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Tessitura's Innovator Series

Does the Lookalike Segment Make All Audiences Look Alike?

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Headshot of Victoria Bailey

Tory BaileyExecutive Director, TDF (Theatre Development Fund)

TitleDoes the Lookalike Segment Make All Audiences Look Alike?

Published7/19/2018

Read/View Time15 min


As the field has gotten better and better at marketing, it has gotten worse at audience development,”

argues Tory Bailey in this thought-provoking talk. And because marketers have become so good at traditional modes of marketing, audiences keep looking the same. One could ask: if the theatres are full and we are achieving the results we need, does it really matter?

“To me it matters a lot. It matters because there are lots of people not in the picture — and everyone has a right to be there. It matters because the arts are for everyone. It matters because everyone needs to hear stories of the other.”

Beyond the drive for broader storytelling, current research shows numerous practical reasons to seek to diversify audiences. 

TDF has built several programs to engage new audiences. The Wendy Wasserstein Project, which started 20 years ago, now serves 24 groups of eight people every year, with nearly 2,600 alumni. The Autism Theatre Initiative offers five-sensory friendly performances a year. TDF Create NY works with one community organization per borough, one cohort per year, for three years; at the end of the program year they self-curate an event in their community.

Participants in an education program for the show Mean Girls.

Start small, she advises. Don't go it alone. And make it last.

Click the play button above to watch the full talk, recorded live at the Tessitura Learning & Community Conference in Orlando in July 2018.

Headshot of Victoria Bailey

Tory Bailey

Executive Director

TDF (Theatre Development Fund)

Victoria Bailey has been the executive director of TDF (Theatre Development Fund) since 2001.

Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, TDF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to bringing the performing arts to everyone. TDF sustains live theatre and dance by engaging and cultivating a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance and envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible, and inspirational. TDF fulfills its mission by expanding access through ticketing, accessibility, and information initiatives by cultivating communities through school and community engagement programs and supporting theatre makers through training, professional development programs, and national audience research.

Highlights of Ms. Bailey’s tenure included playing a key role in the construction of the award winning new TKTS booth at Duffy Square, expansion of TDF’s award winning education programs, and the introduction of sensory friendly Broadway performances. Ms. Bailey recently accomplished a research project in co-partnership with Brad Erickson from Theatre Bay Area titled Triple Play, examining ways to strengthen the relationship between playwrights, theatres, and audiences as a means to increase audience appetite for new and risky work. Previously, she was instrumental in the execution of a comprehensive study of the lives of American playwrights and the production of new American Plays. The study culminated in Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play. 

Prior to her appointment at TDF, she had a nearly 20-year association with Manhattan Theatre Club. Ms. Bailey is Theatre Management and Producing Advisor and Adjunct Professor at the School of the Arts at Columbia University, and a member of the board at the Times Square Alliance. She recently completed a three-year tenure on the Tony Awards Nominating Committee. Ms. Bailey received a B.A. in history from Yale College. 

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