The Expanding Definition of Cultural Engagement

by Hil Moss

in National Conference

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(This post is part of the 2014 TCG National Conference: Crossing Borders {Theatre | Technology} blog salon, curated by Jacqueline E. Lawton.) 

JACQUELINE LAWTON: First, please tell us a bit about yourself and your organization.

HIL MOSS: I’m a member of the Strategy & Branding team at LaPlaca Cohen. For over 20 years, we have helped many of the world’s leading cultural and creative organizations build powerful connections with their audiences and achieve greater impact through strategy, design, and advertising. All of our work is grounded in our understanding of cultural audiences, which we gain through our ongoing research and experience with clients spanning the spectrum of the cultural world.

In order to deepen this understanding of cultural audiences—and to further advance our thought leadership—we developed Culture Track, the largest national tracking study focused exclusively on the ever-changing attitudes and behaviors of U.S. cultural consumers (fielded six times since 2001). Culture Track is the product of over a decade of research and dedication to producing a current and highly-actionable resource for cultural organizations nationwide.

JL: Next, please share the title and description of your breakout session, so that folks can find you.

HM: The session—Culture Track 2014 – The Expanding Definition of Cultural Engagementwill present findings from this year’s study, which arrives at a critical moment for theatrical organizations. The world has drastically evolved over the past few years, with ever-multiplying options for leisure time and the ascendance of mobile technology changing the way that we interface with our world. In recognition of this unique moment, this year’s Culture Track delves deeper than ever before into the expanding definition of “culture,” the evolving role of digital technology in cultural experiences, and the driving forces behind cultural participation.

JL: Now, what inspired this breakout session?

HM: This year’s Culture Track has some findings that will be particularly interesting for the theatre world, including insights into declining subscription rates and the role that digital technologies play in theatrical audiences’ cultural experiences. We’re excited to tackle these topics with the TCG community.

JL: Finally, what do you hope participants learn from this breakout session?

HM: In addition to taking away a variety of strategic insights, covering areas from digital strategy to loyalty models to communications channels, I hope participants will walk away with a much deeper understanding of now only WHAT theatre audiences are doing—but HOW and WHY they’re doing it. This “outside in” perspective is essential for engaging today’s changing audiences.

Hil Moss is a member of the Strategy & Branding team at LaPlaca Cohen, the only strategy, design, and full-service advertising firm in the US that exclusively serves the creative and cultural sector.

She is a graduate of Princeton University, and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Princeton Triangle Club, the oldest touring collegiate musical-comedy troupe in the United States, in which she previously performed as an actress and served as the organization’s President.


Jacqueline E. Lawton received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener fellow. Her plays include Anna K; Blood-bound and Tongue-tied; Deep Belly Beautiful; The Devil’s Sweet Water; The Hampton Years; Ira Aldridge: Love Brothers Serenade, Mad Breed and Our Man Beverly Snow. She has received commissions from Active Cultures Theater, Discovery Theater, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History, Round House Theatre and Theater J. A 2012 TCG Young Leaders of Color, she has been nominated for the Wendy Wasserstein Prize and a PONY Fellowship from the Lark New Play Development Center. She resides in Washington DC and is a member of Arena Stage’s Playwrights’ Arena.