You say you got a real solution / Well, you know / We’d all love to see the plan.
-“Revolution,” The Beatles
It’s been over a year since Occupy Wall Street began, and nearly two since Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire and ignited the Arab Spring. While some movements continue to struggle against violence or indifference, others face a new question: What happens after the revolution succeeds? In our field, the resident theatre movement succeeded beyond our founders’ wildest dreams, but now we face new challenges connecting with communities in a hyper-connected world. Through our New Generations Program, we learned that theatres were hungry to deepen their relationship with audiences from transaction to real engagement, and so we wondered: Does our art need an evolution or a revolution?
What if the answer is both? Audience (R)Evolution, our multi-year program funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, will study, promote and support successful audience engagement and community development models across the country. Everything from tactical tweaks of subscription plans to radical re-imaginings of the audience/artist relationship will be considered, and we need your help to make sure these efforts are comprehensive.
If you’re a Member Theatre, keep an eye on your inbox for an Organizational Survey we’ll soon be sending to measure your audience engagement and community development practices. This Survey will build on the research already conducted by our research partner, AMS Planning & Research, to better capture all of the innovative engagement models out there. Then, we’ll hear from the audience themselves through an online Audience Participation Survey. We’ll be asking Member Theatres to share audience contact information, which we’ll use solely for the study, to ensure that the research is as robust and useful as possible.
All of this research builds towards the Audience (R)Evolution Convening in Philadelphia, February 20-22, 2013. Save the date, and then apply to join us, as we share in-depth case studies and research findings; connect practitioners through interactive sessions about successful strategies; and feature speakers on the cutting edge of engagement. This convening will catalyze a new grant program focused on replicating and re-imagining the most impactful engagement models, with proposals accepted in spring 2013.
We’ll then present the outcomes from the surveys and other research at the 2013 National Conference in Dallas. Integrating the important findings from the program, TCG will widely disseminate these results to the field, empowering your theatre with the big ideas and practical tools needed to keep up with evolving audiences—or lead your own audience revolution! For more information about the program, contact Rachel Hutt.