Zeiterion Performing Arts Center: Community Perception Study

Image of the front of the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center

Team: Surale Phillips

The Zeiterion PAC, a restored historic theatre in New Bedford, Massachusetts, selected WolfBrown through a competitive RFP process to assess internal and external perceptions of the organization in regards to its work on diversity, equity, and inclusion. WolfBrown was selected based on the team’s deep knowledge and experience in the performing arts field, community engagement experience, familiarity with the region, as well as its approach to collaborating with community partners on research.

In the RPF, The Zeiterion acknowledged its complicity in maintaining systemic racism within the performing arts as a primarily white-led organization. It also stated its commitment to a lifetime practice of anti-racism and sought research to identify external opinion and perception of the organization as an equitable and accessible space, current affiliations, gaps in community partnership, and barriers to attendance.

WolfBrown consultants worked with staff to refine research questions, develop a mixed-methods research plan, and implement the project. The research was informed by interviews and surveys of board members and staff to compare internal and external opinions.

The mixed-methodology study consisted of quantitative surveying, qualitative focus groups, and individual interviews. This approach provided an opportunity to triangulate results from different sources and arrive at themes built on multiple perspectives. Building on the early internal research with the board and staff, we established 10 metrics for measurement across all internal and external stakeholder groups. These groups included board and staff, ticket-buyers, leaders of community-based organizations, and local individuals with no ticket-purchase history. Following delivery of the research report, board and staff members met to discuss next steps in their institutional journey towards greater diversity, equity and inclusion.