|The Wooster Group's production of To You, the Birdie!|
The Theatre Communications Group published an article earlier this year entitled, Making Eye Contact with Millennials: the Ephemeral and the Visceral by Justin Maxwell. It notes that theatre makers forget to highlight “the unique thing our artistic genre is capable of.” It suggests that Millennials would see theatre if they knew the unique experience it offered them: human connection. Rather than trying to compete with film, television, and other high-quality content often available to Millennials for free from the comfort of their bed, we shouldn’t waste our time focusing on the story “as our primary artistic element,” but rather the live, visceral, ephemeral experience.
After reading these two articles and from my studies in the Northwestern Medill IMC program, here are three action items that will help you during both the creative and marketing process to engage Millennials on their terms:
- Integrate Digital - Integrate digital storytelling into the theatre you make. Millennials live fully in both the physical and virtual world, and your work should account for their augmented sense of reality.
- Extend the relationship - Don’t just blast social media with advertisements. Create unique content for your audience to engage with you across media platforms before and after the event.
- Think beyond - Think beyond the story as our primary artistic element, and rather focus on what makes theatre unique: the live performance event.
As subscriber based audiences get older, it is imperative that theatre makers consider Millennial sensibilities when creating their work and marketing it out. It’s time we show young people that theatre can be thrilling!
Isabella Mehiel | Twitter: @iMehiel
I am a senior at Northwestern University majoring in Theatre and pursuing the Integrated Marketing Communications Certificate through the Northwestern Medill School of Journalism. I am the co-founder and Artistic Director of Voyeur Theatre Collective, a group of young multimedia artists who combine aspects of rave culture, cinema, and performance art to create immersive performance events for Millennials. I will be graduating in June 2015, at which point I will continue working as an actor, director, and theatre maker.