Audience Development in Theatre for Young Audience (TYA) has to meet special requirements: It is not enough to be attractive to young people because decision makers are mainly adults; tickets for groups are purchased by teachers. Nowhere else are the target group / consumers (young people) and decision makers / buyers (teacher + parents) so different from each other than in cultural offers for young people. TYA always has to balance between these two divergent poles and also connect with the interests of their artists.
It is Theatre Mediation (comparable with terms such as theatre education / pedagogy / engagement) which can effectively moderate and connect the three involved parties (artists – teachers – young people) and unite them as equal partners in theatre processes.
Since there is no Theatre Mediation training in most of our countries and in those, where it is existing, there is no specialization on addressing hard-to-reach groups, we make professionalization the keyword and the leading guideline of ConnectUp.
We will offer a comprehensive professionalization programme for artists and teachers as part of our Audience Development strategy.
It includes formal (certified university training) and informal (peer-group-learning) professional training. The special role of the newly trained Theatre Mediators lies in addressing new audience groups from the margin of society (hard-to-reach) and merging them with the existing ones in artistic processes. This won’t be an easy process and we are aware to provoke a kind of culture clash. It will need a professional mediation to achieve our goal of a mixed and interactive audience.