The Summer Theatre Audience
The Summer Theatre audience is an essential part of the operation's success. This is true both in terms of financial support and their appreciation of theatrical productions. According to Kevin Neuharth, "the fact that we get an audience that we recognize when they come to a show, . . . that’s the coolest thing in the world . . . . I recognize audience members outside of Summer Theatre and, you know, we can carry on a conversation, we can talk about things, and the fact that they support theatre because of Summer Theatre. That’s what it [Summer Theatre] means to me.
To learn more about the Summer Theatre audience, a voluntary survey with five demographic questions was conducted during the final two performances of Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn during the 2014 survey. The response was low; only 34 individuals completed the survey, a sample which is not necessarily representative of the entire MSU Summer Theatre audience.
Question #1 asked about how the survey respondents had heard about Summer Theatre. Six options were provided, and individuals were allowed to choose more than one option for this question. The pie chart illustrates the selections made, revealing that "friends/family" was the option most frequently chosen, followed by "newspaper."
This reveals that word-of-mouth communication remains a viable way of publicizing the Summer Theatre Program. According to Neuharth, "I constantly hear those things, people would say 'We're going to Summer Theatre,' and somebody who has lived in Minot all their life says 'What's that?' And then soon they bring them and now they're hooked."
The second question asked how long the survey respondent had been attending Summer Theatre. While the most common response was "1-5 years," as nine respondents selected this option, the breakdown was fairly even across all categories.
The third question asked for the gender of the survey respondents, revealing that 26 women completed the survey, while only 8 men did. These numbers may reflect peculiarities as to which individuals in the audience chose to complete the survey, so they cannot be used as a clear indication of the gender distribution in Summer Theatre audiences.
The fourth question asked the respondents to identify which age category they belonged to (under 18, 18-35, 36-55, and 56 and above). Seventeen of the 34 respondents identified themselves as falling within the 56 and above age category.
The final survey question asked the audience member to identify the region he or she was from. Unsurprisingly, 30 of the respondents were from Minot, while only three were from other cities in the state, and one identified himself or herself as coming from Poland.