Audience (R)Evolution Convenings

Audience (R)Evolution is a multi-year program designed by TCG and funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to study, promote and support successful audience engagement and community development models across the country. Now in its third round of activity, the program has traditionally supported four phases of programmatic activities: research and assessment; convenings; grantmaking; and widespread dissemination. Convenings have been a key component to sharing the program's assessment and research, plus offering broader peer learnings and opportunities for an exchange of ideas and lessons learned.

Carmen Morgan delivering the keynote speech at the Intersections Summit, Photo by Sara RisleyCarmen Morgan delivering the keynote speech at the Intersections Summit, Photo by Sara Risley

Audience (R)Evolution Round 3, Convenings will continue to share resources gathered during Rounds 1 and 2, and also offer opportunities for theater and arts professionals to gather and take part in dialogue related to audience engagement and community development moving forward. The newest round will sponsor sessions at the upcoming annual Fall Forum and National Conference, in addition to a future "mini" learning convening (location and dates TBA). These convenings will help develop quality ideas and new opportunities in theatre for youth and multigenerational audiences throughout the nation as well as those working with a cross-cultural, cross-sector and/or cross-discipline focus. For a history of gatherings sponsored by the program, please read on.

2018 Audience (R)Evolution "Mini" Convening, Milwaukee

From March 22-25, 2018, TCG supported Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s Intersections Summit, a national convening for community engagement practitioners in regional theaters across the country. Audience (R)Evolution gathered researchers and approximately 20 theater staff and artists to discuss topics initiated in Minneapolis around intentional language and equitable partnerships. Out of these conversations, TCG is building a guiding workbook entitled In Equal Measure: A Workbook for Equity in Evaluation, Research, and Assessment. This future publication will help theatres address their measurement practices with an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens.

The work done at both "mini" convenings informed the Audience (R)Evolution programming at TCG's 2018 National Conference in St. Louis, MO. For video recordings of the Milwaukee Intersections Summit, please visit the HowlRound Archive.

2017 Audience (R)Evolution "Mini" Convening, Minneapolis

An Audience (R)Evolution An Audience (R)Evolution "mini" convening in Minneapolis following the Ten Thousand Theaters Conference

From December 3-5, 2017, 100 theatre practitioners gathered in Minneapolis as part of the two-day Ten Thousand Theaters Conference, a gathering that came out of the work Ten Thousand Things Theater Company did for their Round 2 Cohort Grant. In an effort to deepen TCG's understanding of current audience engagement and community development practices, a post-conference meeting with facilitated conversation was held with 30 practitioners who are working cross-community, cross-sector and/or cross-discipline. The focus group examined audience engagement and community development across cultures, business sectors, and artistic disciplines. Participants also examined case studies of how particular theatres are measuring impact.

For video recordings of the Ten Thousand Theaters Conference, please visit the HowlRound Archive.

2015 Audience (R)Evolution Convening, Kansas City

From March 25 - 27, 2015, TCG convened over 210 theatre, arts and cultural professionals at the Kauffman Foundation Conference Center and other performing arts venues in Kansas City, Missouri–with 23 of them from the immediate Kansas City area. The 2015 Convening provided even broader peer learnings and opportunities for the exchange of ideas and lessons learned than the 2013 Convening, serving as a vehicle for theatre-makers to identify and connect with partners at other organizations with whom they might develop new strategies and models for audience engagement. Building on the success of the first Convening, attendees were given the opportunity to:

  • • Learn from practitioners with track records of successful audience engagement
  • • Discuss findings from TCG's ongoing assessments and research of the field, as well as findings from cross-disciplinary sources
  • • Explore current audience engagement and community development models in the field
  • • Hear from dynamic speakers and connect with peers to share successful strategies
  • • Identify fellow cohorts that share similar needs, objectives or interests and are looking to develop strategies and models for audience engagement that address those needs at a deeper level

 

The work done at this Convening informed the Audience (R)Evolution Round 2 grant program as well as programming at TCG's 2015 National Conference in Cleveland, OH. For more information on the convening, visit the 2015 Convening Event page and the Convening Video Archive.

David Steffen speaking on 'Creating a Culture of Hospitality' at the 2013 Audience (R)Evolution Convening in PhiladelphiaDavid Steffen speaking on 'Creating a Culture of Hospitality' at the 2013 Audience (R)Evolution Convening in Philadelphia

2013 Audience (R)Evolution Convening, Philadelphia

The 2013 Audience (R)Evolution Learning Convening in Philadelphia was TCG's first step in truly defining the full spectrum of audience engagement and community development, and sharing working models from our field and beyond. The convening took place at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, PA, February 20-22, 2013 and gathered 200 theatre practitioners and cultural workers.

Plenary speakers included: Gabe Zichermann, founder, Gamification Co; David Steffen, client adviser, Hospitality Quotient; and Rich Mintz, executive vice president, Blue State Digital; with Lisa Mount of Artistic Logistics acting as the Convening's facilitator. The plenary sessions also featured "(R)Ev-ifestos" from theatre practitioners giving their perspective on audience engagement and community development today, including Michael Rohd, founding artistic director, Sojourn Theatre; Donna Walker-Kuhne, president, Walker International Communications Group; Trish Santini, external relations director, Guthrie Theater; and Anthem Salgado, founder, Art of Hustle.

The work done at this Convening informed the Audience (R)Evolution programming at TCG's 2013 National Conference in Dallas, TX. For video recordings of this important convening, visit the Convening Video Archive.

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