An intriguing article from Minnesota Public Radio called Making Arts Accessible to the Poor: Involve the Neighborhood (which is also linked at ArtsJournal.com). An interesting approach to audience development, as well as connecting to a younger audience. The Pillsbury House Theatre, which "traces its roots to Minneapolis' Bethel Settlement, one of 400 settlement houses established across the nation around the turn of the 20th century to improve living conditions in city slums," teams up a professional actor with a neighborhood kid to do a skit, which is then performed in front of -- well, everybody! "Noel Raymond, the project's co-artistic managing director, says once neighborhood kids have seen theater or been involved in theater, they want to do it again and again. After working for years in the same neighborhood, Raymond says she's learned that the best way to get people to see a show is by building personal relationships, one at a time." [emphasis mine]
Personal relationships with the audience, one at a time -- this is the way theatre will grow in the future. Not more newspaper advertising -- personal relationships, one at a time.
There are other interesting articles focused on making arts accessible to the poor:
Remove the Obstacles and Respect the Audience -- all three of these articles together offer an intriguing way of thinking about theatre and its relationship to audiences that might not be the usual focus...