Programming & Operations FAQ

Programming & Operations Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about how we select our performers?
Want to know more about the impact of The Barnhill Center on Washington County?
Want to make a performer suggestion?
Here’s everything you need to know!
Who operates The Barnhill Center?

We are a non-profit theatre operated by The City of Brenham. Our goal is to provide high-quality entertainment for locals and tourists, and to enhance the community’s amenities. We have a minimal staff and rely on volunteers who work at our shows.

What types of shows do you offer?

The Barnhill Center offers a well-rounded variety of genres and concert types, from small acoustic groups to large musical theater productions. In addition to concerts, we’ve found that our audiences love Broadway-style productions with dancing and colorful costumes. Laughter is always welcome and appreciated, so we offer some shows with comedy as a central focus.

How do you decide which performers to book?
    • We diligently study suggestions from our patrons. After each show we send a questionnaire to attendees including, “who else do you want to see on this stage?”
    • We evaluate past shows to determine what genres and artists have proven to be most popular in our community.
    • We attend other venues across Texas to scout talent, and to experience artists firsthand.
    • We are online daily for research, listening and evaluating various artists for our specific audience.
    • We are a founding member of “Texas Routing Partners” (almost 30 venues) who talk daily about the hottest acts, industry trends, artists planning Texas tours, and what specific artists deliver the best results.
    • Texas Routing Partners also plan tours together to attract big artists. Together we can offer artists multiple shows within a weekend, and this also ensures we get the best artist pricing.
    • We are constantly contacted by agents who want to fill dates around their other Texas bookings. If the artists fall within our schedule and strategy, we consider these opportunities.
    • We study the schedules of other nearby music venues, to make sure we don’t compete with them nor offer redundant shows.
Do you work on this all year while the current season is ongoing?

It’s an ongoing process, a full-time job because:

    • Suggestions are continuously received from our patrons.
    • New artists surface all the time.
    • New routing opportunities continuously arise with artists who plan to tour Texas.
    • New shows are booked at other Texas venues that we must experience and evaluate.

We keep a long, ongoing list of shows we want to book. The list grows much faster than we can book shows!

How can I make suggestions and ask for specific artists?

We value your opinions, and we want your suggestions! After every show you attend, you receive an email from The Barnhill Center with a questionnaire. Please take a few minutes to answer the questionnaire and give us your additional feedback. We use your comments when we plan enhancements and future programming.

Why have you not booked the artist I suggested through your audience surveys?
  • Some requested artists are not within our financial reach. With only 319 seats to sell, it’s impossible to book big-name artists with the highest price tags.
  • Our bookings are largely dependent on artists’ availability and schedules. We are not always able to book our most desired artists, when their calendars don’t line-up with ours.
  • We always strive to bring the very highest quality of programming to Brenham, and some artists don’t meet our standards.
  • We deliberately avoid artists who play at nearby venues. We don’t want to offer locally-redundant shows, and we maintain good relationships with other venues in the region.
What is a Tribute band and why do you book them?

We live in a pivotal time in music history when Tribute artists have become a hot trend. Nowadays the industry is flooded with them, and for good reason.

Tribute shows are the only way to provide some of the world’s most popular music, since many original artists have passed away or no longer perform. In cases where the (expensive) original artists still tour, their Tribute bands enable audiences to enjoy the live music without such high prices.

Some of these shows are excellent, and hard to differentiate from the original artists. Those who do this well are indeed among the most talented performers, as it is most difficult to authentically reproduce another artist’s music, style and personality.

We are offering 5 Tribute shows this year, consistent with previous years. We are very careful to personally experience these shows before booking them, to validate the authenticity, quality and audience response.

Our experience has proven that Tributes are equally as popular as other shows – our audiences love music they grew up with.

Are any changes expected for your future programming?

We continuously receive such rave reviews, we don’t want to change too much. As long as crowds keep coming, and sending their praises, we’ll stay on this path. Since we closely watch the industry and our audience feedback, we’ll hopefully know when it’s time to change our strategy.

How do you determine prices for your tickets?

Every artist has their own unique price tag, and their own unique requirements for the venues they play.  Ticket prices are formulated to cover these things:

    • Artists who fly to Texas cannot always bring their instruments, so we often must rent instruments and equipment for the stage.
    • All artists require meals and hotel rooms, so our expenses are largely determined by the number of performers onstage.
    • Some require transportation, loading helpers, stage hands, special stage enhancements and/or inclusion of their guests.
    • For all shows we must provide advertising, sound and light equipment, technical operators, and other supporting staff.

With only 319 seats to sell, it’s sometimes a challenge to cover the expenses while keeping tickets affordable for our patrons. For these reasons, we book shows at different price levels, so patrons can have choices.

Our higher-priced shows are still bargains when compared to most venues in Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. Many of our patrons prefer not to travel since they can get comparable entertainment without long drives, heavy traffic, big crowds and long walks from parking.

What would you like to tell potential ticket-buyers, both long-time attendees and newcomers?

To long-time attendees:

Thank you for being so supportive and loyal to The Barnhill Center! You have helped shape the programming with your attendance and your suggestions along the way. Many of you bring guests and spread the word, to further contribute to our success.

It’s amazing that you often come without any prior knowledge of the specific artists – you just understand that you’ll experience the best quality of entertainment. We call it “blind faith” and we’re thrilled that we’ve achieved that level of trust with you!

To newcomers and potential buyers:

Our patrons tell us there is no better place to see live performances. They rave about the intimate musical experience in our charming auditorium with comfortable seats and friendly staff!

We’ve heard there is a misperception in the community, that The Barnhill Center offers only Country music. Out of fourteen shows this year, only four can be considered Country and this is consistent with previous years. We offer a wide variety of music that also includes Rock, Pop, Folk, Gospel, Blues and Americana.

We will continue to offer some Country music since it is the most requested genre from our patrons. Many locals regularly attend shows in Nashville and Branson, and many request Country, Bluegrass and Gospel for our stage. These are still the most popular of all our shows, with the largest attendance.

If there is a specific genre or artist you want to see locally, please let us know!

Does The Barnhill Center attract tourists?

The Simon Theatre was established almost 100 years ago as a regional center for entertainment, cultural events and social gatherings. Today this important historical landmark is once again serving the region for all of the above plus meetings, business events, exhibits and festivals.

We are attracting audiences from around Texas, and even across state lines. This brings more opportunities for local lodging, dining and shopping – helping to boost the local economy.