@AlbertaTheatre – Social Media and the Artist/Patron Relationship

Late last year, Wil Knoll and I were asked if we’d like to share some thoughts on the evolution of artist-audience interaction for All Stages, a magazine published three times a year by Theatre Alberta. We both agreed, and early this year set about writing it. We ended up having a conversation through email, which Wil turned into the final piece (I think he did a great job of editing it).

No texting during the show!

We discussed why and how we started using social media in connection with the arts, looked at the current situation in our respective cities, and touched on where things are going.

Here’s an excerpt from Wil:

Wil: The resistance seems to be fading away. In Calgary the major theatre companies and all of the top independent theatre companies have joined up on Twitter. How well they use that opportunity varies. Alberta Theatre Projects won a blogging award last year for their efforts to invite people into the process and behind the scenes. It’s hard to find a theatre company that is not taking a stab at social media in Calgary today.

And here’s my closing statement:

Mack: Gone are the days of the passive theatregoer, who takes in a show, perhaps reads a review in the local paper, and moves on. The tools we have now allow for the theatre patron to be engaged at all stages of a production. Gathering feedback, promoting upcoming events, reaching a demographic not normally tuned into theatre, all of this is possible with the tools. Today arts organizations still have the opportunity to lead the way with using these tools—they are relatively new and continually evolving. In the not too distant future however, patrons will demand it, and organizations will have no choice to but to engage.

That more or less sums up how I feel about the topic! What do you think?

You can read the article on page 4 of the Spring 2011 issue (PDF).

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