create the kind of work that we couldn’t find”, says Director, Kirsten Siddle.

Enter A Midnight Visit: Broad Encounters’ first large-scale, fully immersive theatre experience that has captivated over 43,000 people across Australia since its debut in 2018. Inspired by the works, world, and legacy of Edgar Allan Poe, A Midnight Visit is a multisensory show that engages audiences from the moment they buy a ticket.

A Midnight Visit by the numbers:

  • 43,000

    People captivated across Australia

  • 200

    Nights of shows performed since debut

  • 400

    Return visitors from discount codes alone

A Midnight Visit by Tim Da-Rin

The Challenge: To find an audience and captivate them every step of the way

The road from dream to reality is often laden with obstacles. For Kirsten Siddle and the skilled team at Broad Encounters, transforming their vision into A Midnight Visit was no exception.
Launching a completely new brand and innovative new experience into the market, they needed an event partner who could help them capitalise on their strengths and experience. A partner that would give them support when they needed it, but also get out of the way when they didn’t.

“We wanted to be able to manage ticketing ourselves. We didn’t want to deal with some of the restrictions that come into play with a lot of online ticketing providers. With a really clear idea of how we wanted to structure our ticketing, we were comfortable that we had the skills to manage it ourselves. Eventbrite provided us with a straightforward platform to help make that happen and were always on hand for support if something came up and we didn’t have the answer,” explains Siddle.

The Solution: A partner that would let their skills and experience shine

By partnering with Eventbrite to launch A Midnight Visit, Broad Experiences were able to have full control over their ticketing and customer data from start to finish, allowing them to:

  • • Identify and capture new audiences
  • • Build a brand to connect with fans and drive loyalty
  • • Access funds through the season to support the scale of their event experience

Identifying and capturing new audiences

An effective marketing plan starts with data. Particularly when launching a new experience, data helps build a picture of who audiences are and how, when, and where they’re engaging with marketing campaigns.

Broad Experiences uses custom fields in their ticket checkout process to gather specific information about attendees. This enables them to build a picture of their audience, such as their age, gender, and postcode. Marketing Coordinator, Kate Prendergast, then takes this data to understand who is buying tickets, uncover where people are connecting to their advertising, and create lookalike audiences to extend their reach.

Using Eventbrite’s Analysis Tool, the marketing team use graph comparisons to track their ticket sales over time. This gives them visibility on which days achieved the most ticket sales, so the team can correlate sales to campaigns and publicity in the market. By focusing on their most effective channels and audiences, they know where and when to focus their budget and PR efforts.

“Being able to own our data has been crucial to understanding our audiences. We regularly analyse our sales data, redefine our audience, and adjust our marketing focus accordingly.”

— Kate Prendergast, Marketing Coordinator, Broad Encounters

A Midnight Visit by Tim Da-Rin

Building a brand to connect with fans and drive loyalty

A completely immersive experience, A Midnight Visit does something unique compared to most theatrical experiences in that the scene is set from the first point of contact. To build the brand and develop a deep relationship with fans, the first email communication that ticket holders receive is from ‘The Undertaker’ – a fictional character that they interact with regularly before they enter the production experience.

If they used a ticketing partner that managed their email database, this wouldn’t be possible. But using the MailChimp integration with Eventbrite, Broad Experiences have taken ownership of their communication to create a completely branded experience at every touchpoint.

“Talking to people before they come in invites them into our unique world, building excitement and curiosity. All communications are in character, setting the scene. It helps us create a brand identity that people are really connecting with.”

— Kirsten Siddle, Director, Broad Encounters

Direct communication between ‘The Undertaker’ and attendees doesn’t end when the event does. Due to the nature of live immersive theatre, no two acts are ever the same. Broad Experiences use this to their advantage, by continuing the story over email and encouraging repeat attendance with customised discount codes.

For their recent Melbourne season, around 400 codes have been used by people flocking back to their show with family and friends. They’ve also been able to build such a strong connection to fans from their Sydney and Perth shows have even travelled to Melbourne to experience the new season.

“We invite all of our guests to come back and experience a different journey. Using discount codes and incentives for loyal fans, we’ve had around 400 return visitors from discounts alone. A number of our superfans have come back five times. It’s so heartening to have that support and seeing fans become ambassadors for our show.”

— Kirsten Siddle, Director, Broad Encounters

A Midnight Visit by Ian Gillespie

Accessing funds to support the scale of their event experience

Being a fully-immersive experience, setting the scene for A Midnight Visit involves creating an entire new fantasy world, made up of 36 complete sets.

“It was an epic undertaking,” says Siddle. “We have a crew working on our show for months before we can open the doors. 36 sets is 36 set of costs” she explains.

By customising their payment schedule with Eventbrite, Broad Encounters didn’t need to wait until curtains close to pay their vendors. Event creators using Eventbrite Professional or Premium packages have the option to choose from receiving ticket revenue every week or every month, on a rolling basis as tickets are sold. This gives event directors the opportunity to reinvest in their event – even before it ends. For performing arts events like A Midnight Visit, where a season can run for as long as three months, this is critical to managing cash flow from ticket revenue.

“Money was our biggest challenge to launching A Midnight Visit. Creating a fully immersive world for people to experience was hugely expensive, so it was critical that we could manage our cash flow and know that we could pay all our bills on time.”

– Kirsten Siddle, Director, Broad Encounters

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