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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Orange Hats, Phase III: The Grahamstown test

I will forgo the narrative and instead provide a quick inventory of the Grahamstown experience.

Project related slang generated:
Orange Hats (as the vernacular name of the project/group)
Orange Hatting (reviewing)

What worked:

One-on-one conversations
Infiltrating pre-existing conversations
One-on-one dissemination of audience crit./feedback in the Village Green
Orange ribbons/hats increasing visibility and prompting curiosity
Orange ribbons/hats prompting critical discussion of shows
Our pitch (pitching the project to interested parties)

What didn't work:

Soap-boxing (increased knowledge of the project/visibility at fest could change this)
A core group of 8 reviewers (we need more people on the ground)
Coordinator as reviewer (we need a person or group of people to organize comp. tickets, a schedule of reviews, etc.)
Archiving (we need a team that consistently compiles Analog Blog review and audience review)
Other commitments (we were all involved in shows - next year I plan to run this project without competing engagements with a much larger team)

Missed Opportunities/Untapped Resources:

Advertisement in NAF literature
Advertisement in The Cue
NAF blogs
Rhodes radio
Friends of the Analog Blog and The New Joburg Underground (as reviewers, promoters, etc.)
The Village Green (not enough presence)
Major watering holes: The Long Table, Pirates' House of Pizza, The Rat and Parrot, Mad Hatters (no presence)

From The National Arts Festival we received:

Formal sanction to run our project
Letters of media accreditation
4 Photographer passes (she was worried she was going to run out of 'Media' passes)
Complimentary tickets (no more than 2 per show)
Contacts for The Cue, the NAF bloggers, Rhodes' radio

From The Cue we received:

A feature article with photo coverage of our review of I Am My Own Wife.

People we met who are interested in supporting and developing the Analog Blog:

Gilly Hemphill - National Arts Festival, The Famous Idea Trading Co.: head of media and public relations (NAF)
Adrienne Sichel - The Star: Tonight, South Africa's most experienced theatre and dance critic
Nike Jonah - Arts Council England: Senior Diversity Officer, Decibel Project Manager

(All three have followed up post-Grahamstown, and we are currently investigating future relationships)

And now Orange Hats continues in Johannesburg...

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