Audience (R)Evolution is a multiyear program designed by TCG and funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to study, promote, and support successful audience-engagement and community-development strategies for the U.S. not-for-profit theatre field. At its core, the program supports risk-taking, reflection, experimentation, and collective action toward implementing new strategies that will help theatres cultivate and maintain attendance and demand.

As effective audience engagement and community development efforts increase around the country, many theatres have expressed the need to implement strategies that more closely align with their communities. To circumvent working in isolation, and to encourage knowledge sharing across the field, TCG believes that the way forward is through collaboration with audiences, community partners, and peer theatre organizations.

To reflect and support art-making and community-building, Round 3 of Audience (R)Evolution will have the specific focus of audience engagement and community development as they relate to theatre for young and multigenerational audiences. This round seeks to inspire and challenge theatres to develop meaningful partnerships and artistic work in an effort to better understand and fuel the apparent growth trend in attendance at events for young and multigenerational audiences. This round also encourages applicants to consider the benefits of cross-cultural, cross-sector and/or cross-discipline ways of making theatre.

Round 3, Grantmaking will provide support in two categories:

  • Exploration Grants of up to $5,000 will allow teams of TCG Member Theatre staff and/or community stakeholders to observe effective audience engagement and/or community development programs or consult with professionals who can advise on strategies to deepen relationships with communities served by the theatre. Grant activities will focus on peer-to-peer and field-wide learning as they relate to theatre for young and multigenerational audiences. The program also encourages applicants to consider the benefits of cross-cultural, cross-sector and/or cross-discipline ways of theatre-making. These grants are intended to serve as a catalyst for deeper field-wide relationships between Applicant Theatres and those being observed.

  • Cohort Grants of $75,000 or $150,000 will allow teams of three or more organizations, one of which must be a TCG Member Theatre (that must serve as the Project Leader) to implement and refine ways to increase audience engagement and community development in theatre for young and multigenerational audiences. Cohorts should share similar needs and interests to implement audience engagement and community development strategies. Cohorts can be based on budget size, region, aesthetic, or other common interests and collaborating partners may be cross-cultural, cross-sector and/or cross-discipline. These grants are intended to have a seismic impact on the participating theatres, as well as the field at large, by building audiences for theatre through projects that lead to new, more frequent, and increased audience and community participation. (Guidelines and Applications to be released in Winter 2019)

Round 3, Convenings will continue to be an opportunity to share the assessment and research from Rounds 1 and 2, plus offer broader peer learnings and opportunities for an exchange of ideas and lessons learned via the 2018 Fall Forum, a TBA future "mini" learning convening, and Audience (R)Evolution programming during the annual 2019 TCG National Conference in Miami, FL. These convenings will help develop quality ideas and new opportunities in theatre for young and multigenerational audiences throughout the nation as well as those working with a cross-cultural, cross-sector and/or cross-discipline focus.

Round 3, Dissemination will enable theatres to have fast access to the program's findings to implement effective programs through various resources: an upcoming equitable measurement workbook and case study updates in TCG's Audience (R)Evolution Research & Resources Hub; articles and podcasts to be released in American Theatre magazine; and posts to our social media accounts.

Audience (R)Evolution builds upon TCG's longstanding commitment to audience engagement with programs such as Free Night of Theater and New Generations: Future Audiences, as well as continued conversations and programming at TCG's annual Fall Forum on Governance and National Conference.

The first round of the program concentrated on four primary goals: to define success in audience engagement and identify practices that work (see Case Studies and Literature Review); to share with theatres how to adapt these strategies to their own organizations and communities (see 2013 Convening Video Archive); to offer theatres the funds to test and implement the models (see (Re)Model and (Re)Imagine grants and Grantee Blog Posts); and to understand the future direction and trends in audience engagement for the field.

The second round of the Audience (R)Evolution program built on the success and learnings of the pilot round, focusing on helping theatres sustain and grow attendance and demand and increasing engagement through revolutionary strategies and models of audience building. Round 2's cohort-building programs helped theatres to share knowledge while partnering on new strategies for audience engagement and community development via two distinct initiatives—Travel Grants and Cohort Grants. This round also supported the 2015 Audience (R)Evolution Convening in Kansas City, MO (see the related Convening Blog Salon and Video Archive) as well as "mini" learning convenings in Minneapolis and Milwaukee in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

For questions regarding Audience (R)Evolution, please email