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Invitation to the Party: Building Bridges to the Arts, Culture and Community Paperback – January 1, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

As Director of Marketing and Audience Development at the Public Theater, Donna Walker-Kuhne has originated a range of audience development activities for children, students and adults throughout New York City. Ms. Walker-Kuhne is an Adjunct Professor in marketing the arts at Fordham University, Brooklyn College and New York University. She was formerly Marketing Director for Dance Theatre of Harlem. Ms. Walker-Kuhne has given numerous workshops and presentations for arts groups throughout the U.S.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Theatre Communications Group; First Edition edition (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559362308
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559362306
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By S. Ryan on December 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
I assign "Invitation..." to my M.P.A. students at the end of our Communication course. After slogging through 700+pages of theory, my students view Walker-Kuhne's book as a treat. Though she is well-versed in marketing theory, she devotes most of the book to the "how-to" aspects of social marketing. Set in dramatic locations and involving historic campaigns and events, her case studies are compelling and rich. She tackles important debates (e.g., is there such a thing as an "underserved" population?) and wrestles with perennial issues (e.g., how to get consumers to see theater/arts experiences as self-investments). Hundreds of Baruch College master's degree students have loved this book! It would work well in undergraduate classrooms or in public sector professional development. If you are an educator outside of New York, your students will relish the opportunity to visit our city's artistic community through Walker-Kuhne's vivid narratives!

As a bonus: The author is extremely accessible (though busy because of it) and engaging. I loved her book and contacted her - she visited our campus several times to talk to students!
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Format: Paperback
An excellent starting point for theatre artists interested in developing a more diverse audience for their productions. Walker-Kuhne, who was head of audience development for the Public Theatre and the Dance Theatre of Harlem, clearly outlines a general approach to diversifying your audience that is based on an ongoing relationship based on trust and dialogue. She outlines "ten tools for building audiences" and provides several chapters that are case studies of audience development campaigns that she personally was involved in: the Public Theatre in general (especially George C. Wolfe's commitment to make the Public audience "look like a subway stop in New York City"), and s[ecifically Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk; Harlem Song, the Dance Theatre of Harlem. These case studies describe specific programs, but to my mind what this book more importantly does is describe clearly and passionately the importance and value of the goal and the level of commitment necessary to achieve it.

I recommend this book as a starting place for anyone wanting to expand their audiences. While the advice is specifically about diversifying your audience, in many respects the advice is applicable to audience development in general.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book should be part of the foundation of arts organizations all over the world. If you're interested in learning more about engaging audience or even how the Arts is marketed towards the larger community as a whole - this is the book for you. This book list's Donna's experiences but also displayed whats works and what doesn't work when it comes to reaching audiences. Its okay to have a comfortable crowd in your theaters, but wouldn't it be better to have an even more exciting and diverse crowd?
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