In the world of arts advocacy and audience development, one of the common, repeatable concepts is that if you bring kids to the theatre young, you’ll have them for life.
I’ve been contemplating how our small theatre centric, internet savvy community could help make children aware of the process. We talk a lot about how we are selling an experience; so how can that translate down to children? How can we make ourselves accessible to those who haven’t made up their minds about us? How can we show kids the deeply fun, rewarding work that we do? How can we provide a Sesame Street experience for arts education?
I know that we would bring our love of the internet, our love of the art, and our deep and abiding commitment to silliness to such a project.
This morning I was playing with a few children at church before the service began. We were playing with a small group of pirate sock monkeys. And I thought about Noah, a blogging sock monkey superstar, who has become a minor local celebrity in Oklahoma City.
Meet Benedict. He’s a Shakespearean actor sock monkey knitted for me by my friend Jana. He’s been seen out at the 2010 Bloomsday, hosted by Blue Planet Writers’ Room, where he lost the James Joyce look-a-like competition.
I want to send Benedict on a cross country journey.
I want him to explore all the aspects of our respect careers and theatres. At each theatre, his 2amt guardian will take pictures of him spending time doing whatever they’re doing. And he’ll blog and tweet about his experiences at your theatres and events — showing kids (and the rest of us) what it’s like to be a working theatre professional.
I’ve spent a lot of time this past week hearing that what we do is not important or not real work. I’d like to create a world where we don’t have those perceptions. And this seems like a place to start.
Interested in hosting Benedict? Have an upcoming theatre event that would be made even better by the presence of a sock monkey? Let me know. I’m going to work on creating a blog, twitter account, and calendar. My current plans are for Benedict to live blog with me through the 24 Hour Theatre Project on October 3 and 4, but after that…there’s a whole 2amt world to explore.