Marketing Theatre to the Millennial Generation: A Marketing Initiative for Stageworks, a Professional Regional Theatre in Tampa, Florida (A Professional Problem)

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At the start of the new millennium, the performing arts in America face unprecedented challenges including a leadership void, ever shifting funding landscape, unreliable governmental commitments, astonishing technological changes, and an enormous need to attract new audiences. Against such a backdrop, this professional problem dissertation embarks on a journey to explore one corner of this vast cavern of challenges. Within the last decade, organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts and the Theatre Communications Group have admonished arts organizations and administrators to become particularly mindful of and innovative about arts participation by younger members of our society. This call provides the initial impetus for this project. While academic, professional, and popular literature provide evidence that the topic of effectively marketing the arts to young people is ubiquitous, little has been done to gather, synthesize, and disseminate information related to best practice in this area, especially as the topic relates to theatre. This project commences with two goals--to contribute to the field of arts marketing at large, and to provide practical assistance to a regional, nonprofit arts organization. The following format is used to attain these goals. First, I examine scholarly and professional literature from the areas of planning, arts administration, arts marketing, generational studies, and technology. Second, I present a marketing initiative plan based upon findings from a marketing audit and SWOT Analysis conducted for Stageworks Theatre, the project’s subject organization. Third, I provide a rationale for the plan’s design. Finally, I make supplementary recommendations to Stageworks, and offer suggestions for further research. Stageworks Theatre, the oldest professional nonprofit theatre company in Tampa, Florida provides the laboratory for this project. This organization affords the Tampa Bay area with a broad range of artistic, educational, and community outreach programming on a $320,000 annual operating budget. This twenty-seven-year-old theatre company has a reputation for producing the highest quality theatre and important outreach programs while maintaining a lean organizational infrastructure and a relatively small budget.

marketing, theatre