Lookingglass Theatre Company

web design | custom programming | event archiving | advanced team member management

Recipient of the 2011 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, Lookingglass has built a national reputation for artistic excellence and ensemble-based theatrical innovation. They’ve emerged as a nationwide leader in the creation and presentation of new, cutting-edge theatrical works and in sharing its ensemble-based theatrical techniques with Chicago-area students and teachers through Education and Community Programs. Guided by an artistic vision centered on the core values of collaboration, transformation, and invention, Lookingglass seeks to capture audiences’ imaginations leaving them changed, charged and empowered.

For their 30th Anniversary, they needed a new website that captured the company’s spirit and enhanced their unique ensemble nature. Venture performed a comprehensive review of the existing platform and metrics to help determine project scope.

The result is one of our most striking achievements to date.

The project focused on automating previously laborious content management tasks, enhancing the integration of their extensive media library, and creating a powerful bespoke team management functionality that seamlessly integrates with Venture’s existing event manager.

Website Highlights

A Custom Team Management App

  •  The Team Member post type allows site managers to create individual profile pages used for (more than 150!) artists, staff, and board members.
  • The Team Builder is then used create groups of Team Members via an easy to use drag and drop interface.
  • The Team Shortcode Creator allows admins to customize how the team is displayed on the frontend. There are three primary style options (text lists, headshot cards, and full image grids) that provide hundreds of possible display refinements such as column distribution, image aspect ratio, assigning a CSS container class, min/max display counts, and which elements should be linked to the respective single team member page (or none if preferred).
  • Team shortcodes can be inserted into any page, post, or widget and if a team is edited at any point in the future, those changes are pushed through to any frontend instance automatically.
  • Teams can also be assigned to individual events. This allows the system to automatically generate a production history which can be assigned to individual Team Members or inserted anywhere into the site via special shortcodes. The end result creates a seamless flow from event to artist back to event without requiring the user to go back in their navigation flow.

Comprehensive Event Archives And Artist Profiles

  • The Lookingglass team spent a considerable amount of project resources gathering information and creating new headshots for artists, administrators, and board members alike. The end result is some of the most comprehensive artist profile pages in the theatre field! Ensemble and Artistic Associate profiles feature standard bio information along with a wealth of video and image media, theatre/film/television credits, awards, Lookingglass production history, and education. The final result serves as the gold standard for their peers.
  • Multiple Team Member layouts accommodate unique information for each type of team member.
  • Site visitors can easily scroll through the company’s entire production history all the way back to their first production from 1988.
  • Each production page includes synopsis, a striking header image, production media, and complete list of artists. Lookingglass members receive featured treatment thanks to their respective image grid team shortcode.

Minimal Click/Tap Conversion Design

  • In addition to serving as an expansive historical and ensemble member resource, the site’s primary purpose is to generate earned revenue and inspire patron interaction.
  • Purchasing tickets for current shows can be initiated with a single select action (click or tap) thanks to a mini occurrence calendar that appears on both primary show points of contact: the homepage and event’s landing page.

Mobile First Design

  • 100 percent responsive design.
  • Large, tap friendly buttons carry through desktop, tablet, and smartphone layouts.
  • Smartphone tap functions maximized for one-hand use.
  • Optimized CSS and JavaScript files help maintain Google friendly load times.
  • Media is equally engaging across all device types.

Cutting Edge User Interface

  • On desktop and laptop devices, the main nav menu remains visible at all times thanks to sticking to the top of the page when users scroll.
  • Mobile menu bar features an integrated text search feature.
  • Mobile menus include box office contact info at the top of slide out screen.

Omnipresent Social Engagement

  • All social share functionality exists in a bottom navigation bar that floats in as the user scrolls down page content.
  • The social nav menu includes both social share buttons for respective page content but links to the institution’s social media platforms.
  • Negative social proofing prevents social share counters from engaging until they’ve reached a value set by the admin.
  • Admins can easily create custom share messages for each major social media platform. No more one-size-fits-none social share messages!
  • Social share messages can integrate multiple hashtags and @ mentions.
  • A fly-in message overlay provides site visitors with an unobtrusive newsletter subscription notice.

Anna Marie Faulkner: Director of Marketing, Lookingglass Theatre Company

Working for a mid-size theatre, we aren’t able to employ a full-time web person on the marketing team. This meant that over the years with changing team members and developing technologies, we often ran into website issues that we did not know how to resolve. The huge draw in working with Venture Industries Online was their business model which offers continuous support for a reasonable annual fee, even after the site had been developed and launched.

Not only were Drew and the team incredibly attentive and professional during the migration process, but they continue to be very responsive to questions that arise day-to-day. The 24/7 support that they provide has been incredibly helpful: from troubleshooting problems to providing tutorials on how to accomplish a task, they always come through. As Drew says, if it takes you more than 5 minutes, contact him! Additionally, the custom “team member” and “calendar” functionality they developed for us allows us to utilize the website better as a marketing tool, highlighting the unique assets of Lookingglass and making it easier for users to purchase tickets. I would highly recommend working with Venture Industries Online!


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