Bar Harbor is a town with a lot of history. The 1932 Criterion Theatre lives in a building with a particularly rich history, which it manages to preserve while also putting on programming for modern times.
Admittedly, I have a special place in my heart reserved for The Criterion after they hosted one of my all-time favorites, Brett Dennen, this past August (it was a really big deal in terms of nostalgia and one of the only things that would have lured me out of the house in the first week after giving birth), but this post goes beyond my own reasons for loving the Criterion.
Community Involvement. It’s always nice to see businesses and nonprofits in the community banding together to create something that we can all enjoy. This winter alone, The Criterion has joined forces with other local businesses to put on various events, such as a Star Wars Costume Parade with Atlantic Brewing during the opening week of The Last Jedi. They’ve also created a Christmas movie series, where local businesses can sponsor a Christmas movie of their choice. And then there’s the upcoming Spectacular New Year’s Eve Carnival with The Barn Arts Collective, an event for the whole family from 2-4 p.m.
Mix of Live Events and Movies. In addition to blending past and present, the Criterion also blends live events with film (not at the same time, of course). These events are separated out on their website. Live events include concerts by local favorites and well-known celebs (Clint Black and David Crosby, for instance), performances (like the Acadia Community Theater’s Christmas in Oz earlier this month), and the occasional visit from the ballet. A list of upcoming movies is also available both on the website and Facebook. It never hurts to have this information in more than one place!
Marketing with a Smile. When it comes to marketing, finding a blend of informative and humorous can be a delicate balance. They aren’t afraid to show their goofy side (see below) which makes for interesting content. After all, you might as well have a little fun with your marketing!
Online Purchasing. This past summer, I went to see two concerts at the Criterion with my mom. For both of them, we were able to buy our tickets in advance online, which made the process super easy. If you want to secure seats ahead of time, make a gift of tickets to a show (or their ticket booklet), or become a member, you can do it all from the convenience of your home (which is especially appealing during the winter months).
A clever thing in their checkout process also allows you to round up your purchase to the nearest dollar to make a donation or give a donation as a separate line item as you check out.
In terms of event marketing online and offline, The Criterion is a nonprofit to take notes from.