What's Up with Ann Markusen

The Audience is Changing, so what are you going to do about it?


In a soon-to-be published paper presented for the Coloquio Internacional in Lisboa, Portugal, Ann and her co-author Alan Brown detail the shifting landscape of engagement as the public moves from "audience" to "participant." 

Faced with excess capacity, changing demographics, and new technology, traditional theatre owners, live performance companies, performing artists and musicians are struggling to find and maintain audiences. Conventional ways of doing so—marketing, outreach, incentives— are failing.

Why? Narrow programming is one culprit, as is the fact that contemporary audiences care as much about the setting as the performance itself. Finally, participants are seeking greater engagement in the act of artistic creation, including co-curation, which is a very challenging idea for some arts organizations. How should they respond?