Evaluation Plan: dog & pony dc’s Beertown
Beertown is a live-performance, guided in part by audience participation and feedback. The attached evaluation tools and results give insight into dog & pony dc’s evaluative approach, guided by Beertown director, Rachel Grossman. Survey instruments were modeled after Theatre Bay Area’s intrinsic impact assessment work that measures the effect of live performance on audience from a variety of different aspects including social/communal, intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic. More about this work can be found in their publication, Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art. One of the show’s many goals is to “devise a theatrical event that engages audiences in practiced acts of civic participation.” The live-performance is complimented by social media companion pieces that allow for pre- and post-performance engagement. People can learn more about the work and contribute to the description of its present-day form on Beertown’s website and Facebook page. Dog & pony dc employ post-performance surveys by email in order to assess their artistic and social goals as well as to understand how audience engagement affects both attendees and the overall performance. Guided by the formation, preservation, and deterioration of community, Beertown examines how we actively participate in the shaping of our history. Through dog & pony dc’s focus on integrating audience into the fabric of a performance, the audience members become residents of Beertown over the course of the performance. This allows audiences to participate first-hand in acts of artistic civic engagement. Ultimately the audience participates in a debate and final decision about the way Beertown will be remembered for the next five years. Beertown is started each night by the members of dog & pony dc, but shaped in the end by the audience. Every performance is unique in part due to artistic content, but predominantly because of audience composition. Beertown was conceived of, scripted, and produced 100% by a collective group of artists. dog & pony dc is an ensemble of artists who devise innovative performances that incorporate new ways for audiences to experience theater. They create productions that are visceral and unexpected with a lingering impact. Visit their “awesome blog.” Rachel Grossman was a contributor to Animating Democracy’s Social Impact and Evaluation Blog Salon and wrote about the development of and evaluative approaches used with Beertown. Language for this annotation was taken from Beertown’s artistic statement.