Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Attracting the youth audience

A British blog explains an effort by the U.K. government to attract more teens and young adults to theaters.

If they're complaining about the paucity of government support for the arts in general (and theater in particular) -- and about the woeful state of arts education in the schools -- even over in Merrie Olde Englande, then whatever are we to do here in the red half of a blue state?

NEW, Sept. 30:
Charles McNulty of the L.A. Times — Bobo's writing instructor in February — suggests that a) if anyone deserves free theater tickets, it's "the AARP crowd" who have loyally attended theater all their lives, and that b) a better goal would be to strive for government art subsidies that seek to establish an audience of _all_ ages for theater. You can't _force_ a video-on-demand generation to take the time to go out and attend a hand-crafted, time-intensive art form like theater. But you _can_ attract more of them with lower ticket prices and more accessible content.
Maybe folks just need more life experience (disappointment in love, several relationships, marriage and kids and mortgages, a pissy boss or two) to be able to relate to the concerns of adult drama. (As the heavy-set high school student in *The History Boys* complains, "Most of what happens in poetry hasn't happened yet to us yet.")

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At September 24, 2008 2:43 PM , Blogger Bobo the Theater Ho said...

Note the bit about devising programs that allow young adults to pick their own shows (a kind of voucher system that lets 'em pick what they want to see and when, as opposed to top-down school-sponsored programs). But then the onus is on theaters to make hospitable spaces for kids who have, like, you know, piercings and stuff.
We all niche too much: Bobo has wandered into the Blvd on a Friday night (bald, middle-aged Bobo in preppie clothes and with glasses more rimless even than Sarah Palin's) and felt distinctly unwelcome.
Oh, those head-bangers. But let's face it, theaters send off off a middle-aged and elderly vibe: the whole gotta-get-dressed-up thing. I'd rather see dressed-down kids excited about live performance than no kids at all.

At September 26, 2008 2:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

See a great intro to this guy's work; it really lines up with this post, and gives way to the more recent post concerning Obama/Biden and the NEA


At September 26, 2008 2:56 PM , Blogger Bobo the Theater Ho said...

Bobo had seen a snippet of Ken Robinson on the overview of TED 2006. He's the kind of teacher we all wish we had, and wish for our children. Let 'em be creative, indeed. Let 'em _dance_.


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