I’ve been at this bloggin’ thing for a few Olympic cycles now, and I’ve written about what we can learn from the Games before.
And as I watched Simone Biles vault to heights never seen before (that girl has got some “ups” as my JV Basketball Coach used to say), and Michael Phelps swim faster than a fish, I started to put together another “Top 10 Takeaways” blog like the others I’ve done.
But one of those takeaways was way too important to get lost in the shuffle. (And sometimes, and this goes for your personal and professional goals as well btw, when a To-Do list is too long, you lose focus on getting the most important stuff done first.)
So I scrapped the other nine things the theater can learn to put an Olympic-sized spotlight on one.
And it’s a simple one. But often, it’s the simple things you can do that can have the biggest effect.
On the Olympic website, there’s a call to action banner that says something like, “Wanna be an Olympian?”
Click it and it’ll take you to a micro-site called the Gold Map, which then allows you to pick the specified sport you’re interested in and gives you all sorts of info about getting involved with that sport including where to train, local competitions, and much more.
Now, the Olympic designers know that the odds of this site leading someone to the medal stand is lower than the odds of me beating Usain Bolt in the 100m dash.
But that’s not their point.
The mission of this “Gold Map” initiative is to increase engagement. Because they know the future audience and supporters of the sport come from people who have played the sport.
The same is true for the theater.
An NEA report concluded that people who were involved in the theater/arts were much more likely to attend the arts later in their lives.
So the key to creating the next generation of Broadway audiences, investors, staffers, and more, is getting more people involved in the theater . . . wherever they are.
And that’s what our industry and all theater companies should focus on, no matter where in the world they are. Oh and a simple action item to start this ball rolling?
We should steal from the Olympics. Why doesn’t each show have a page on their website that says, “Do you want to get to Broadway? Here’s how . . .” With a link to a page that talks about community theaters and college training programs and books and podcasts from performers and more.
There are a lot of people out there interested in what you and I do every day. They just need a little help to find their way.
It’s up to us to show them the Yellow Brick Road to Broadway.
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