INTRODUCTION TO THEATRE AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT
In the 2021/2022 academic year we are opening a series of seminars for university students: Introduction to Audience Development. The course is co-organised by the Department of Drama in Education. Students of selected university study programmes can enrol at the course for credits. The two-semester course covers an introduction to the evolving field of theatre audience development, its basic principles, and actual audience development projects in the Czech Republic and abroad. We will deal with the concept of audience development as a transition of the audience from a passive consumer role to an active partner of the creators. You will gain the basic skills of a theatre educator which are crucial in helping theatres define their needs and develop a strategy for audience development or the whole audience development department. You also learn to analyse a theatre production from the perspective of a theatre educator.
The course consists of seminars and discussions, as well as trips to drama performances and special events at theatres. The outcome of the course is creating your own strategy for audience development for a chosen production or theatre.
THE BASICS OF AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT COURSE
Our course is designed for professional artists and theatre staff interested in running audience development programmes at their theatre.
The 2021/2022 course is funded by the EEA and Norway Grants and is therefore free of charge. Participants need to cover travel, accommodation, and meal costs during the four sessions. The capacity of this course is limited and applicants will be accepted based on a motivation letter submitted along with an application.
This year-long programme comprises four inspiring weekend sessions that introduce the practice as well as the theory of audience development in theatres. Sessions take place at representative cultural institutions to allow first-hand experience of working with local in-house theatre educators. The host institutions are National Theatre, National Moravian-Selasian Theatre, Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts, and Drak Theatre. The core sessions which focus on the following topics are complemented by additional themed online events.
WATCH THE VIDEO FROM THE COURSE (with english subtitles)
This module is a practical introduction of the current state of arts education in the Czech Republic, including its advantages and challenges. You will work on your creative and didactic skills using a set of activities and exercises which you can later use in working with the audience. You learn concrete examples of complementary audience development programmes related to drama, ballet, opera and musical theatre.
Theatre audience development
Our approach to audience development is based on leaving the passive consumer role of the audience behind and turn for being an active partner.
We will focus on the benefits and pitfalls of particular formats of audience development and their practical use. As part of the programme, you will attend several unconventional events concerning audience development at the National Theatre.
Communication with the audience
This module introduces changes in the perception of drama language from the perspective of developmental psychology. We will discuss audience feedback and the role of communication between creators and the public. You will learn about different ways to communicate with schools and why maintaining collaboration with teachers is important. In addition, we will go through best practices in community audience development in the Czech Republic and abroad for your inspiration.
The work of a theatre educator
This part of the course focuses on the fundamental format, i.e. a production-themed workshop. You will learn to identify a topic appropriate for a given target audience group, structure the workshop, and write an annotation Also, summarizing all the parts of the theatre educator profession and practical examples of his work will give you a good starting point for your beginning with the audience development.
PILOT PROGRAMMES IN THEATRE AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT
The best way to learn is by doing! That is why we are offering pilot programmes, as a "first taste" of audience development to theatres of any type and size. The programme is created collaboratively, adapted to the specific needs of a particular theatre and its audience.
Firstly, we discuss your expectations about audience development, the possible scope available in your organisation, potential target groups, and the views and requirements of the management, dramaturgy, marketing, and sales teams. Based on surveys, we also analyze your audience´s opinions, wishes and expectations concerning the activity of the theatre. The all-embracing analysis is done by a three-person team composed of experienced theatre educators and an academic guarantor.
Subsequently, a suitable programme draft is designed and presented to the management.
One of the proposed audience development events is then performed at your theatre to demonstrate to the whole theatre team how a theatre educator can fit within the organisation and its operations. The duration of the pilot programme is determined individually but it should last at least two months and no more than four months.
Then, it is up to you to choose the next course of action.
If interested, the Association can also help recruit an in-house theatre educator and support his or her smooth integration into the organism of the theatre.
However, once the pilot programme is completed, you´re not obligated to do anything, the only one you are obliged to, is your audience, of course.
THEATRE EDUCATOR MEETINGS - networking/ training/ inspiration
Members of the Association can benefit from regular meetings, each supplemented by an inspiring workshop, training, and a theatre performance night. Each meeting is hosted by one of our partner institutions (the National Theatre, National Moravian-Silesian Theatre, Drak Theatre, JAMU etc.). The main purpose of the meetings is to get familiar with a way the other theatre educators work and learn about the possibilities and specifics of their theatre. Programmes include training, workshops and demonstrations, presentations of the host organisations, discussions about audience development, and experience sharing, as well as informal activities.
The Association covers the programme, educators, tickets, renting of premises, refreshments, etc. Topics for the workshops and training are chosen based on demand among members collected by internal surveys. Our network of experts across fields ensures the high quality of our training and valuable experience for our members.