Revisit audience: how to create a sustainable core following

Kerry Napuk, 29 July 2012

As nobody showed up to discuss the audience, it confirmed my suspicion that folks in theatre avoid discussing the audience and do not really know how to deal with it. Are audiences really the great unknown? Are they to be feared? Or are we just embarrassed to hear what they really think of us?

Let's face the reality: audiences are customers. They buy our product which is a performance. They will return because they like the product as writer, actor, director, designer whatever. So, how do you treat your customers? Do you have a customer care policy and programme?

How can you interact with customers as audience to create a core following which will sustain your company?

Here are a few possibilities coming from someone who consumes your product, that is , a member of the audi:

1. Create an audi panel who are invited to watch performances free and feedback against specific criteria.

2. Dispense with the tired old QA&A session after the performance and radically engage with audience members around ideas and meaning, generating passion and excitement!

3. Make the audience part of the play, that is, give them a role on the stage or make part of the stage in the audience.

4. Ask the audi how they would improve or change the play? Make them the critic!

5. After the performance, invite the audi to join the cast and creators for an informal chat over a glass of wine.

6. Allow people to watch the play and pay for what they felt the performance was worth (ART - audience rated theatre.)

Kerry Napuk, convenor


audience, new ways to engage, Audience