Cameron Zona is a student at Lake Erie College and is pursuing a unique double major in Theater and Entrepreneurship.
Combining his passion for art and entrepreneurship, Cameron started The Access Theater Project. This is a pay-what-you-will theater company focused on providing accessible theater art to anyone in Northeast Ohio.
The Access Theatre Project’s Unique Business Model
The Access Theatre Project has a very different business model which is a “pay what you will model.”
This is what it sounds like: Patrons of the Access Theatre Project productions simply pay what they can for tickets, refreshments, and raffle tickets.
Some may be worried about how this type of business makes any money. But Cameron did his “research”.
“Theaters were making about the same with a pay what you will model,” he says.
Cameron comments on this further saying, “I saw expansion (referring to pay what you will model), that’s why I launched my company and we average about $20 per person.”
With this different type of business model Cameron recognizes that he needs to be clear and focused on the Theater’s overall mission of accessibility. He takes this a step further saying “he hopes that they feel less like a business and more like a charity.”
Cameron acknowledges that making a profit is important to the Access Theatre Project, but the overarching goal of providing a high-quality, accessible theater experience is much more important and drives all of the business’s actions.
Cameron’s Advice to Entrepreneurs
Cameron has learned a lot from his experiences as an entrepreneur and understands the difficulties that come with starting your own business. So when it comes to advice, Cameron simply suggests entrepreneurs to “Surround yourself with people with similar interests as you”.
Cameron enjoys working with people with similar interests that he has because it forces him to be better and to constantly be evolving as an entrepreneur and as a theater manager.
Cameron’s Future Goals For the Access Theater Project Despite some success, Cameron still has big plans for The Access Theater Project in the future, especially in the creative department.
Next fall he plans to scale down projects and reach out to marginalized members of the community. Cameron understands the importance of people hearing stories that they normally aren’t used to hearing and giving marginalized groups a platform to tell their story. Cameron also hopes these new projects will increase understanding and support for people in these communities.
Learn More About
If you are interested in finding out more about Cameron’s story, watch his episode in season two of EEC’s Dream it Do It Series. Find out more about The Access Theater Project including upcoming productions and ways to get involved.