AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT & COMMUNICATIONS
Recognizing that audiences, program participants, and members of our community are essential partners in our work, we strive to welcome a collective of individuals more reflective of the city we call home. As Chicago Shakespeare evolves into a more transparent organization, IDEA will be an ongoing priority and practice to which we fully commit our time, attention, and resources.
- Define what diversity in our audiences means to Chicago Shakespeare and work to build a more consistently diverse audience base. Collect and analyze patron data to understand the people engaging with our work and set goals to ensure audience demographics are more reflective of the wider city of Chicago.
- Create engagement and marketing strategies that engage a diverse audience—going beyond targeted advertising to create community connections and programming that helps build lasting relationships and trust with individuals and groups.
- Prioritize reducing cost barriers for attendance at Chicago Shakespeare productions. Ensure subsidized, discounted, and free tickets are distributed equitably throughout the theater space, including within premium seating sections. Partner with organizations serving BIPOC communities and people with disabilities to offer free and reduced-price tickets to their membership as a way of investing in long-term relationships with their constituents.
- Assess ways to facilitate a more inclusive and welcoming experience at every step of the process, from navigating our website and transacting a ticket sale to entering the facility and attending a performance. Prioritize a process that helps all individuals feel a sense of belonging and desire to return and to encourage people they know to attend.
- Make a detailed assessment of the accessibility of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s audience spaces for guests with disabilities. Prioritize proactive and inclusive access over providing accommodations.
- Create trainings and establish protocols to better provide safeguards for staff and artists in all external engagements. Patron-facing representatives will be given tools and agency to play their role in the Theater’s no-tolerance policy for racist, discriminatory, or harassing behaviors on the part of audience members and to engage all who attend in our efforts to welcome, rather than alienate, new audiences.
- Provide access to and publicize the Theater’s Ethics Point Anonymous Hotline as a method for audience members, external partners, and other constituents to provide feedback or share concerns. Explore how other organizations analyze audience perspectives, impressions, and feedback related to their IDEA commitments and create a framework for the Theater’s exploration.
- Regularly revise and update the Theater's print and electronic materials to ensure our IDEA values and anti-racist policies are clear and integral to our mission. Throughout this work, focus on ensuring harm is not caused to BIPOC individuals, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups in the audience or within the organization.
- Ensure that staff have the tools to evaluate, develop, and present print and electronic communications through an IDEA lens by creating a “best practices” reference document containing questions that should always be considered when reviewing our copywriting, image choices, design format, and distribution platform.
- Identify internal and additional external consulting resources that can aid our communications strategy conversations, ensuring we have a broad spectrum of views helping guide our choices.
- Analyze how we broaden target audiences in advertising, and report back annually to create a baseline of engagement. Regularly evaluate our online presence’s success as a platform for partner networks and organizations based within communities of color, and those that support the disability community and other underrepresented or marginalized groups.