Theatre people often ask me, how do we get a greater audience? Yesterday I discover that they should not. Why? Simply because the audience, even if it’s nice people, it’s too little a target group. Instead they should get the people who like green values, like those who like organic food!
In a time when everything is artificial and nothing is real, we demand the authentic. This is seen with the demand for green solutions such as organic food. It’s locally produced with nothing artificial or a digital filter added to it, it’s real just like theatre.
Next time I get the question on how to increase a theatre audience, I will tell them to sell themselves as a green solution in the shape of organic food. People who demand green will also consume theatre. They could start by selling tickets in the vegetable section in stores. It will surely get the audience’s attention – not everyone will pick it up and make a salad of it. It does not matter how they reach this audience: what matters is that it’s a much bigger audience to reach (also it’s a fresh, green audience with artistic challenges, because they do not have an expectation of what theatre is or should be – as long it’s authentic they will clean the plate).
Last evening my friend Jack Yan took me to a theatre première called Flowers from my Mother’s Garden. The story was more real and authentic than I have ever seen in any play. The mother and daughter in the play were playing themselves, with real photos and recordings from their own life. In other words they out-compete Facebook, paparazzi and all other e-products that can create a distance to what’s real. It was like sharing their lives.
Was the play any good? Well, let’s put it this way. As you can see on the picture taken after the play, I went down on one knee and propose to Dame Kate Harcourt. She smiled kindly and showed me she still had the magic glance in her eyes (born in 1927). I wouldn’t mind a life with her eating organic food: of course we would invite Jack and Kate’s daughter Miranda to clean the plate.