Seattle Rep & Seattle Children's Theatre Reveal New Resource-Sharing Initiative

The phased rollout begins July 1.

By: Jun. 20, 2024
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Following months of internal conversation and an extensive feasibility study, Seattle Rep and Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT) have announced the launch of a new resource-sharing initiative, which will see two venerated local institutions and Seattle Center neighbors collaborating on select patron and administrative services.  

In a phased rollout beginning July 1, the two theaters will begin sharing staff dedicated to a few key functions. These shared operations—including CRM technology, IT, and videography—will help fill gaps in staffing left by vacant roles across both organizations, provide backup coverage for current employees, and increase sustainability and resilience for both organizations. These changes will be seamless to the public and have no impact on theatergoers’ experience of attending shows at either playhouse.

Beginning in September, Seattle Rep will also oversee a box office that serves both organizations, and guests will be able to purchase or modify tickets to performances at either theater through a single phone call or email. Throughout the transition process, theatergoers will be able to reach each box office—and then the joint box office—using each theater’s usual contact information.

“When we started talking about where we could both benefit from this collaboration, sharing a box office team emerged as a natural choice,” said Jeffrey Herrmann, Seattle Rep’s Managing Director. “Seattle Rep has strong systems in place to train and retain its box office team, and we see the results of that investment in rave reviews from patrons about the high caliber of our customer service.” 

Meanwhile, “Seattle Children’s Theatre has fewer performances open to the public, serving half of our audience through the Student Access Series, our school field trips,” said SCT’s Managing Director, Kevin Malgesini. “Our part-time box office team has been able to offer stellar customer service, but with limited resources. Collaborating with Seattle Rep on a shared box office will allow us to offer staff more career pathways and theatergoers a more consistent customer experience.”

The consolidation will be completed by September 26, when Seattle Children’s Theatre launches its 50th Anniversary Season with a production of Cat Kid Comic Club: The Musical and Seattle Rep begins its 62nd Season with Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth.  

While this initiative has the potential to evolve into a long-term, permanent partnership, both theaters have initially committed to a single pilot year of investigation and implementation during the 2024/25 season, through June 30, 2025. If the initial integration of back-end operations and box offices goes smoothly, the two organizations may explore expanding their collaboration to encompass additional services. 

This collaboration is rooted in two different resource-sharing research studies conducted by several Seattle Center-based arts organizations in 2020 and 2021. While the studies’ findings at that time suggested there could be high barriers to implementing shared services, box office services were identified as the area with the greatest potential benefit to organizations and patrons—and the local arts sector’s slow recovery over the past four years has driven home the need to identify and capitalize on common ground.

The second study was produced in partnership with ArtsFund, whose president and CEO, Michael Greer, expressed enthusiasm for Seattle Rep and Seattle Children’s Theatre’s new initiative: “Arts organizations are confronting shifting realities with new and innovative solutions that rely on collaborative approaches. Seattle Rep and Seattle Children's Theatre are critical participants in the Washington state arts and culture community and their willingness to cooperate around shared solutions is encouraging to see.”

Streamlining operations through inter-organizational collaboration will be key to ensuring that arts institutions of all sizes—including well-established theaters like Seattle Rep and Seattle Children’s Theatre—can continue to rebuild audiences and work together toward a thriving future. 


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