European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Instant culture: Theatre Tonight!

Going to the theatre is expensive and you have to plan it. Or not? Theatre Tonight reinterprets this way of fun. Spontaneous, flexible and cheap. Tivadar Limbacher talks about the first steps, the future and the hardest times.

The point of your idea is to make buying a theatre ticket as spontaneous and flexible just like a cinema ticket.


That’s right; you never buy your cinema ticket a long time before the movie. The common way as people usually do: “Are we going to the cinema?” “Sure, why not?”  A lot of people not even choose the movie at home, just pick one in the cinema according to the posters. And that is the spontaneity which we wanted to import to the field of theatre. We really did not want to demolish the experience and prestige of the theatre; we just wanted to bypass this little difficulty.


There are a lot of successful enterprises where the leader tells: the idea came from a friendly chat, usually during drinking. How about you?


At first, we just decided we start an enterprise. We had six different ideas and from these finally we chose the Theatre Tonight! project. We decided that we would enrol in the BarCamp start-up competition. This event had a deadline so this date became our deadline too.

After that, we looked around at the theatres, we had a lot of discussions with friends who interested in theatre and we just collected information as much as we could.

At the competition, the jury consisted of financial investors, they could not see the opportunity of a huge profit in our idea. At the end, we did not win, but we got many positive feedbacks from the audience, lot of people saw the fantasy of our idea, so we decided: we start it.


What do you think which one is the bigger attraction? The prices of the tickets or the availability for the same day of the show?


I would tell it is fifty-fifty. Nowadays, there are so many options to have fun so for the success some extra features are needed. I think it is very important to send the newsletters every day for our subscribers, so when they see a good programme at a theatre, they will not search for museum tickets, or cinema.

Our tickets are cheaper, anyway.


Do you have an exact target group?


Basically, not. Obviously, because our service is online it somehow makes some limits. Of course you can buy ticket online when you are 60 or 70 years old, but this is a small group. On the other hand, we made this website because we thought how good it would have been for us. So in our minds there was always a young adult group as our customers. But we don’t want to exclude anyone.


Did you expect this huge success?


We decided that despite of the difficulties we make it and see if it is working or not. We did not really thought about if we will have 80.000 likes or we will sell 100.000 tickets in a year. We reached it, and we are happy.


How was the welcome from the theatres?


Of course, at the first time a lot theatre dismissed us. Now we have 90 partners, at the start we had only 6 or 7. The first partners were the Belvárosi Theatre and the Katona József Theatre. This number has been rising and half a year later we had 90% coverage. There were theatres what waited for a while to connect.


Looking back to the last years which was the hardest period for you?


At the start, there were a lot of uncertainties. We had no idea how to connect to the ticket-system, and who will write the computer codes for it. We did not know if it will work or people would be interested or not. We left our jobs so we did not get salary but the new enterprise did not produce enough money at that point. We really depleted our savings and just hoped that our idea is good enough to be successful. Now we can see: it was good enough.


Szőke Dániel


You can comment this article on the European Youth Portal Facebook page.