Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Off Stage Conversations

Hello Everyone, it's Andie Arthur, executive director of the South Florida Theatre League, here again with this week's installment of Off Stage Conversations, where I look at what's happening in theatre nationally and internationally.

Katori Hall's TCG Keynote

The Wicked Stage links Katori Hall's TCG keynote speech and makes a great point on the challenge of diversifying America's theatres. Hall's speech is incredibly moving and I highly recommend listening to all of it.

A Neat Fundraising Campaign

Like so many theatres, the Goodman Theatre in Chicago is doing an end of year campaign. What makes this one special is that they're looking for donations to support new work. There are so many generalized fundraising campaigns right now that they all tend to get lost in the shuffle -- but if you have some part of what your mission that could use a little extra love, why not make a special campaign for it?

Accessible Art and Radical Hospitality

The Dallas Art Museum has created free membership and free admission on the premise that everyone should be able to access art. Could a theatre company pull off something similar? Mixed Blood in Minneapolis has been offering free tickets through their Radical Hospitality program -- where free tickets are available to ANYONE on a walk up basis. If you want a guaranteed seat, you can buy in advance.

I've heard the myriad of complaints about free seats each time I ask producers to join in Free Night of Theater (which is an entirely voluntary program). And I do hear the complaints about relative value -- if we don't value ourselves, how can we expect others to value us? Yet... we complain about being perceived as irrelevant and elite and often don't do much to combat that. I think what Mixed Blood and The Dallas Art Museum are doing is a public good and we do need to think about how to expand the public's interaction with art.

Is Your Organization Fun?

Chad Bauman of Arena Stage looks at how creating a fun experience is a great audience development tool and does not require the sacrifice of integrity.

Make Ticket Buying Easier: A Parable

A nice little fun marketing story that has a really great point -- do what you need to do to make ticket buying easier.

Art in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Andy Horwitz of Culture Bot has a review of Roman Tragedies that turns into a pretty compelling article on how to smartly handle theatre in a digital age. The bit on twitter being a tool and having different tools for different situations is particularly apt. It then broadens out to a larger copyright discussion, but there's a lot of little gems here for arts administrators and artists to take away.

Taking a Closer Look at Your Image

Joe Patti at Butts in Seats has a two-pronged look at what actually goes into your messaging. The first bit on buzz words is hilarious. The second bit is on the importance of how you represent the art. He gives the example of a picture of an all white, all male orchestra and how to market it to a more diverse audience. Now, my first thought was "well, then the artistic side needs to diversify or be content with their current audience," but that's not something a marketing director has the final say on. And it's a good question to ask.

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