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October 1, 2014 | Theatre,

A Downtown Home for the city of Boston

As we launch our Fifth Anniversary Season, we want to go wide with our commitment to being a downtown home for the entire city of Boston. At ArtsEmerson we are working put the diversity of the world on stage and the diversity of our city in the audience, and to let the conversation between the art an the audience grow out of that. This season we are kicking off this public commitment with some transparency around our audience data.

It is our goal to have every singled work in our season reach every single zip code in the city, proper, and as much of the region as possible. It’s a big goal, and a focusing one. We begin tonight, with the opening night of Traces. We will be sharing with our readers how we are doing around it on a regular basis.

The Baseline

To get a sense of where we were beginning, we started with the opening night crowd of one of last seasons most attended shows, Man in a Case, which featured Mikhail Baryshnikov. Below are two images showing how that audience looked on a map. Each pin on the map represents an zip code of at least one audience member. As you can see from the legend in the lower right corner, the red pins are the zip codes most represented in the audience and the purple pins are least represented. No pin means nobody from that zip code attended. You can click on the images and a larger version will open so you can take a better look.

Here’s a wide look at the Boston area…


Here is a closer look at Boston…


The map shows solid representation from the Fenway, JP, the South End, and the suburbs outside the city. It’s worth noting that is by no means 100% representative of the audience opening night. Not every ticket has a zip code attached to it – so it’s fair to assume that some areas on the map were more represented than they seem. However, it goes give a good general idea of the audience make-up.

Now let’s look at Traces. These numbers are as of the morning of Wednesday, October 1 – opening night! Knowing that we wanted a real sense of who was in the Majestic opening night, our box office staff went the extra mile to collect zip codes from people buying and reserving tickets.

The Metro Area 

TracesZipCodes_MetroAreaA closer look at Boston…


Not a bad start! We can already see an increase in the number of zip codes present in the audience and an increase of red pins in the city – specifically in Chinatown and Dorchester. Of the zip codes we collected –  02124 tops the list with 68 tickets!

But this is just the beginning! If we are truly to become a downtown home to the entire city of Boston, every audience should be a gathering of neighbors from every zip code. We believe that when global diversity on stage meets local diversity in the audience, at the intersection we find ourselves and our city. As the season continues we will continue to be transparent with our audience make up so that you can hold us accountable for the commitment we made.

We are so looking forward to meeting you – both in our theaters and in the neighborhoods!

4 responses to “A Downtown Home for the city of Boston”

  1. Louis Tammaro says:

    TRACES. I was there on opening night and all I can say is WOW!!!! Exceptional dance and aerobics. All the cast was talented and a whole and also as individuals. I didn’t want it to end. Thank You for bringing such performances to Boston.

  2. Lauren Shaw says:

    The performance last night was spectacular. The choreography unbelievable, and the presence of each character and their desire for traces was palpable. Thank you ArtsEmerson.

  3. Ron Mallis says:

    Awesome (assuming the word has any meaning left in it), along with moving, along with crazed. The performers are all in their early- to mid-20’s — which, to me, isn’t anywhere near enough years for them to have responded to not only the physical but the emotional challenges inherent in the work. Obviously, I’m mistaken. I only wish they could be in residence here in Boston — and, if not, then come back for a second visit during this season. Will see them again before they vanish.

  4. Hana says:

    Great choreography, amazing acrobatics, great music, likable performers, great chemistry, nerve-wracking performances. When I looked around (not much time to do that), I saw pride, awe, and Love! I am sure if the performers gave away also their phone numbers, their phones would be ringing constantly. Who did you vote for?

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