CiviCRM for Performing Arts Organizations

2012-03-13 16:09
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A wide variety of organizations make use of CiviCRM, especially in the areas managing contact/donor data, contact communication and receiving online donations. Performing arts organizations also have those needs, as well as some unique requirements around events (performances) and tickets. Over a series of upcoming blog posts, I hope to outline how our organization has used and adapted CiviCRM to meet our needs for those use cases.


About Our Organization


Bay Area Children's Theatre (BACT) is 501(c)3 based in the San Francisco East Bay area, founded in 2004. BACT produces main stage musicals and plays based on popular children's literature. Our productions feature adult, professional actors. Our education department offers after-school drama classes and summer camps.


Using CiviCRM


BACT began using CiviCRM in early 2008 to organize patron and donor contact data, track donations, and provide an online donation form. Shortly thereafter, we began using CiviEvent as a basic ticketing system for our main stage performances.


CiviCRM offers great "out-of-the-box" functionality in all of these areas. We network regularly with other theatres and performing arts organizations in the Bay Area and they're in disbelief about the depth of data that we have available, especially in our ability to connect our performance ticketing data with our donor data, and see, for example, which performances a major donor has come to. And that we get it all for minimal cost. Using CiviCRM as our performance tickets platform has saved us (and our patrons) literally tens of thousands of dollars that we might have spent on commercial ticketing software, or per-ticket fees incurred with a SaaS ticketing solution.


Adaptation and Customization


With few exceptions, most of our customizations have been acheived by overriding page/form templates, or using the Drupal Views 2 module. I hope to cover all of these items in upcoming blog posts. Listed here just to get our feet wet:

  • Events as performances
  • Online ticketing / performance listing
  • Subscriptions / season tickets / self-service for subscribers
  • Discount codes / relocating the discount field
  • Billing address same-as checkbox
  • USB credit card swiper support for at-the-door ticket sales
  • Performance sales report
  • Ticket barcodes and check-in
  • Conversion tracking with Google Analytics
  • School tour request form


Hi jcm55,

Together with our programmers in the UK, we have implemented an extension which adds barcoded print at home tickets to civiCRM. Pending the approval of a contract with one of my clients this week, we plan to add tethered scanning and automatic check in to the extension.

I am very interested in some of the other features that you plan to add. Perhaps we can combine our efforts to avoid duplication?

I'd be happy to have a Skype or telephone chat with you if you wish. To get in touch, please visit and find my contact email/telephone in the "Contact" tab.