“Here we go, Rembrandt, here we go!” – Fans (who cheer) or audiences (who hear)?

“HOLD THAT NOTE! HOLD THAT NOTE!”

“PUSH ‘EM BACK! PUSH ‘EM BACK! NOW STEP, TOUCH, JETÉ AND HOLD!”

“S-C-E-N-E, SCEE-EEENE, SCEE-EEENE!”

Years ago, I sat in the third-to-top row of an NFL stadium with an artistic director friend.  First game of the season. Even people behind us were screaming their heads off and waving their foam fingers.  And the experience was more personally meaningful to them than many arts experiences I’ve loved.

Sports fans no more control the action of a game than arts fans do a play or concert. But they’re encouraged to be blitheringly engaged. And all too often, arts fans are encouraged to sit back and relax. Or shut up and listen. Like a lecture at school.

We wondered, can arts organizations find ways to encourage blithering? Or are we too clubby for that?

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