TPFNAA or The People Formerly Known As Audience

We all talk about audience development. Do we need to rethink the term?  Not development. Audience.

Katya Andresen of Network for Good recently wrote an entry about audience on her blog Getting to the Point.

The Slow Food movement asks farmers to look at the people who purchase food not as consumers but as co-producers.  A co-producer being a person who shares in the experience of creating the food.    How can we as theatre professionals take the same approach to the people we call audience?

The following is an excerpt from Ms. Andresen’s blog talking about, “the new audience”.

The People Formerly Known as The Audience

Originally posted on Getting to the Point ,Wed, October 27, 2010

As I’ve blogged before, “audience” is an antiquated word in a time where people no longer passively consume information.  I’ve been trying to figure out what to call an audience (which is not an audience at all) in this day and age.

Clay Shirky’s highly recommended new book, Cognitive Surplus, cites NYU’s Jay Rosen’s phrase: “The People Formerly Known as the Audience.”  I like it.

Here’s what I think about The People Formerly Known as the Audience…

1. Don’t want to listen to us, they want to speak.

2. Don’t want to passively receive information; they want to interact.

3. Don’t want to consume content; they want to create it.

We should think of ourselves not as mere nonprofit marketing professionals but as listeners, engagers and participants. The more WE are the audience to THEM, the better.

So now it’s your turn!  TPFNAA, talk to us.  Tell us how you’d like to be referred to.  Tell us how you like to participate in theatre!  We’re listening and we’d like to hear from you!

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