With renewed support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, TCG has launched the second round of the audience engagement and community development program, Audience (R)Evolution. Building off the learnings from round one, the second round will include four components to achieve these goals: research and assessment, a convening, grant-making and widespread dissemination of audience engagement models that work.

The second round of Audience (R)Evolution will take place over three years through the following four phases:

Phase I: Research – In 2013, TCG engaged AMS Planning & Research, a national arts management consulting firm, to provide research expertise for the Audience (R)Evolution program. Through this assignment, AMS’s goals were to: develop a shared vocabulary around audience engagement; explore audience-engagement models, and understand how and why the best work; and share these successful models with the field.

Based on TCG’s work with AMS Planning & Research findings, the Audience (R)Evolution program has launched a Research & Resources Hub with eight Case Studies on effective audience-engagement and community-development strategies. These Case Studies feature in-depth analyses of models from Arkansas Repertory Theatre, HERE Arts Center, Long Wharf Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Theater Offensive, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. An executive summary of the Case Studies and research findings provides the field with deeper insight on the project. In addition, the Research & Resources Hub includes a comprehensive literature review, recent field-wide research, essays, articles from Audience (R)Evolution grantees, and archived videos from past Audience (R)Evolution Convenings to facilitate the program’s commitment to widespread dissemination of innovative and impactful audience-engagement and community-development practice.

Phase II: Convening – The 2015 Audience (R)Evolution Convening assembled over 200 theatre, arts, and cultural professionals in Kansas City from March 25-27 to engage with research, dynamic speakers, and knowledge sharing around successful audience engagement and community development strategies. This Convening built on the learnings from TCG's 2013 Audience (R)Evolution Learning Convening in Philadelphia. Audience (R)Evolution was also featured at the 2015 TCG National Conference: Game Change, and will be a focus of the 2016 TCG National Conference: Theatre Nation in DC.

Phase III: GrantsIn Round 1, grant recipients were awarded up to $65,000 to (Re)Model or (Re)Imagine successful audience-engagement and/or community-development strategies.  In Round 2, the program will focus on cohort-building by helping theatres to share knowledge while partnering on new strategies for audience engagement and community development via two distinct initiatives:

Cohort Grants in the amount of $25,000, $75,000, and $200,000 will allow teams of three or more not-for-profit organizations to design and implement audience engagement and community-development strategies together.

Travel Grants of up to $7,500 will allow teams of TCG Member Theatre staff and/or community stakeholders to observe effective audience-engagement programs and to consult with professionals who can advise on strategies to deepen relationships with communities served by their theatre.

At the core, the grant program supports risk-taking, reflection, experimentation, and collective action toward implementing new strategies that will help theatres sustain and grow attendance and demand.

Phase IV: Dissemination – Theatres at large will have fast access to the project’s findings to implement effective programs through TCG’s Audience (R)Evolution Research & Resources Hub, social media outlets, and American Theatre magazine.

Audience (R)Evolution builds upon Audience (R)Evolution round one, TCG's longstanding commitment to audience engagement with programs such as Free Night of Theater and New Generations: Future Audiences, as well as continued conversations and programming at TCG's annual National Conference.

Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, the environment, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.

For questions regarding Audience (R)Evolution, please email audiencerev@tcg.org. Read the second round Audience (R)Evolution press release here.