Thursday, March 08, 2007

Creating the Audience

Parabasis has an interesting post today on the concept of creating an audience. Allow me to quote from it:

One of the responsibilities of being an artist is creating the audience around your work. I used to be very resistant to this idea. I thought it was the producer's job. I don't anymore.

I mean, yes, it is also the producer's job in that they want to fill the houses and sell tickets. But creating an audience around our work is also our job, and we need to approach it differently. Anyone can put on a play. Fewer can put on a good play. Fewer than that can put on a good play that has also found an audience.

Some people don't really care how many people see their work. That's fine. I'm not one of them. I want as many people as possible to see my work, and to find the people who will support that work and get something out of it and consistently build that community.

Read more: Creating the Audience.

So, what do you think of his idea regarding artists creating an audience? And how do (or should) designers and other tech-lackies contribute to this process?


Greg said...
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Greg said...

It's interesting that you mention this, because it came up when Richard Pilbrow (a world-renowned lighting designer) came to speak the other day. He mentioned that like many at the time, he felt that the theater building itself should be nearly stark with uniform seating for equal viewing, and that the building's only character should be what is created by the designers onstage.

He realized after mounting the same production in two separate theaters: one in a "modern", somewhat boring space and one in a theater where the audience wraps around and feels a sense of each other's presence--that the production where audience members felt a sense of community was far more successful. Obviously this strays from the topic a bit, but as a lighting designer, he felt compelled to design actual buildings that would "build his audiences", so to speak. Many designers, like him, also become producers--generally not to showcase their own work but to showcase a fantastic piece as a whole.

Obviously, it will always be difficult for a show to ignite without outstanding producers, but once that initial audience walks through the door, you will have your chance to shine, and from there, just bring on the press. I'm not exactly sure how much more can be done from a designer / technical standpoint short of discussing the production in seminars or articles for theater magazines.

Good topic though, definitely!