LET'S CAPTURE OUR LOCAL AUDIENCE
My last blog was a tad depressing! So I'm turning it around here and talking about some happy, positive things that are going well and how these things could be examples of how to turnaround our failing arts in the future.
Again, I can't mention any company names as such but let's just say, there's a big dance company at the moment that has created an amazing show using music based on heavy metal. You may have heard of the show I mean... Now that is amazing enough, especially since I got to play in the orchestra for it and I'm a bit of a metal head! But the other great thing is that the company used the music of a band that came from the city the company is based in. You probably know what city I mean as well, because all great rock came out of this city...Basically they have really nailed it! The show is a mega-success and the company has big plans for the future. They are bucking the trend for sure!
The point of me writing this is not to go on about that particular show and the company and the band etc...but rather to point out the fact that I truly believe that for any company or orchestra today, the ideal situation has got to be, capturing the imagination of your local audience and bringing them along with you because you have shown them something that really means something to them. There are orchestras and companies around the UK whose local population has changed dramatically in the last few years. I live near Birmingham and the people who live in and around Birmingham couldn't be more diverse. This is a problem for rather old-fashioned ideas of classical music. Because many of these diverse cultures have no history of listening to classical music. It doesn't mean anything to them. As I talked about in my last blog, we can educate all our school children and get them playing instruments every day, but this will take time to make meaningful change. We have to do that. But I believe that capturing your local, culturally diverse audience right now is something all arts organisations should be really thinking about.
I think the best way forward is to embrace the music and artistic leanings of the local cultures and to make them, and the music their people listen to, part of your organisation's every day existence. Let's move on and embrace everything that is so fab about living in this multi-cultural age. I think it really is the way forward. That dance company has taken the culture of rock music, and rock music created in it's local area, and created a show that is utterly brilliant and exciting. The audiences love it. And we have to say that this company is bucking the trend and moving on up. Let's learn from that and move forward.