Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Public Engagement & TXT Marks the Spot

The New Victory Theater is a place of wonder and discovery. Every time I walk in the doors, find my seat and look up at the angels on our ceiling, I feel a little thrill of excitement. My job as the Director of Education: Public Engagement is to bring that magic off the stage and into our lobbies and community. At the New Victory, we want to make your trip to the theater an exciting experience that starts long before the curtain goes up and remains in your memory for a long time after you leave.

Our Public Engagement programs aim to extend your family’s relationship with us beyond the proscenium with events that are interactive, fun, and informative. We want your family to be entertained by our productions, but also have a chance to participate in and learn about the art forms on our stage. Check out our website for more information on Kids Weeks, Family Workshops, and community events. Read on for information about our next Public Engagement program on the schedule: TXT Marks the Spot.

Imagine doing a scavenger hunt inside our theater except instead of a treasure map, your family will receive all of the clues via text message on your own phone. This idea, intended to strengthen relationships with patrons and encourage intergenerational collaboration, was the origin of TXT Marks the Spot when it debuted last year. Our young people are growing up in a world defined by technology – this program marries the digital technology they are so comfortable with to the delight of human interaction.  We hope to enable you and your family to extend the theater going experience and create a little magic WITH us.

The next event will be this Friday for The Mark of Zorro, and while we ask that you turn your cell phone off to watch the show, as soon as the lights come up, we invite you (and your phone!) to spend 20-30 more minutes exploring The New Victory Theater! The text message clues will have you hunting all over the theater: some will require you to search our darkest corners and mine our history, while other clues will have your family playing and creating with New Vic Teaching Artists and ushers. We love when tall people and small people collaborate to overcome a challenge, discover solutions, and laugh together between our walls. For this program, you provide the phone and we will provide the opportunity for fun!

A group of staff, Teaching Artists and ushers all work together to create and run TXT Marks the Spot for the families that come to designated Friday performances. The staff begins by writing the clues based on a chosen production. We know all the fun places in The New Victory Theater and take great pride in ensuring you discover something new while participating. Next, we bring in Teaching Artists to add creative and artistic challenges. The challenges are all inspired by the show you just experienced and will require you to work together as a family. Past challenges have included everything from obstacle courses and mad libs to silly symphonies and dance offs. Finally, we team up with ushers on the day of the show to ensure that each family successfully completes the scavenger hunt.  If you ever need a little help with a clue, or an additional person to help complete a challenge – the ushers are there to join in!

To participate in this event, simply buy tickets for one of the designated performances and bring your phone!  We have created TXT events for 6 more performances, all taking place on Friday evenings: The Mark of Zorro: 2/8 and 2/15, The Intergalactic Nemesis: 4/5 and 4/12, Rhaw: 5/17 and 5/24.

For additional interactive experiences that take place in our theater, look for performance dates that have a talkback or an Arts Express event scheduled. I hope to see you and your family at one of the upcoming TXT Marks the Spot events!  I will be the one laughing and playing in the lobby right along with you.

This blog was written by Lindsey Buller Maliekel, Director of Education / Public Engagement

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