Assessing The Intrinsic Impacts of a Live Performance

Alan Brown, with Jennifer L. Novak-Leonard

January 2007

The ”Assessing the Intrinsic Impacts of a Live Performance” study attempts to define and measure how audiences are transformed by a live performance. Its research design consisted of a pair of questionnaires—one administered in-venue just prior to curtain, and the other sent home with the respondent and mailed back.

The first questionnaire collected information about the audiences’ mental and emotional preparedness for the performance. The second questionnaire, related to the first by a control number, investigated a range of reactions to the specific performance, including captivation, intellectual stimulation, emotional resonance, spiritual value, aesthetic growth, and social bonding. Between January and May 2006, six presenters surveyed audiences at a total of 19 performances representing a cross-section of music, dance, and theatre presentations.

This report builds on recent literature to address several hypotheses:

  • The intrinsic impacts derived from attending a live performance can be measured.
  • Different types of performances create different sets of impacts.
  • An audience member’s “readiness-to-receive” the art affects the impacts received.

    The study develops a simple measurement tool to assess impact, provides an analytical framework for considering the results, and suggests how performing arts presenters might begin to use this information to select programs that create specific benefits for their constituents.

Read the full report


More Reports

2022 Impact Report: Literary Arts Emergency Fund

WolfBrown conducted a comprehensive study of the Literary Arts Emergency Fund—a Mellon-funded initiative that awarded $7.8 million to 376 literary arts organizations and small publishers that had been >>

Olney Culture Lab: Reflections from The Olney Embrace Project

Catherine Reed Holochwost

January 5, 2023

“Olney Culture Lab was blessed to have started from the seeds of collaboration. It blossomed from nothing but the joy of camaraderie and community in 2014. Since then, >>

With Freedom of Soul to Do and Be: A Longitudinal Study of Young Musicians in Carnegie Hall’s NYO2 Orchestra

Team: Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf, Henry Clapp, Dr. Steven John Holochwost, Matthew Garcia, and Haeun Moon The air is full of commitments to increasing diversity, inclusion, and belonging >>