Broadway audiences are used to perfectly abled bodies, as are reviewers, which might be why some reviewers are having a hard time with Madison Ferris’ Laura. But, despite a few Off-Broadway and other companies having better representation, on Broadway, actors with visible disabilities “remain a rare occurrence, and as a result Broadway remains unrepresentative of the full range of humanity.”
“If you think you can wait a few months to avoid the long lines and crowded galleries at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, you’ll need a new strategy.” Peggy McGlone reports.
The Director of Engagement at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester writes about how she and her colleagues developed their two-years-and-running project, You,The Audience.
“Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy have had a dream start to their tenure as Joint Artistic Directors of the Adelaide Festival with their debut programme taking more than $4.08 million at the box office, representing a 44 percent increase on last year. The 2017 takings were the highest in the Festival’s 57-year history, matching a plethora of rave reviews and high levels of audience excitement.”
A performance of Borodin’s Prince Igor at Bulgaria’s national opera house was interrupted, and then cancelled after the building was evacuated, due to an overpowering smell.
Having gone to all the trouble of putting an orchestra (largely made up of New York-based music students and freelancers) in a club, and assembling a trendy-looking audience (largely, it seemed, people with some connection or other to the various presenting organizations), he didn’t actually want a rave atmosphere. The conductor kept berating the audience for talking, took them to task for their cellphones (“we’re here to dance, not to take pictures”) and, at one point, actually stopped the music to try to force people to be quiet.
Perhaps. Check out Belfast’s Young at Art theatre festival to see what it could be like instead of what theatre often is like. “Parenthood can leave even the most ardent theatregoers feeling unwelcome as theatres seldom court families, often seeing prams and young children as a burden not a blessing. Too often theatres present themselves as grownup spaces, cut off from everyday life.”
Creepy/cool: “Right now, Dolby has about 40 trained subjects it rotates in and out of its labs (some from within the company, and some outside participants), who are all willing to inform the algorithms: What scene in a movie makes their hearts beat faster? What makes them sweat, or causes their cheeks to flush? What makes them fall asleep?”
Today, the nascent scientific field of neuroaesthetics explores how artistic and aesthetic experiences register in the brain. And there have been other collaborations between museums and neuroscientists, like the 2014 exhibition at London’s National Gallery “Making Colour,” which included an experiment on color perception with guidance from Anya Hurlbert, a visual neuroscientist.
“It seems to me to misunderstand the fundamental appeal of television; that it is bedtime stories for grownups. You plonk yourself in front of the screen to be entertained. That doesn’t mean being fed pap; contemporary television is increasingly a feast for the upper reaches of the mind as well as the primitive bits that would be just as happy banging a stick on a stone. But it does mean being presented with a finished product: a complete, satisfying entity with a beginning, a middle and an end (however many seasons it takes to get there). We want to cede control to someone else.”
“This doesn’t mean that prices shouldn’t be presented simply. Your pricing should be ‘swan-like’: serene on the surface, with all the paddling going on underneath to maximise the opportunity for income.” Consultant Tim Baker discusses applying the concept of “marginal gains” to ticket pricing.
“Should I say “we” instead of “I”? Am I pretending the museum is actually speaking? What would it say? How would it say it? Can I make jokes? How funny is my museum? Is Wellcome Collection sarcastic, staid, sombre, sassy? Some of the answers to these questions are found in the history, themes and approach of the institution (also expressed through branding). But social media has a range of functions and a certain tone; it offers museums a chance to sidestep outdated perceptions or subvert expectations.”
“Across the country, museums associated with universities are organizing social events: The Princeton University Art Museum in New Jersey holds evenings when graduate students meet curators, for example. Beyond that, museums directors are seeking ways students can play a role in curating and experiencing artworks.”
How are museums supposed to attract younger, more diverse audiences when they charge $20 or more to get in? (Except for, maybe, three hours one day a week.) Daniel Grant suggests a source of funding (granted, a controversial source) to cut or eliminate those admission fees.
