BWW Blog: NCTC Theatre Admin Intensive
Earlier this month, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the North Carolina Theatre Conference Theatre Administration Intensive. This was a small gathering of dedicated arts administration students and professionals at Triad Stage in Greensboro, NC. Executive Director Angie Hays conducted the workshop, and we discussed the theatre landscape of NC, marketing and audience development, development, and advocacy. This was a wonderful supplement following the ARTS Day conference I had attended a couple of weeks beforehand. In this post, I will be discussing what stuck out to me as some of the most important topics in arts administration today.
In an age of social media and content overload at our fingertips, effective marketing and audience development is imperative to an arts organization's success. The quintessential saying "every night is opening night" is not just applicable to actors. This saying is applicable to arts marketers because each audience is a new audience- these could be people who have never seen live theatre before! In fact, about 50% of the audience is new to the theatre. Out of these 50%, about half of them never return. You want your marketing to target not only the age-old theatregoers, but the newcomers as well. You are starting with a clean slate every evening and it's important to keep the marketing fresh, social media content frequent, and messaging dynamic. Marketing students and professionals always remember the 4 P's: Price, Product, Placement, and Promotion. While these are still applicable today, it is important for arts organizations to add three more terms to this list: Broaden, Deepen, and Diversify. You want to be able to attract more of the same types of people, increase involvement of your guests, and attract new types of participants.
We also looked at some case studies on branding and marketing. Recently, I have become increasingly interested in company or show branding and content creation. We looked at SpotCo's brilliant advertising of Chicago and Avenue Q , two great successes on and off-Broadway. There was key messaging, big ideas, and a catch phrase. These were all implemented into out-of-the-box advertising, like the fuzzy
orange taxis that drove around NYC for Avenue Q . We then were assigned to create our own messaging for a hypothetical production of 1776. This proved to be quite the challenge, due to it surrounding the same subject matter of Hamilton , yet not as revolutionary in casting or music and dance styles. We were encouraged to try to attract millennial audiences in our messaging. Many of the groups took a dry, sarcastic approach to the messaging, which I found quite clever! However, it is important to keep all different types of audiences in mind when developing the marketing; remember to broaden, deepen, and diversify!
We then ended the intensive with a discussion about advocacy. Did you know that the first local arts council in the nation was established in Winston-Salem, NC in 1949? Additionally, the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte, NC is in the top 10 in nation for per-capita giving in the arts. North Carolina has such a rich history of arts and it is important to preserve them!
Overall, I found this intensive to be a very enriching experience. It is so important to offer workshops and conferences to students and professionals alike in order to develop skills, build a stronger community, and encourage them in achieving their goals. There were so many people there with bright minds and big hearts, and I know that the future of arts administration is in good hands. I am so grateful for this opportunity and look forward to applying the many skills I learned to projects in the future!
Pictured: myself and my good friend Sam!