Using digital content to build audiences for live opera
Creativeworks London Working Paper Series;26
CREATIVEWORKS LONDON WORKING PAPER;26
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to report on audience response to selected digital content produced by English Touring Opera (ETO) in support of the company’s Autumn 2015 tour. Methodology This study was conducted collaboratively between ETO and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The research team used focus groups to explore audience reactions to five items of supporting material produced by ETO. Through a qualitative analysis of the transcribed sessions, this report investigates how the items function, both individually and in general. Research Limitations As this is a qualitative study with a small sample group (23 individuals; 8 sessions), the results do not take the form of statistical conclusions. Future research might test the findings and hypotheses using a large-scale, quantitative study. Findings Viewers use online materials such as trailers, interviews, and rehearsal footage to appropriately align their expectations of a live performance, and to increase their familiarity with both the producing company and with specific productions. Viewers want the clips to feature music and imagery from the productions. In order to function well, the online materials must clearly demonstrate their relationship to the company and to the production. If successful in performing these functions, the online materials are likely to increase anticipation and thereby enhance the impact of attendance at a live performance. Practical Implications Digital content should help audiences know what to expect from a production, and encourage them to feel anticipation about attending. Content should be carefully contextualised so that viewers know what to expect from it and can decide whether or not (and when) to engage with it. Value The originality of this study lies both in its collaborative methodology and in the newness of the subject under investigation. Arts companies are increasingly interested in producing digital content, and this study could help inform strategies to ensure that those materials effectively enhance the audience experience.
AuthorsO'Neill, Sinead; Wise, Karen; Sloboda, John
- Creativeworks London