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Archive for April 16th, 2009

Pollstar Booking Agency Directory

Pollstar Booking Agency Directory

Theater booking agencies are an essential component of the commercial touring business. Booking touring shows is a much more detail-oriented process than you might imagine, and it requires a tremendous amount of time and attention, so you want these specialists to handle this work. In addition, booking agents maintain strong business relationships with many, many presenters and promoters, relationships that they have spent years cultivating, so they know who all the players are, and how best to interface with them.

Theatrical booking agencies are generally divided into two areas:

THE AGENTS

The booking agent deals exclusively with “selling” a producer’s show to presenters and promoters, while also trying to figure out the best way of routing that show from one market to the next – not an easy task, as the agents are selling to presenters who are also buying shows from other agencies, and so there is often fierce competition for a finite number of dates. Agents are also busy attending booking conferences around the country, and going on road trips to get in some face time with presenters, and to check out how their clients’ shows are doing.

Important to note: Booking agencies don’t make money while they’re booking a show, only during the weeks when that show is eventually on the road touring. Also, agents typically begin to book shows one season or more in advance in coordination with the presenters’ programming timetable. So, for instance, we’re now in April 2009, so chances are that the booking agencies and presenters are well into booking the Fall of 2010, and are also likely holding weeks in the Spring of 2011…and in some cases, even beyond that!

THE CONTRACTING STAFF

The contracting or operations staff of a booking agency deals exclusively with the presenter or promoter buying the show once a booking commitment has been made. From that point forward, the contracts manager begins the process (often many months long!) that eventually leads to a fully-executed contract. On the way, there will be a plethora of details that need to be negotiated with the presenter – ticket pricing, expenses, load-in logistics, tech rider issues, the tweaking of contract language, and so on. Also, once the show is on sale, the contracts team is responsible for tracking and organizing daily sales reports, also known as wraps, and forwarding this data on to the show’s producer.

THE BOOKING AGENCIES

Below are links to the most well-known New York City-based theatrical booking agencies. These agencies deal primarily with First Class National Tours and Non-Equity tours of popular titles, as well as some smaller-sized shows, family shows and special attractions to round out their rosters.

AVID TOURING

http://www.avidtouring.com/

AWA Touring

http://www.awatouringservices.com/

BIG LEAGUE

http://www.bigleague.org/

THE BOOKING GROUP

http://www.thebookinggroup.com/

BROADWAY BOOKING OFFICE

http://www.bbonyc.com/

CAMI

http://www.broadwaycat.com/

http://www.cami.com/

OFF BROADWAY BOOKING

http://www.obbnyc.com/

ON THE ROAD

http://www.ontheroadbooking.com/

THE ROAD COMPANY

http://www.theroadcompany.com/

WILLIAM MORRIS

http://www.wma.com/

These are certainly not all the theatrical booking agencies out there. There are agencies located all over the country booking many different levels of theater. For a more comprehensive list, consider investing in the Pollstar Booking Agency Directory.

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