“The animals won’t need a ticket, but there will be human spectators who do. The cast will definitely be performing for the animals, and the audience are there to watch that encounter.” Lyn Gardner reports.
The Hypocrites, one of the city’s many respected storefront companies, ran out of cash in December and cancelled the remainder of this season. “Beginning this month, Hypocrites will pitch two plays to potential ticket buyers and ask them to commit. If interest hits critical financial mass, the shows will go on. If not, they won’t.” Lisa Bertagnoli explains.
“Some museum leaders view these offerings as a way to attract younger audiences who are steeped in multisensory experiences and to deepen the engagement with the art objects for everyone. But others see them as distractions.”
“Groupmuse is something of an Airbnb for classical music concerts, so unsurprisingly, millennials are latching onto this relatively new startup in increasingly large numbers. The company pairs up music lovers with a space to offer—a living room, a backyard or something larger if it’s available—with classical musicians looking to make a few dollars and potentially build their fanbase with people in the area.”
“Today the hottest ticket in San Francisco classical music is around the corner at SoundBox, a new performance venue, launched by the Symphony in 2014, that has turned a decidedly unglamorous, acoustically dreadful building into a place designed to attract an entirely new audience to the symphony. At SoundBox, the 500-person audience sits on low-slung ottomans and benches—or simply stands. You can get fancy cocktails and snacks like bacon caramel popcorn at the bar, any time. Looking for a printed program? Nope—just look at the SoundBox site on your phone.”
“Something theatres have always done well is bring people together. Traditionally people gather to see a show and maybe stick around after for a talkback, but increasingly, and especially since the 2016 presidential election and the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, theatres and theatre people have been looking for ways to bring those people together to make a statement, start a discussion, or support a cause independent of a particular theatrical production, with some initiatives being more openly political than others.”
One museum covered artwork donated by immigrants; another rehung its collection to emphasize art by those from the countries affected by the travel ban. Museums whose remit is history sent people into the street to collect artifacts from the Women’s March; other museums say it’s up to the artists, not the museums, to respond. Not every museum is focused on action around politics, but every museum is confronting the times in some way.
The head of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television actually returned from a successful U.S. career for the job, so her perspective might seem somewhat U.S.-ian: “The way the Canadian industry is set up right now, we fund people to make work, but we don’t fund people to market work. If people don’t know a film is out there, and you’re not marketing it to them as American companies do, then you won’t get people to see it. It’s not that complicated, actually.”
Well, that’s one approach to dealing with ticket touts and making it slightly more fair, if it works. The touts have no one to blame but themselves: “Last month, resale site Viagogo was accused of ‘moral repugnance’ for selling tickets to an Ed Sheeran Teenage Cancer Trust gig for up to £5,000.”
“This new way of watching television will allow viewers the ability to control the fate of their favorite characters and make decisions on key plot points.”
Lucy Mangan: “It seems to me to misunderstand the fundamental appeal of television; that it is bedtime stories for grownups.”
“We are seeing that American series have become more niche and thus less attractive for our big free-to-air networks. Viewers, particularly younger viewers, are more likely to watch U.S. series on a digital platform or online.”
The Ambassador Theatre Group has asked ticketholders to the revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? “that no food be consumed during the performance.” (This may have been at the request of star Imelda Staunton, who has publicly complained about the practice.) This request is evidently unusual enough that ATG later felt the need to stress that food has not been banned outright.
Michael Billington: “I’ve only lately become aware of how popular this is. … Some theatres, I’ve discovered, even encourage the practice by supplying a meal-and-drink package, as if their patrons might die of hunger or thirst during the arduous business of watching a play. Does it matter? I think it does.”
Demand so high it crashed the ticketing website. Frustrated crowds queued up for hours past their scheduled viewing time – which they can arrange only after tickets have been purchased. Angry patrons treating innocent security staff so badly that the latter are threatening to strike. But a Louvre spokesperson says, “We should be happy to see that crowds can also show up for an Old Masters exhibition, and not just for contemporary shows.” (Yes, what a surprise that must have been for the museum that houses the Mona Lisa.)