Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Popularizing Theatre for a Younger Audience: Part II

Wow! I am SO very happy that my blog post incited more conversation about this topic. I am also humbled by the response.

This may be an oxymoron considering I am a “theatre person” but I can be quite shy and am not comfortable being in the spotlight at all. I always tell people: this is why I work behind the scenes! The ultimate example of this is the pre-show speech (or Opening Night speech). I hate doing it. I would rather poke my eyes out with a pencil then do that speech. I will avoid it at all costs. For those of you who have heard me give one of those speeches you know what I am talking about. I get SUPER nervous. I start speaking like I’m an idiot or something. This happens to me even when I have to speak up at a workshop or something. It’s ridiculous really. However, at our last show this past February, I made myself do the pre-show speech every night because practice makes perfect, right?! (Also because I wasn’t directing the show there wasn’t as much at stake and it took the pressure off slightly).

But this is what we (or should I just say “I”) must do to get out there and reach our audiences. Networking (social or the old-fashioned kind) is an absolute must. Theatre is about the people. And, it must be working because each year our audience attendance increases and we have created a strong and supportive audience base that only grows each year. [Warning: I am going to talk numbers for a second] Between our first and second year alone our audience attendance increased by 34% (and the same thing just happened between the first and second year of our additional winter show). Jo Ledingham, of the Vancouver Courier, (who has reviewed all our summer shows) remarked in her review last summer that Twenty-Something Theatre “is reaching out to—and getting—younger audiences with plays like The Shape of Things (in 2007) and now Eric Bogosian’s SubUrbia”. What is the saying? If you build it, they will come.

So while I find the social media aspect of it much easier (I can hide behind my computer) I will continue working at the in-person stuff. In the meantime, thanks to all of you for your comments, blog posts and overall support. It will make me a little less nauseous next time I prepare myself for one of those dreaded speeches.

~Sabrina Evertt,
Artistic Producer

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