Talk: Can Technology Help The Performing Arts Community Emerge From Our Bubble?

I was having coffee today with an entrepreneur whose start-up revolves around the performing arts. Although her background is in law and government she is passionate about the arts and determined not only to fight our thirty year audience decline- but to grow the performing arts audience well beyond it’s current base – and who is that base? Well, therein lies a  large part of the problem. The same entrepreneur told me a story of being at a show last weekend when the person next to her turned and asked “Who do you know in the show?”, the assumption being the only  reason you would buy a ticket is to come support a friend. Why? Because WE ARE OUR AUDIENCE. We are no longer a draw to the lawyers, the babysitters, the waitresses the financiers or the educators of our communities.  We perform for ourselves. As Jason Gots said in his recent article about Peter Brook “Why We Need Theater Now More Than Ever”

the small percentage of New Yorkers who ever attend a play fall mainly into two camps: the once-a-year Broadway tourists and the friends of actors, playwrights, or directors.

Art museums have understood for a long while that they can no longer depend on the audience that visits their buildings – their audiences are everywhere and they need to find ways to excite, involve and engage their everywhere audience. The have not shied away from experimenting with new technologies and social media platforms as a way to speak more authentically to today’s wired art enthusiast, and the result is that museums are experiencing a rise in attendance, even as ticket sales to live performance continue on its decline.

What technologies can live performance utilize to expand our audience in our wired world?  How can we speak to today’s digital centric community while still being true to the live- performance experience?  What darlings must we slay and what aspects of the live-performance experience are sacred? Let’s brainstorm new ways to engage today’s digital community, a community that is eager to create and share, in the live-performing arts.


Categories: General, Session: Talk, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , |

About Kathryn Jones

I have been a professional actor for more than 20 years and have worked in online video since its beginnings in 2006 and live-streaming since its inception in 2007. I have a B.S. in Theater from Northwestern University, served as an apprentice at Actor's Theater of Louisville and performed at theaters throughout the US. I was an organizer for both the 2007 and 2008 PodCamp NYC (Unconferences focused on podcasting and social media) and In 2008 I served as Vice-President for Branded and Sponsored Entertainment for online video start-up For Your Imagination, creating video campaigns for brands like Panasonic and My extensive background in theater, online video, social media and internet marketing have inspired me to create a number of first of their kind live streamed video events, including Better Left Unsaid Tv, the first of its kind, interactive live stream play, "35" the first web drama to stream live over the internet, "Women Respond to Palin", "The Crabbo and Jabbo Show", a live interactive talk show about technology and art, and most recently the WiredArts Fest, the first live-streamed performing arts festival which presented over 20 theater, dance and music companies, live, to more than 60,000 viewers from all over the world. I am a new-media consultant, and have spoken about online video and social media and the performing arts at conferences and meet-ups throughout the United States.

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