Danny Newman (1919–2007) was the long-time press agent for the Lyric Opera of Chicago from its founding in 1954 until his retirement in 2002. Newman was known for the use of subscription programmes to build audiences for the theatre. Following his visit to Australia in 1977, the Nimrod Theatre of Sydney honed its marketing, when up to 12,000 subscribers bought series, usually packages of three or four shows in the 300-seat Upstairs theatre, enabling productions to play to near-capacity audiences for eight week runs. We followed the advice given by Newman in his 1977 book Subscribe Now! Building Arts Audiences Through Dynamic Subscription Promotion, which was published by the Theatre Communications Group. The book outlines Newman's unwavering advocacy for subscription-based ticket sales, and is currently in its eleventh edition. Subscription selling in United Kingdom repertory theatres has never taken root, except at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company, Edinburgh where there are 3,000+ annual season ticket holders.
The iconography of subscription! This iconoclastic cartoon strip by Tony Edwards represents the Nimrod's general manager, Paul Iles, enthusing about Nimrod theatregoer packages, 1979: