How to deepen the engagement without scaring people

Buller-Maliekel Returns To Showcase To Change How you Think About Engaging


According to WA Showcase speaker Lindsey Buller Maliekel two of the big considerations when looking for engagement are learning how invite your audiences to participate whilst being careful not to scare them away with your ideas or implementation.

The Director of Education and Public Engagement for the New Victory Theatre in New York will be joined by teaching artist WT McRae at the main event in arts experiences in Western Australia to help understand the hands-on steps for what to do once you have decided to engage your community.

At Showcase, Lindsey and WT will work with delegates on road maps for organisations who want to start hands on engagement as part of their performing arts practice.

This will involve really practical ideas in topics including how you create these activities, what skills you need and how you budget.

Lindsey and WT will talk about how you set up engagement and interactive activities inspired by a piece of art and how you deepen the conversation between the art, artists and the audience to multiply the impact and gain a greater relationship.

They will also talk about what happens after you train your entire audience to come and play with you before and after the show. They will share anecdotes and experiences about how audiences shift, grow, and change as well as reflections on some of the long term audience partnerships developed as a result of engagement.

“One of the big questions we are asked is, how do we work with creative people in our community and how do we partner with artists,” Lindsey said

“The real challenge is understanding the different ways that communities and audiences will feel invited to engage in this work. That is the real creativity, coming up with a way to make people buy-in that is engaging and relevant to them.”

“People in the arts need to work hard on looking at their space to find opportunity for engagement.”

“We’ll be talking about how you create opportunity, build your capacity, expand your audience reach and ultimately expand and deepen audience impact, “Lindsey said.

“Many organisations lament not being able to program the work they most want because there’s not an audience ready to take risks in the space.  The team needs to create a space that is the point of trust for your audience to allow the range of work programmed to expand,” according to WT.

Lindsey will start at this point; how do you invite your audiences to get up and get involved whilst demonstrating practical examples of making these connections. It’s important to learn who in your community do you want as your collaborators and then how to find them.

Whilst this may seem the role of marketing, it really is a partnership of many departments. Connecting with communities not engaged in your work involves finding out who is not in the picture that you hope to engage and reaching out to have conversations with them about what will work and how they can buy in and become collaborators.

Listening to Lindsey, we find we need to do this without scaring audiences. This is a risk when the engagement is not targeted enough, or does not bring the customer into the planning, or tries for a one size-fits-all approach across different audience types. It can happen if we are not creating engagement that meets audiences where they are at now!

According to Ryan Taaffe from CircuitWest, the team from the New Victory Theatre will be teaching attendees to build their engagement from the ground up, which will mean using the tools learnt and enjoying the success of creating new ideas specific to the work of the producer, presenter or artist.

“We are very lucky to have secured such an outside-the-box thinker as Lindsey and that she is bringing a hands in teaching artist like WT  to get us to understand how to reach out to our communities and artists for engagement  and how to think creatively to develop something that is truly impactful and leaves a lasting impression,” Ryan said.

“The New Victory Theatre is creating engagement the likes of which we have not really seen in Australia, and everyone who has community engagement in their planning really needs to see these presentations. “

“I myself am also looking forward to being made to penguin walk again this year.”


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