This case study examines the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s efforts to attract teens and young adults. It is the product of multiple interviews with key staff and analysis of program elements, budgets, and planning documents.
To shift young people’s perceptions of ballet from stuffy to stimulating, Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) took a multi-pronged approach. This case study examines the company’s efforts.
The article is part of a set of case studies and reports looking at the efforts of arts organizations that received Wallace Excellence Awards to reach new audiences and deepen relationships with current ones. The pieces examine projects at 10 of the 54 organizations that received WEA grants between 2006 and 2014.
A 2018 update shows how PNB has turned this successful approach to draw more 20- to 40-year-olds to its performances.
In 2005, PNB set about building teen and young adult audiences. That meant reshaping their views, a long-term proposition.
With that in mind, PNB addressed the problem partially by overhauling its external communications, website, and social media activity. That included:
At the same time, PNC introduced programs that would appeal to their target audience, such as:
PNB’s Facebook fan base rose from 2,000 to more than 90,000 in less than five years. In addition, over a four-year period, PNB’s ticket sales to teens more than doubled. And the number of teen and young adult visitors who made two or more visits per season increased by more than 60 percent over five years.