Audience (R)Evolution History

Audience (R)Evolution is a multi-year program designed by TCG and funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to study, promote and support successful audience engagement and community development models across the country. Now in its third round of activity, the program has traditionally supported four phases of programmatic activities: research and assessment; convenings; grantmaking; and widespread dissemination.

A breakout session at the 2015 Audience (R)Evolution Convening in Kansas CityA breakout session at the 2015 Audience (R)Evolution Convening in Kansas City

Audience (R)Evolution builds upon 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 Fall Forum on Governance and National Conference.

The first round of the program concentrated on four primary goals: to define success in audience engagement and identify practices that work (see 2013 Case Studies and Literature Review by AMS Planning & Research); to share with theatres how to adapt these strategies to their own organizations and communities (see 2013 Convening Video Archive); to offer theatres the funds to test and implement the models (see (Re)Model and (Re)Imagine grants); and to understand the future direction and trends in audience engagement for the field.

The second round of the Audience (R)Evolution program built on the success and learnings of the pilot round, focusing on helping theatres sustain and grow attendance and demand and increasing engagement through revolutionary strategies and models of audience building. Round 2's cohort-building programs helped theatres to share knowledge while partnering on new strategies for audience engagement and community development via two distinct initiatives—Travel Grants and Cohort Grants. This round also supported the 2015 Audience (R)Evolution Convening in Kansas City, MO (see the Video Archive) as well as "mini" learning convenings in Minneapolis and Milwaukee in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Audience (R)Evolution Round 3 will have the specific focus of audience engagement and community development as they relate to theatre for youth and multigenerational audiences. This round seeks to inspire and challenge theatres to develop meaningful partnerships and artistic work in an effort to better understand and fuel the apparent growth trend in attendance for these demographics. Like the other rounds, Round 3 is supporting grantmaking initiatives through Cohort and Exploration grants; convenings at the TCG Fall Forum, National Conference, and a TBA future "mini" convening; and is releasing major audience engagement resources to the field, like the Case Study Follow-Up Report and the upcoming equitable measurement workbook.

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