Audience (R)Evolution TCG Circle Blog Salon

As part of TCG's 2015 Audience (R)Evolution Learning Convening in Kansas City, Caridad Svich curated a blog salon on the themes of audience engagement and community development. Below are the most recent posts, and for the full series, click here.

Hope and Consensus Organizing
When I tell people that I work at the Capshaw/Spielberg Center for Arts and Educational Justice which houses the Ann and Jerry Moss Theater, which is part of the Herb Alpert Educational Village at New Road School, they generally ask me two things: 1) how do I get all of that information on a business card? and 2) do I hang out with Steven Spielberg? [...]

The Audience is the Message
“What do you see?” The psychologist (Christopher Morriss) points at an inkblot on the gallery wall and audience members shout out: “a butterfly!” “a vagina!” “an extraterrestrial !” This is one of 28 scenes in This Is Not A Theatre Company’s Readymade Cabaret. [...]

Making Space for Women’s Voices: Angela Astle
Denver theater director Angela Astle is on a mission to ensure that the voices of women in the arts are heard. Three years ago, when she read the study on gender bias in theater by Princeton graduate Emily Sands, she realized there was a need for supporting women playwrights. In a recent interview with Abby Ellis-Angell, she talked about her development as a director and her creation of the Athena Project, a Denver organization promoting the talents of primarily local artists. [...]

Activating Audience: Theater of Radical Inclusion
People talk a lot about how to reach new audiences. They talk about what makes an engaged audience, and how to make audiences feel like they’re a part of the work. But we take it as a given that audience members are participants in the art event, and maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe audiences don’t know how important their participation is. [...]

Ancient Technologies for Modern Times
Theatre is an ancient technology. A body. A stage. An audience. A communion. This communion can be with an audience of one or thousands. It is the quality of the communion, not the size of the crowd that matters. [...]

Diverse Audiences for Smartphone Plays
Smartphone plays are an emerging genre of theatre that take advantage of mobile technology to create site-specific audio-based theatrical experiences. I have just directed one for the Staten Island Ferry in New York City, called Ferry Play. In this case, you download an app to your smartphone (the app contains the audio clips, instructions, and the program), and ride the ferry. [...]

Stages of the Lower East Side and Our Audience
Recently I’ve been creating and performing a new devised solo work titled Because You Are Good at the Obie Award Winning Metropolitan Playhouse. This piece is part of the East Side Stories Festival, now in its 11th year. The concept is simple and yet a powerful tool in audience building: [...]

The Personal Connection
A few months ago, I attended a Baptist church service for the first time with a friend in Harlem. I was nervous in the way that’s common when you’re entering an unknown experience, particularly one in which you know you will be the outsider. I should have known better; from the moment I walked in, I was personally acknowledged by members of the congregation and invited to fully share in the experience. [...]

Considering & challenging “Excellence” in American Theater
In the last three weeks Culture Clash closed the sprawling CHAVEZ RAVINE under the fine direction of comrade Lisa Peterson at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City/LA and opened the more muted and self directed MUSE & MORROS at ArtsEmerson in downtown Boston. While CHAVEZ spanned five decades of LA history M&M required smaller brush strokes from the CC toolbox to etch in detail monologues of real people and true stories from the margins of America. [...]

Stop writing for zombies: Teaching students to create for contemporary audiences
A young Hispanic student hangs out shyly near the door of my classroom after the first day of class. As I exit, she whispers to me, “Professor, can I write a bilingual play with the Rio Grande as a character? I tried in my last workshop but my teacher said that it wasn’t real theater. I shouldn’t use Spanish because nobody would care about the play and that the river isn’t a real character. [...]