Dr. Ben Walmsley, researcher in Arts Management and Cultural Policy in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries at the University of Leeds, proposes an interesting approach to theatre management and audience research in the article ”Whose value is it anyway? A neo-institutionalist approach to articulating and evaluating artistic value” published in Journal of Arts and Communities, 4 (3) in 2013. Walmsley gives not only a historical overview into the field of cultural management but he also proposes a new direction for arts managing where the audience experience becomes core. If we don’t know why people go to the theatre or the performing arts and what they experience, we can only base our arguments about the special value of the artistic experiences on cultural assumptions and management arguments from outside the performing arts where value is understood as a number.
Through 34 semi structured in-depth interviews on the value of theatre with audiences from Australia and The United Kingdom he shows how it is possible to get valuable information from your audience.
If you want to get inspiration for an interview frame for audience research or get arguments why a qualitative approach to audience research and art management is needed just follow this link and be enlightened.