What is the modern equivalent of the famous visiting-star photo wall in the theatrical local drinking establishment?
It has struck me that audience development dialogue rarely mentions the personalities who visit their venues and a continuing interest of what becomes of them. Is this not the gift of social connection inherent to social media, maintaining connections. Do you think of making social connections to follow visiting companies and the company members? Actors now have a community connection opportunity with each other after companies part ways like never before.
I envy the current touring community with in the entertainment industry for this digital connectivity. Sadly I'm not sure how much they are able to make use of it to it full potential. The reality is that inside the performance world of the industry there is not a strong IT savvy community. Generally if you are successful your IT skills are weak. Unless you have a technology leaning computers are a bit of a mystery. Smart phones have opened a new world of communication. That a large proportion are excellent at, communication and reflected self expression. A world of potential. The fragmented duel personality segmentation of private and public, personal and professional, the digital world demand we negotiate is familiar ground and executed with exquisite ease by the best actors working in theatre.
This is especially true of actors who work in independant theatre. By Independant I mean organisations using the Independant Theatre Council contract or should be if they of a certain size. It includes theatre-in-education companies, rural, small and mid scale touring.
What is this opportunity for art centres with performance spaces?
What promotional opportunities does this present to the theatre companies?
What opportunities does this provide actors?
Celebrity is so remote. It is distant admiration with little possibility of reciprocation. The companies booked to fill a schedule bring with them talented performers, each has a story each is on a journey perusing their chosen career as a working actor. They have a personal and professional outlook. It may not be well defined online so be respectful. Social media is about people not marketing strategy. You need a strategy to layout objectives and establish achievements but for social media content you need stories and the development of stories to maintain engagement.
While I toured, especially to art centres and village halls the organiser often welcomed back actors who had visited on previous occasions with other theatre companies. They are your celebrities. It's not only about being on 'telly', actors emerging on broadcast media have begun a career either in theatre or low budget films. A theatre company returning to a venue with a new production may contain established cast members but many actors will move on and explore artistic avenues.
Whether you develop a rappor with returning actors or follow others as they climb their career ladders it's an opportunity that can sustain a social media community, the (your) audience. You are their connection to the stars.
Indirectly you will benefit working actors you connect with connecting them to the people they perform for. It's a link I think is lacking at present from my observation with audience development professionals.
They are your venues' flesh and blood attraction.