Date of Award
It was once my dream to build the theatre of the future: to develop a new organization in the theatre community that would provide new ideas and imaginative learning. Reality and research, however, have pointed me in a new direction. From my perspective, we do not currently need another organization to add competition within our theatrical community. Though it is often appealing to start from scratch, what we need most now is to enhance our status and quality. Existing theatres must work toward a balance of competition and collaboration. Disparity is not the issue. Countless theatres in our nation and around the world produce amazing new material and provide incredible environments for their patrons to learn, to explore, and to discover. As technology rapidly creates new expectations of this field, our response must be to expound upon our mission statements and diversify our future options and current product. We need to provide the audiences we so cherish with the best entertainment, education, and escape available. Only when we pay closer attention to our audiences, will our under-funded sector receive more attention. As a young child (and no - 1 do not deny that I am still young and I do intend to remain thus for years to come) I didn't know I would pursue theatre. The first thing I aspired to be was a dentist, simply because of the magical treasure chest where I chose a treat after each check-up. Next, I was going to be a country-western singer following in the footsteps of LeAnn Rimes by singing "Blue" at my first-ever theatre audition for Wizard ofOz. Luckily, I was cast (as the tallest and most awkward munchkin) and my life in theatre began. I still did not know it, however, since I dreamed of being the Chick-Fil-A cow and working at Disney during my summers off. By the time I reached high school, theatre had been eliminated from my school so I continued in choir and performed annually in a community theatre program. Though my dreams were crushed when I learned my height limited me from becoming a princess at Disney (unless you count an evil stepsister) my sights had changed a bit once again. I was approaching graduation and knew without a doubt that I wanted to be a teacher like my dad (then a math teacher and swim coach), mom (a swimming instructor for over thirty years), and brother (a swim coach and instructor). My family, along with my experiences, inspired me. I went to Columbus State University to major in Theatre Education where I could pursue the arts and education. My desire to be a teacher has remained intact though I have discovered a new passion. Through my work with Columbus State University, the Springer Opera House, and with the Georgia Thespian Conference, I realize that I thrive working as an educator in a nontraditional, workshop- style setting. I have also found that the excitement I experience creating large spreadsheets to coordinate volunteers, making show banners, house managing, or writing grants is personally comparable to being on stage. In a roundabout manner, this brings me to this thesis. 1 want to bring more sustainable attention to live theatre. How do we make contact with our cherished audiences and entice them with our art? How is theatre compelling and relatable for an audience? Everyone is an artist within their own field: the mathematician with his calculator, the chef with her ingredients... what is significant about live theatre? What draws people in? As an intern with the Springer Opera House, I worked primarily in marketing, development, and the box office. I learned about various methods to entice and keep up with the audience. What I learned, though, is skewed toward arts management. As an audience member I am reeled into certain productions for different reasons, but as an intern I often cast the same bait. So what metaphorical bait actually attracts the audience? What fills the house of the theatre? Is it the banners or posters? Is it the radio spots? Is it a Facebook page? If we hope to continue to develop our audiences during a time of growing entertainment options, we should find out.
Slotnick, Melora, "Feet That Don't Touch the Floor: Perceptions in Marketing Theatre for Young Audiences" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 127.