The photographers moved to each one of the 484 seats that fill the Lincoln Theatre’s auditorium and balcony. They weren’t trying to find the best view, but to give patrons the opportunity to find the best seat for them. The time-consuming project is already paying off for theatre-goers and the Lincoln.
The work was undertaken to allow visitors to the Lincoln’s website to choose seats based on the “view from your seat.”
For the better part of two days, Brian Tibbs, the Lincoln’s executive director said, a team took photos, uploaded them and made sure actual seat and photo matched. “Taking the photos was a relatively short process, but uploading them and keeping up with which photo went with each seat was the time-consuming challenging part,” he said. However, he added, “Now that it’s done, it provides our patrons the opportunity to see that no matter where you sit, you’re going to get an excellent view of the stage.”
Tibbs is excited about the potential payoff. The theatre has already seen results from a new ticketing service that it implemented in December 2017. Tibbs said, “The theatre has seen a major increase in the amount of tickets purchased online, specifically on mobile devices. We conduct more than 65 percent of ticket sales online and one of the benefits of integrating a ticketing system is the ability to offer new features to our patrons as soon as they’re released, as well as the ability to provide feedback to the company and suggest new ways to serve visitors of the Lincoln.”
Tibbs also noted that with the majority of sales being done online, it frees up staff to pursue other work.
The technology upgrades come at a time when the Lincoln is preparing for its 90th birthday celebration.
Spring will bring a full lineup of shows that will culminate in a celebration on June 29, the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the Lincoln’s original opening on July 1, 1929.
Tickets are already selling for the event that will feature internationally-recognized country music performer Lee Greenwood.
Greenwood is best known for his patriotic hit “God Bless the USA.” He has long been associated with his namesake theatre in Sevierville, Tenn., but has recently returned to touring. Greenwood is expected to share the songs and stories of his career during his visit to Marion’s Main Street theatre.
In planning other shows for the spring, Tibbs recently told the Marion Town Council that the theatre was focusing on the community and working with the school board to provide multiple educational shows for students.
Among the upcoming shows, he specifically noted three.
Coming March 16 will be The Adventures of Prince Achmed with a live score by Tom Teasley.
The Adventures of Prince Achmed is an animated fairytale film originally released in 1926. The film tells of a wild adventure through the Arabian desert. “As an homage to the silent film era, world percussionist Tom Teasley will provide a unique and captivating live score using rare and unique instruments collected from his travels abroad,” says the show description.
April will bring Shakespeare to the Lincoln. The American Shakespeare Center will present the Bard’s “The Comedy of Errors,” which is a story of mistaken identity. A show description reads: “Two long-separated twins, their two tricky servants (also twins), a jealous wife, and her lovelorn sister romp through this fast-paced comedy. Filled with slapstick humor, the play is one of Shakespeare's most widely celebrated comedic gems, and it's easy to see why!”
May shows at the Lincoln will celebrate gospel music.
Throughout this lineup, Song of the Mountains will continue presenting and filming its monthly concerts.
To help promote all the Lincolns’ offerings, the theatre has introduced a new logo that Tibbs designed “to be reminiscent of the classic lettering on our marquee. That way, when visitors arrive in downtown, our branding matches what they see outside of the theatre.”
For the 90th anniversary celebration, the Lincoln will be introducing new merchandise that also features the logo.
Tibbs is also working on a special project that will allow patrons to keep celebrating the Lincoln in the comfort of their homes. The director has been working to create a Lincoln Theatre coloring book that will contain “coloring pages of the elaborate Mayan glyphs as well as our historic murals.”
Tibbs had created some of the images using Adobe Illustrator software and is working with a digital artist to create the pages featuring the murals. When the Lincoln was being constructed in the late 1920s, a local artist, Lola Poston, was commissioned to paint six large murals to depict scenes in American and local history. Those murals still adorn the auditorium’s walls.
The coloring book will go on sale at the 90th anniversary event on June 29.
2019 is also the Lincoln’s 15th anniversary since it was reopened May 15, 2004, after having been closed since 1977. The community undertook fundraising for the major renovations necessary for reopening the theatre.