Putting it Together: Audience Development, Diversity and Nonprofit Regional Theaters
By: Mary Angelo
Published: 2017
Uploaded: 03/08/2017
Uploaded by: Arts Administration Program
Pockets: Arts Administration Program Theses (Permission Required), Arts Administration: General, Theater
Tags: Audience Development, Audience engagement, diversity, nonprofit theater, regional theater

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Description/Abstract: According to recent studies attendance at “traditional” arts events has dropped significantly in recent years. During this same period, the United States has undergone a major demographic shift with a large increase in historically underrepresented minority populations over the last 30 years. To address these trends, many arts organizations, including nonprofit theaters have created audience development initiatives to attract and engage a broader, more diverse patron base for their institution. This study explores the current state of audience development programs aimed at increasing audience diversity within nonprofit regional theaters. To lay the groundwork, the study begins with a brief history of regional theaters in the United States, as well as an overview of dominant models of audience development. Using interviews with administrators currently working in the field, the study investigates major trends in audience development initiatives at nonprofit regional theatres such as a shift in perception within the institutions, development of structures and straggles, and communities served through these programs. The study concludes with a reflection on best practices for audience development programs.