The Playgoer: The Social (Theatre) Network

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Social (Theatre) Network

Promising new site from the folks at ART/NY and TheaterMania: the New York Theatre Network.

ART/NY chief Virginia Louloudes offers a catchy mission statement:

"Ultimately, our goal is to bring live theatre back into popular culture by using popular communication tools that demystify our work and demonstrate that theatres are affordable and accessible to everyone."
Certainly beats newspapers!

Well, as long as we guard against pollyannaish assumptions of flocks of young folk getting into the New York nonprofit theatre scene just because it has a cool site... I'm encouraged by the game plan so far:
NYTN will be a social resource developed to cultivate new and existing audiences for the vibrant community of not-for-profit theatre organizations in New York City.  The network, a multi-prong theatre hub, can be used as an information source, an event site, and a home for social networking, dedicated to deepening the engagement between artists and audiences in the theatre capital of the world.


NYTN is unique in that it puts both the larger theatre with a sizable advertising budget and the smallest theatre with no advertising budget on a level playing field.  As the "MenuPages" of the theatre world, NYTN allows users to browse in multiple ways—satisfying every appetite.  NYTN also allows fans and member theatres to deepen their relationship by interacting through open discussion boards that can be created by the theatre company or the fans.  NYTN's social networking function allows users to see what their friends are sharing and liking and then makes recommendations to users based on their own preferences as well as their friends'.  Additionally, users can view videos associated with the shows and purchase tickets to shows through the site.
To my mind, the benefit of practical uses of advertising and ticketselling (especially if on a truly "level playing field") will far outweigh such "social" functions as chats and friending.  Disucssion boards? Who knows, maybe it can evolve into a downtown version of All That Chat.  But otherwise, I believe the blogs have already created a lot of community discourse and sharing.  But as a central aggregator and marketplace, this idea is downright overdue!

What do you think of the site itself?  Let's take it apart here. Maybe they'll read your suggestions and feedback.

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