Are Woolly Mammoth’s Digital Engagement Efforts a Glimpse at the Theater of the Future?
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Capital Business (06/17/13) Halzack, Sarah
Washington, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theater is employing digital engagement initiatives to see if it can flourish in a performing arts environment marked by challenges that include attracting younger millennial patrons. Woolly plans to invest $135,000 in digital-centric lobby exhibits for three productions this year, one of which is a display that encourages customers to remix speeches from Anton Chekhov's play "The Seagull" into Twitter messages. In addition to the display, the lobby features three "Pinspiration Stations," one of which uses a touchscreen monitor to show a Pinterest board maintained by the production's set designer, with pictures of props and associated commentary. The two other stations invite patrons to use Pinterest on iPads to share which works of art have changed their lives. The stations are manned by employees who help explain their use to patrons. The theater's Jocelyn Prince notes that young patrons "like interactivity, they like contributing content," and Woolly aims to include such activities in its theater experience so that it remains relevant and viable. "Millennials are always multitasking, and they also love to be co-creators," notes consultant Alli Houseworth. Also catering to millennials, who rarely buy subscription packages, is Woolly's six-pack offering, which features six tickets that can be used in any combination throughout the season.
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