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Before a young bird can leave the nest, they must be shown how to fly. Sometimes they require a little extra support and nudging to help them soar. To help young professionals leave the nest and get into the theatre, Cardinal Stage created a sponsored subscription program. The Nest Generation Initiative gives young people a chance to experience the benefits of subscribing, so that they will become the next generation of season subscribers.
For Andrea Alumbaugh, the opportunity to receive a sponsored subscription was a surprising treat. “My friends and I were talking about theatre in Bloomington, and I mentioned how much I love Cardinal,” she says. Alumbaugh was familiar with arts programs that assisted children or low-income families, but nothing that focused on young professionals. “My friends told me about the Nest Gen program, and I was excited.”
The program is simple: any young adult under the age of 35 who has not been a Cardinal season subscriber before can register to receive a complimentary five-ticket subscription to the Mainstage productions. The tickets are sponsored by current subscribers, which means the Nest Gen recipients don’t have to pay anything out of pocket; there is no financial risk to young professionals who want to sample a season-long commitment.
“The application process was very simple; the hardest part was waiting to be notified,” says Alumbaugh. She was sponsored by someone she didn’t know, but other Nest Gen recipients are paired with friends or relatives who chose them. “I am so grateful to my sponsor who so generously gave a stranger an incredible opportunity,” she says.
Once notified, Alumbaugh then selected the shows she wanted to see. One of the perks of a Cardinal season subscription is early access to selecting the seats you want on the dates you prefer. She chose single tickets to two spring productions, and a pair of tickets to the holiday musical Beauty and the Beast. “I wanted to take my niece to her first theatre performance,” Alumbaugh recalls, “and she got dressed up and brought her Belle doll to the show.” Her niece loved it, making her doll clap after the cast sang “Be Our Guest.” The experience was priceless for both of them. “My heart was so full, and I knew that I’d created a theatre fan for life, with the help of my Nest Gen tickets,” she says.
Sharing the theatre experience is what the Nest Generation Initiative is all about. After the season ended, Alumbaugh enjoyed it enough to purchase her own subscription for the upcoming season. “It just made sense to subscribe, since there are at least three shows that I want to see in the next season; plus, Cardinal offers a subscription discount for people under 35,” she says.
As a way to pass on the generosity she received, Alumbaugh also sponsored a Nest Generation subscription for another young professional. “I’d encourage everyone who’s eligible to apply,” she says. “There is really nothing to lose in applying, and the benefits of being able to see top-notch, live, local theatre are obvious.”
For anyone over the age of 35, a standard season subscription has plenty of benefits, too. Beyond the early seat selection, there is a 15 percent savings over single-show ticket prices, discounts for friends to buy single tickets to attend with you, and free parking in a reserved lot. There are also convenience perks like free ticket exchanges if you need to swap for another date and missed-show insurance if something comes up and you must miss a show. There is also a “play now, pay later” payment plan option, which helps make the financial commitment a little easier. There are a few package options with different ticket quantities to the outstanding Mainstage shows.
For kid-friendly shows, Cardinal offers the Family Friendly Subscription. This package includes one ticket to each of the three Cardinal for Kids shows this season, with pricing options for adults and kids. All of the standard benefits are included as well.
For those who can’t commit to dates right now, or who want to take a couple of friends to each show, the Ticket Flex Packs are an excellent option. Subscribers can buy 10 or 20 packs at discounted rates, then decide later which shows they want to see. The tickets are good for all shows, including Cardinal for Kids productions.
The perks are an added bonus, but the real motivation for purchasing a subscription is the quality of every Cardinal show, and the diverse shows each season. As Alumbaugh attests, “I’ve never been disappointed in a Cardinal show, and I’m often wowed by the quality of the performances.” Still, with so many wonderful arts and culture amenities in Bloomington, it can be easy to overlook opportunities. “Cardinal is a gem, and I’d encourage everyone to go see at least one show this season,” she says. Better yet, subscribe to an entire season of outstanding local theatre.
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