“[The EIF] reported ticket sales of £3.8m, down from the £4.3m reported this time last year, due, it said, to a smaller programme, notably in the opera section. … The Edinburgh International Book Festival reported a rise in ‘footfall’ in its Charlotte Square site, and an 8% rise in book sales.”
“For my generation, editing your own image has become as routine as using social media. We grew up with airbrushing and Photoshop and saw the exposés of flawless magazine cover stars who weren’t flawless at all. Instead of rejecting the falsehoods we’ve made it part of our daily lives, crafting idealised digital versions of ourselves that feel like an essential corollary to real life. Technology has set a new standard for beauty that quite literally doesn’t exist in real life. Rather than reject that, we’ve embraced it.”
There are now more than 600 organisations participating in Audience Finder, including “performing arts venues, touring companies, museums, galleries, festivals, outdoor arts and many other kinds of cultural organisations”. Their ticketing data has been gathered over the past seven years and dates back to 2011/12, although data from these early years is less comprehensive and accessible than more recently gathered information.
The autumn film series at Derby Cathedral in the English Midlands includes The Wicker Man (which features female nudity and a pagan sacrifice), Don’t Look Now (sex and seances), and The Life of Brian (the Gospels get the Monty Python treatment). Says one church warden from the diocese, “I just think it isn’t appropriate to show these films in a place of worship that is consecrated and hallowed.” Responds the Cathedral’s dean, “The first thing we’re trying to do is open the cathedral to new people. It doesn’t just belong to the people who go to church; it certainly doesn’t belong to me.”
On Thursday, August 23, after just 3½ months, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” received its one millionth visitor. The show is now the most popular in the history of the Met’s Costume Institute and the third most-visited the entire museum has ever presented. (And it still has six weeks left to run.)
Howard Sherman: “The convention of the fourth wall is deeply ingrained in most regular theatregoers … But when such techniques [for breaking it] are deployed intentionally before, during and after a performance, the effect can be magical. … There needn’t even be a show in performance for the effect of bringing audiences on stage to have an impact. Even in smaller spaces, let alone iconic ones, allowing patrons to stand where the actors perform creates an inversion that can be highly affecting.”
“XL Cinema [is] an app developed in India that can synchronise an audio description of a movie with its cinema audio track. … Before the app’s arrival, the only way to watch a movie with audio description was to wait months after the film’s release to order a DVD from [the NGO] Saksham, if [it] had created one for that film.”
Peter Marks: “One can sense, in visiting … companies and talking to leaders of classical theaters across North America, a revolution in how to package Shakespeare is not only gradually gaining momentum but is also being viewed as essential. At Stratford, for instance, an ethos prevails of theater as not simply a passive entertainment. More and more, it’s a conveyance for other social and intellectual activities on the sprawling festival campus.”
Peter Dobrin: “This is not about righting a social injustice, though programming more women is clearly that. … The predilection for passing through the graduated hoops of listener to subscriber to donor hinges upon emotion … [and] it means a lot to listeners when they see their own identity reflected in what their orchestra does.”
Perhaps it’s time we realize that consuming more news about the world around us is not the way to improve it (or ourselves), personally or politically. Two thousand years ago, Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations, “Are you distracted by breaking news? Then take some leisure time to learn something good, and stop bouncing around.”
A new nationally representative survey about “screen time and device distractions” from the Pew Research Center indicates that it’s not just parents who think teenagers are worryingly inseparable from their phones—many teens themselves do, too. Fifty-four percent of the roughly 750 13-to-17-year-olds surveyed said they spend too much time absorbed in their phones, and 65 percent of parents said the same of their kids’ device usage more generally.
The Internet was the perfect way for those who loved the original series to bat their theories back and forth, and from the medium’s days, that’s what they did. Joanna Robinson offers a brief history of that fandom and how it affected the Twin Peaks franchise and eventual reboot – and she gets a few mysteries clarified by co-creator Mark Frost.
“The majority of respondents indicated that the hard work involved in running a crowdfunding campaign was ultimately worth the rewards and that the matched funding element would significantly increase their likelihood of undertaking further crowdfunding”.
In a new program called FreePlay, “Center Theatre Group … will start giving people 25 and younger free tickets to the first preview of productions at the Mark Taper Forum and the Kirk Douglas Theatre.”
A few hundred young people are currently using the app in a beta-test that will extend to 10,000 participants this fall, with a nationwide rollout planned for next spring. “With its key aim being to ‘encourage cultural discovery and diversification’, the project … has prompted debate about what constitutes culture, and whether some kinds should be promoted over others.” (The culture minister has declared that there would be “no cultural snobbism.”)
