March 28, 2015
#StaffChat posts feature articles and news that the C1 team discusses as part of our weekly all-staff meeting. We’d love to hear your thoughts too — hit us up on Facebook or Twitter!
This past week, the Theatre Communication Group — a membership organization for professional theatres in the US —hosted a convening as part of their Audience (R)Evolutions series:
Audience (R)Evolution is a multi-year program designed by TCG and funded the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to study, promote and support successful audience engagement models across the country. This new initiative encompasses four phases unfolding over three years: research and assessment; convenings; grant-making; and widespread dissemination of audience engagement models that work.
200 theatre professionals, including Company One’s own Sarah Shampnois and John J King, met from March 25-27 in Kansas City to discuss best practices and new models for building bridges between the work on our stages and the work out in our communities. A full agenda of the convening can be found HERE, and a list of attendees HERE.
As part of this week’s #StaffChat, we’ll be hearing from Sarah and John about their experiences and ah-ha moments, and we’re brushing up on some big ideas about audience engagement from within the TCG model.
Here’s a starting point:
Q: How does TCG define “Audience Engagement” and “Community Development?”
A: The Audience (R)Evolution program has been instituted to fully explore audience engagement and community development strategies, practices and working models. Not every organization or individual defines the “audience” in the same way, but for the purposes of the Audience (R)Evolution program, TCG uses the term as all-inclusively as possible. With our exploration of audience engagement, TCG is expanding beyond the idea of a traditional, transaction-based relationship with theatre patrons, and is instead referring holistically to the exchange between theatre-makers and theatre-viewers.
More succinctly, TCG differentiates between “Audience Engagement” and “Community Development” in the following way:
• Audience Engagement builds opportunities for dialogue between theatres and audiences and includes a full spectrum of goals, strategies, tactics and outcomes.
• Community Development connects theatres and non-arts sector partners using artistic assets to build collaborative and mutually beneficial projects addressing community needs.
Both utilize activities that encompass building, deepening, and listening to audiences and potential audiences to determine what is relevant to them; and serving, informing, and opening communications with them to build long-lasting relationships.