You're Invited: How Theatre Organizations Balance Artistic Excellence, Inclusivity, and Institutional Priorities when Producing Co-Creative Programming
By: Hannah Fenlon
Published: 05/01/2015
Uploaded: 05/12/2015
Uploaded by: Arts Administration Program
Pockets: Arts Administration, Arts Administration Program Theses, Community Arts, Other, Theater, ARAD Theses: Fall 2013 to Spring 2015
Tags: Co-creation; Participation; Co

Description/Abstract: In recent years, public attitude and behavior with regard to the making and viewing of art has begun to shift. Arts participation is down, though the desire to create art (and access to the means to do so) is increasing. The advent of these changes, in combination with a desire on the part of arts professionals to enhance communities and further embed the arts in civic life, has sparked a growing interest in developing engagement strategies that meet the needs of audiences and communities. Co-creation, defined in this research as either participatory or collaborative, engages audiences and communities beyond their seats, allowing them to get involved in the process of making and presenting art. In a performing arts landscape that typically values traditional methods of delivery and standard definitions of “artist” and “audience”, introducing new strategies may produce tension amongst artistic leadership, communities and constituencies. This research endeavors to create a picture of co-creative processes in the theatre—their history and current definitions—focusing on participatory and collaborative programming. It will explore ways in which theatre organizations navigate the balance between aesthetic excellence and inclusivity, the relationship between artists and audience, and the conversation between theatres and their critics and funders. As participatory and collaborative programming emerges in response to audience and community need, how do organizations create high quality, equitable and sustainable models?