In our client profile series, we share the stories behind the people and organizations that use TicketPeak‘s E-ticketing software system. In our first profile, we chat with Melanie Lamoureux, founder and artistic director of BAMtheatre. She shares how BAM came to be, what inspires her, and her love for musical theatre.
1. What is BAMtheatre all about?
BAM is about education. Our programs cater to all ages of youth. In the summer, we teach kids as young as three, and we go up through to college age. BAM focuses on educating through the process of performing arts. So the objective is not just the final show, but developing the students throughout the whole process. The environment is one in which students feel inspired to grow and to become better people.
We also have a ton of fun in everything we do. We have the four pillars of BAM: Focus, Energy, Enthusiasm and Joy. Those were coined when we did Les Miz many summers ago. In the middle of a rehearsal, I stopped the performers and blurted out, “Focus, Energy, Enthusiasm and Joy! Those are the pillars of BAM!” Those have stuck, and we’ve realized that if you go into anything, and you put focus, high energy, and enthusiasm, then the output naturally has to be joy. That is really what BAM is. It’s a joyful place. Students love to be here, and they learn throughout every experience.
2. When and how was BAMtheatre started?
Spontaneously, in 2001. It was the summer after my eighth grade. I and two girlfriends whose names were Becky and Ally (the B and A in BAM) had nothing to do, so we were like, “let’s put on a play”. We created a flyer on MS Word with no color and no images that just said “Casting Call … Come and be a part of a play.”
We decided to do Annie. We created the script by renting the movie, watching 30 seconds and then rewinding it and typing what we’d heard. We learned later that that approach was not legal, and since then, we’ve done things in a very legal manner, but we were 13 years old at the time, and we had no idea what we were doing!
We walked around town passing out flyers and recruited several kids from the neighborhood, maybe 16 or so, and we put on our version of Annie. We rehearsed in our backyards and in our basements, and somehow we convinced the local middle school to let us use their cafeteria for the performance. There was no set. We just had a sign that said “Annie” that we put at the front of the stage. We didn’t even have chairs – when the kids needed to sit down, they just sat on the floor.
3. How has BAMtheatre grown or evolved?
From those humble beginnings, we’ve grown substantially. Becky and Ally got real jobs. It has become a full-time, year-round company that offers many different programs. Summer is our main time, with three different programs. We have a high school/college-intensive program, and we have the youth theatre intensive program. Those are each full-scale musical theatre productions. We also run our Broadway Workshop Series, which is essentially summer camp. Each workshop is one week long, and we do a bunch of different titles.
Now, we have year round programming, including School Enrichment, where we go into elementary schools around the area and do little workshop performances with the students.
4. How does TicketPeak help in your success?
The year we started using TicketPeak for our class registrations and audition signups, our numbers skyrocketed, specifically for our workshops in the summer. As soon as registration opened, there was a huge influx of enrollment. It was insane! In previous years, people called to register, and we had to take down all their information by hand. Very tedious for us and for the parent registering their child. TicketPeak made it easy for parents to register, and that drove the increased numbers. So, you can attribute much of the success of our Broadway Workshop series to TicketPeak.
We now have over 500 kids participate in that series alone. It would be impossible to handle all those registrations by hand or to convince 500 parents to register over the phone.
5. What inspires you about musical theatre?
I love learning about the world through art, specifically through theatrical and performance art. I think it’s a unique way to express ideas. Seeing a show makes me think about the world in different ways. Also, I love being in involved in creating that type of inspiration with the works that we do. That goes back to the education focus of BAM. We really take the time, especially when we’re doing our mainstage productions, to question why we’re doing the works that we’re doing.
For example, when we did West Side Story, we studied all about the historical significance of the gang violence that was happening in New York City in that time, and we also studied what was going on in our world today. We realized that it really wasn’t all that different, which is kind of crazy.
6. Is there anything else you’d like to say to the TicketPeak community?
TicketPeak is awesome! It makes things really easy. It’s a super straightforward process for anyone. Our ticket buyers love it. It also makes the jobs of our people a lot easier. Also, it’s affordable. BAMtheatre has used only TicketPeak as our ticketing system, but I’ve worked at other companies that use other systems, and they’re just confusing to both the people that work there and to the buyers. Also, those systems seem to be more expensive.
Also, I’m glad that TicketPeak is fostering a sense of community among its clients. We can all learn from each other!