I'm not thrilled with ACT's current production of Sarah Ruhl's In the Next Room (or, the Vibrator Play)—and wasn't crazy about the script to begin with—but here's my chance to say something nice about the theater.

Their new policy of all pay-what-you-can tickets for day-of, in-person purchases is both exciting and wise.

Jacquelyn Rardin, p.r. person at ACT, emailed some stats about how the new program is doing.

-The average price for PWYC before the offer started on July 12, 2011 was $6.35 and sold an average of 150 per show (across the two [PWYC] performances offered for every Mainstage show). We had a total of $2,723.50 for the first 6 PWYW this year.

-After July 12, the new average price is $13.76. We've sold 358 tickets (during one week of Pilgrims and one and a half weeks of Vibrator, which just started) for a total of $4,725.75 since we started.


-growth is up due to greater availability (daily vs. select dates during runs)

-average pay is up to $13 vs. $6

-more than 350 people have attended since July 12

-based on ticket office feedback, the people who do attend are grateful for the opportunity to see theatre at a price they can afford to pay, which has made a difference for some people who want to see theatre, but otherwise couldn't do so.

When I went to see The Vibrator Play last weekend, I threw down $20 in exchange for my reviewer comps to support the experiment.

I plan to continue paying a token amount for my free tickets to ACT in the future, and look forward to hearing more data in the coming year about how the new policy changes single-ticket sales and income for the theater. I'm glad to see that the effort seems to be paying off already.