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6th March 2020 Carol Jones

The Performing Artist’s Audience Workbook

By: Lisa Baxter


An audience workbook for performing artists written by Lisa Baxter, The Experience Business and beautifully illustrated by Philippe Brasseur. Designed by Creative Scotland. Supported by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Created to inform the ‘audience benefit’ element of Creative Scotland’s Touring Fund application its uses aren’t limited to just that. It can be used in many ways and by performing artists wherever you’re based.

The Prelude

The Performing Artist’s Audience Workbook is a beautifully crafted, gently provocative and creatively engaging resource for artists funded by Creative Scotland

Designed to support artists in de-institutionalising their thinking and language, find new ways to explore/articulate how their purpose, practice and audience experience all inter-relate, and develop their audience sensibility.

It champions the audience – those people that the arts connects with, that the sector tries to chase, milk, cajole and ‘outreach-to’, yet rarely truly, fully, empathically understand – and is a clarion call for the value of the human experience of art – it’s goodness.

In 2017, Lisa Baxter co-authored a review of Touring Dance and Drama in Scotland for Creative Scotland. During the conversations she had with artists and arts professionals, quality (of work) and quantity (of audiences) loomed large, but value was never mentioned. Not value-for-money, but value-for-audiences.

Somewhere along the line, the audience had, become side-lined within the process and ‘consciousness’ of touring. Whilst ‘quality’ occupied the limelight, the ‘benefit’ of the work remained in the shadows. How has this come to pass? Now there’s a can of worms. Let’s focus on one worm in particular – the hoops you need to jump through to get funded. The hoops that reflect the priorities of the funder, priorities which, inadvertently, shape your mindset and your language when it comes to talking about your work.

Download the Prelude - to support your thinking before starting the Workbook


The Workbook

This workbook is your personal space. Created to inform the ‘audience benefit’ element of Creative Scotland’s Touring Fund application, its uses aren’t limited to just that.

  • You might want to use it at the point where you have an idea for a new piece of work.
  • You might want to reflect on previous work you have created.
  • You might want to use it when you are creating work and think about how the artistic choices you make might shape the audience experience.
  • You might want to use it to consider who your audiences might be, what makes then tick, and how you might communicate your work to them.

Whatever your intention, enjoy this ‘me-time’ to think, reflect, write, doodle and draw around the subject of your practice, your purpose and your audiences.

Download the Workbook


Want to explore more? Lisa Baxter (The Experience Business) runs associated deep-dive workshops and mentoring programmes around the Workbook. Contact Lisa.

| Published:2020

Smart tags: audience development plan performance audience focused artists

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