“Responding to audience demand for more connection, for the more experiential – artists and companies are experimenting with new modes of engagement that have the capacity to deepen and re-imagine relationships between artists and audiences.”
Facilitator – Annette Downs (Tasmania Performs), Kristine Landon-Smith (Tamasha, UK), Steve Mayhew (Country Arts SA) Kyle Morrison (Yirra Yaakin), Sam Strong (Griffin)

Sam Strong gives us a Social media strategy of Griffin – especially around his Between the Lines program – a program of one off theatrical events and audience engagement activities which you can check out details of those activities here. Strong and his team have focused on tapping into free or available technologies to engage an audience which is already out there. One campaign was the Angela’s Kitchen campaign – encouraging people to have an adventure in the treasure hunt to find wooden spoons hidden around the theatre. Check out the trailer:

And this campaign translated to audiences, (“Talking figures is like talking about people’s sex life – you want to know it’s ok, but you don’t want to know the details.” – Sam Strong) and 2012 will see a remounting of the show (back by popular demand I think) – and I’m not surprised – It’s a lovely personal nostalgic show. And I encourage you to check it out. More info about that show here.

One thing is for certain – under the directorship of Sam Strong the Griffin theatre has worked hard to attract new audiences to the theatre (and their theatre) – there is a tone to the company (much of which has to do with Sam as a leader and as a person) that invites people to engage.

I just wanted to comment on the Griffin Theatre Company audience engagement strategies, as I have seen this first hand in action – primarily due to the fact that my “normal friends” (my non-theatre practitioner friends) started asking ME to the theatre because of the “Between the Lines” program which they became aware of because of Griffin’s interesting and fun social media strategies. And frankly, that is incredibly impressive.

I think this is particularly cool because an audience that finds something cool, by themselves, feels a closer connection to it, and has a sense of loyalty which is stronger than the connection which is brokered out of obligation. And Griffin has made it exciting for people to hunt out what’s happening. And that type of sit forward strategy also breeds a sense of curiosity – which I believe is the cornerstone of promotion of and engagement with new Australian work.

I think again, that the best coverage of this conversation is covered by Jane Howard – and you should check out her write up here. http://noplain.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/australian-theatre-forum-audience-activations/