Visits to museums and art galleries fell for the second year in a row, dropping by 1% both last year and in 2016. Visit England said that “this was largely driven by those based in London, who saw a 4% drop in visitor numbers in 2017″. The number of overseas tourists visiting museums and art galleries (which Visit England says is “by far the largest attraction type for overseas visitors”) also fell significantly last year, dropping by 11%.
The internet of old — composed largely of thousands of scattered communities populated by people who shared interests, identities, causes or hatreds — has been mostly paved over by the social-media giants. In this new landscape, basic intelligible concepts of community become alien: The member becomes the user; the peer becomes the follower; and the ban becomes not exile, but death. It is not surprising that the angriest spirits of the old web occasionally manifest in the new one. But what’s striking is how effectively they can haunt it, and how ill-equipped it is to deal with them.
Close reading is hard, which is how this class ended up telling its professor that “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” was about a prostitute. “The predominant interpretation holds sway because students have been trained that their emotional response to a text is just as valid as, say, what it means to read a text within its historical or cultural context.”
Lyn Gardner: Consider the issue that “many British artists and companies cannot hope to make a living in the UK and desperately need international touring fees” – but that Brexit is taking those international opportunities away. Perhaps the ‘concept’ show can fill in, at least if companies work together.
Netflix is like, oh, people aren’t using the reviews! But actually … there were a lot of reviews, including a lot of negative reviews, of its original content. Oh.
AMC said the service, an extension of the company’s loyalty program, has accounted for about 1 million admissions, or roughly 4% of attendance at the company’s U.S. theaters. The company announced the new offering in June to fend off New York-based MoviePass, which shook up the industry by offering a movie a day for less than $10 a month.
“Older games feature pixel-based graphics that can look fuzzy on modern televisions and can be frustrating to play for even experienced gamers. Yet in 2016, Nintendo released a NES Classic Edition console and sold out all 2.3 million of them in just three months. The company made more and began selling them in June 2018.” A pair of media psychologists explain why Gen-Xers in particular remain so fond of dear old Mario and Sonic.
Responding to Lyn Gardner’s recent column arguing for “a new approach to theatre criticism, in which theatres see developing critical voices as part of audience and artist development,” Bill Marx writes that what Gardner seems to be suggesting is both vague and, well, unlikely: “Is the money invested in theater development these days dedicated to making stage audiences more ‘critical’? Are there any plans for ‘creative power sharing’ with spectators? From what I can tell, … the goal is to buff up [theaters’] business plans and marketing efforts, not to encourage the development of ‘critical’ audiences.”
The digital landscape is already fragmented, and it’s continually fragmenting further, as content creators choose to become content providers. In the process, it’s beginning to resemble cable television. Each new app or content library looks like a different channel to consider, and each one is essentially a premium cable offering that requires a separate subscription to view. Services that previously acted as content aggregators are losing outside content with the launch of each new service. Instead, they are creating their own content to maintain value in a crowded marketplace.
“Like Spotify, for a fixed monthly fee ($8.99 in the U.S.), users can browse CKBK’s collection of more than 500 cookbooks and 100,000 recipes, which [co-founder Matthew] Cockerill said was just a starting point. ‘We have a huge pipeline of content that we will add to the service as it grows,’ he said.”
August 15 is the effective date for the troubled company’s revised subscription plan, which limits customers to seeing three movies per month and excludes certain hit films. “Some fed-up users who decided to cancel their MoviePass subscriptions are receiving confusing emails that suggest the company has enrolled them in its new, modified plan without their consent.”
The ticketing operator said Get Me In! and Seatwave – two of the UK’s four largest reselling sites – will be replaced by a new fan-to-fan ticket exchange service. The decision has already been hailed as a major commitment by the industry to combat online touts, which use secondary marketplaces to resell tickets for entertainment and sports events at highly inflated prices.
The authors say that “there is cultural activity taking place in non-city centre areas that are perceived to be barren, undesirable places to live and not common destinations to engage in cultural activity.” They believe the research demonstrates that “this activity has an audience that is interested and willing to engage, and that the venues not only generate audiences within their local communities but also contribute to the movement of audiences across and into the city.”
A survey by ART31, a network of arts groups for young people facilitated by the University of Kent, found anxiety to be the biggest barrier of all among young people aged 10 and 25. Its report says: “It seems likely that this is related to joining a new group or attending a new venue, but it may also be about fear of failure.”
Theatre itself can be activism, of course, through subject matter and through subtle casting changes or donation asks at the end of the play or musical. But “public service” – part of most nonprofit theatres’ mission statements – shouldn’t end at the theatre doors.