Author Archives: Ilana Brownstein

#StaffChat: TCG’s Audience (R)Evolution Convening

#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.

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#TBT: Thanksgiving

Today’s ‪#‎tbt‬ (Throwback Thursday) puts us in mind of Kirsten Greenidge’s Season 15 play, SPLENDOR. Amidst the pie and the lighthouses and the waves, we’re also thinking about the complicated history of Thanksgiving. With the verdict from Ferguson and ongoing protests, this week is a contemplative one for the country, and we’re reminded that the arts have a place in the public discourse around challenging social issues.

We’re wishing you each a peaceful and reflective holiday, however you commemorate it.

Here’s some of the reading we’re doing today…

Changing Thanksgiving’s History

“As the greeter at Plimoth Plantation’s Wampanoag Homesite, Bob Charlebois is the first person tourists meet after leaving the visitors’ center and entering the outdoor museum. ‘I’m a spokesman for a whole race of people,’ says the former Mashpee history teacher, an Abenaki Indian from Canada who is in his 10th season as an employee at the popular tourist destination.”

National Day of Mourning Reflects on Thanksgiving’s Horrific, Bloody History

“While families across the country indulge on their Thanskgiving Day feasts, hundreds will gather at Cole’s Hill in Plymouth on Thursday to commemorate a different tradition: the National Day of Mourning. The event, held annually on Thanksgiving, is meant to honor Native American ancestors who died due to the European invasion, and to expose the bloody history behind the November holiday.”

by Bruce McCall/courtesy of THE NEW YORKER

Beneath the Covers: The Real Story Behind The New Yorker’s Thanksgiving/Redskins Cover

“Leave it to a couple of witty immigrants to satirize an NFL team name within the rituals of Thanksgiving in one fell swoop of the brush. On the new cover of The New Yorker magazine (on newsstands today), artist Bruce McCall mashes up the American holiday and the American sport like so much whipped-frenzy potatoes — all made delicious with a sharp, sardonic bite.”


Company One & IDEAS UMass Boston

Last Wednesday, Company One Theatre was one of 11 speakers at the 2014 IDEAS UMass Boston conference, an “event where some of the the region’s leading thinkers from every imaginable sector push boundaries and share their latest big ideas to create fertile ground for innovation.” Learn more about the history and mission of the IDEAS conference here.

Below, find the speech that C1’s Director of New Work, Ilana Brownstein, delivered. It was followed by a performance excerpt from BRAHMAN/I: A ONE-HIJRA STAND-UP COMEDY SHOW by Aditi Brennan Kapil, part of THE DISPLACED HINDU GODS TRILOGY, currently in production until Nov 22.


Thank you so much for having us here this afternoon. My name is Ilana Brownstein, and I’m the Director of New Work at Company One Theatre, in residence at the Boston Center for the Arts in the South End. This season, we’re 16 years old. We were founded by graduates of Clark University who took the school’s motto to heart: “Challenge convention. Change our world.”

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