Audience Development

Artists give meaning to the work of art, but the audience gives it life - or vice versa?

No matter for whom (we think) we create - for ourselves or for them, without an audience we can't prove the extrinsic value of our practices, nor can we earn our bread and butter.

How can we make sure our rapidly changing society doesn't abandon the habit of participating in the arts?  What are the ways to develop a mutually enriching and continuous connection between artists and audiences? Is it about authentic relationships or marketing strategies - or both?

Agnes Bakk
Kirsty Sedgman‘s background is in performance studies, which, according to her, tends to make big assumptions about audiences: who they are, why they attend, and what they get out of theatre. After encountering the rich field of audience studies, she became committed to research that talks to rather than talks about audiences.
Nan van Houte
From 26 to 29 January, IETM organised a Caravan meeting in Tehran, coincided and partly hosted by the Fajr International Festival. Since we preferred to meet with a broader slice of the performing arts scene, especially the ‘independent’ artists and those forced to work ‘underground’, our daytime programme was compiled by several partners in Tehran.
fbittencourt
Requiring students to attend the theatre can backfire. So how do you attract and inspire theatregoers of tomorrow?
image from International Arts Manager
Elena DI FEDERICO
The last time you watched a show at the theatre, how much did you pay? Was it worth the price? Pay what you decide (PWYD) theatre turns the question on its head, empowering audiences to choose how much money they want to spend. However..
Marta
Are there significant cross-country differences in the frequency of visits to cultural sites? Are the socio-demographic and economic correlates of visits to cultural sites similar across EU countries? Is income more important than education in determining frequency of visits to cultural sites? We provide answers to these questions that preoccupy policy makers, managers of cultural organizations, and students of cultural inequality.
Elenq
I’m a young. It’s what my friends and I call ourselves—the youngs. And indeed, in my country of residence, Israel, I’ll be a young for a long while yet. This past month, while visiting my family in Seattle, WA, I went to the theatre a few times. I was shocked to realize that at twenty-six, I no longer qualified for a “young” audience ticket. Even further, I was shocked to discover that the price differential was approximately forty-fifty dollars. Finally, I was shocked to sit through performances with half-empty houses. As a young, then, I’m prone to getting a little hot and bothered about...
Elena DI FEDERICO
Plenty Productions shares its experience of developing new audiences for its show Snakes and Ladders through outreach and targeted marketing activity. An interesting read to learn how to engage Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) audiences, involving communities in touring productions, and developing audiences for touring productions.
Elenq
"This article presents findings from an in-depth project carried out with five audience-participants at cultural events during Leeds’ annual LoveArts festival. The researchers asked participants to explain what the arts meant to them. They discovered that people found cultural value difficult to articulate. They concluded that instead of striving to rationalise the value of the arts, we should try to feel and experience it."
Élargir la participation à la vie culturelle
gotomka
Audience engagement is a contextual and often contingent process. It is defined by wider politicl disocurses and agendas and Élargir la participation à la vie culturelle makes this very clear. Publication sets audience engagement practices in relation to various cultural policies from the post-was democratisation to recent culture-led development policies. Apart from being a good overview of these relations from the French perspective, it shines even more in the way it presents case studies - critical, detailed analysis of each of the 20 projects makes it clear how challenging, limiting and...
gotomka
Making sense of audience engagement walks a very fine line between usability and depth and manages to be both critical and practical. It is a valuable insight into a range of US based audience engagement practices. Unlike many audience development publications, this one is based on a clear definition of what it means to be engaged in an artistic experience and offers valuable and usable models for thinking and working on creating memorable artistic experiences.

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