Books and Magazines — March 11, 2012 at 3:33 am

March 22, 2012 – Book – Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art

For Immediate Release

March 5, 2012

Contact: Alli Houseworth





(San Francisco, CA) Theatre Bay Area and the research firm WolfBrown are pleased to announce the completion of the book Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art. The book contains the final report of “Measuring the Intrinsic Impact of Live Theatre,” and interviews with more than 20 prominent artistic directors in the United States, and essays by industry thought-leaders Diane Ragsdale, Arlene Goldbard, Rebecca Novick, and more. A book tour will launch March 12 in Chicago, and will visit eight cities in the United States including Minneapolis, Boston, New York, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art is now available for purchase at Also available on the site are the executive summary of the work and interview excerpts, available free of charge.

Counting New Beans: Intrinsic Impact and the Value of Art contains the results of a two-year nationwide research study called “Measuring the Intrinsic Impact of Live Theatre” that looked at 18 theatre companies and 58 productions in six cities across the United States in an effort to increase the field’s understanding of what seeing a piece of theatre actually does to audiences emotionally, intellectually, and empathetically. It the largest study ever conducted on intrinsic impact. Over 20,000 survey responses were collected and analyzed. The results of the findings, along with 24 interviews with theatre leaders and patrons from across the United States, including Susan Atkinson, Keith Baker, Anne Bogart, Dudley Cocke, David Dower, Oskar Eustis, Steven Glaudini, Taylor Greenthal, Rachel Grossman, Todd Haimes, David Kilpatrick, Jessica Kubzansky, Martha Lavey, Barry Levine, Rob Melrose, Bonnie Metzgar, Michael Michetti, Terrence Nolen, Diane Paulus, Jill Rafson, Bill Rauch, Jack Reuler, Michael Rohd, Howard Shalwitz, Tony Taccone, Sarah Taines, Sydni Taines and Sixto Wagan are included in the book, along with a foreword by Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and introduction by Brad Erickson, Executive Director of Theatre Bay Area.

“We are so pleased to release this major report to the field, and to help spark a nationwide conversation about the true value of art,” says Project Manager Clayton Lord, “We are grateful to the many foundations, arts service organizations, theatre staff, and industry leaders who helped make this landmark work possible.”


Some highlights of the results of the study include:

  • High response rates (45%, on average) suggest that theatre patrons are willing, able and ready to provide meaningful feedback on their artistic experiences.
  • Results bring to light what might be considered the central riddle of impact:  On average, single-ticket buyers report significantly higher impacts than subscribers.
  • The top three motivations for why patrons attend theatre are “to relax and escape,” “to be emotionally moved,” and “to discover something new.”
  • Women reported higher impacts than men across all 58 productions, in particular feeling “emotionally charged” after a performance, and “reflecting on one’s opinions.” This may be because women are likely to be the primary decision makers on attending, and decision makers reported higher levels of context and familiarity, and are more likely to prepare.
  • Reading previews, reviews, and social media comments prior to attending has a small but significant effect on increasing anticipation levels.
  • People who express a higher level of familiarity with the story, cast, and playwright also expressed higher levels of anticipation for the performance.


Starting March 12, project manager Clayton Lord and lead researcher Alan Brown will be traveling to cities across the country to give free public presentations about the final results of the study. The presentation will also include discussions about the interviews with artistic leaders and patrons included in the book, the changing relationship of artists and audiences, and the implications of the research. Members of the public can attend these presentations free of charge, but must RSVP to the addresses provided below. The tour schedule is as follows:

  • Philadelphia, PA
    Friday, March 23; 10am-12:30pm
    Arden Theatre
    RSVP to

A complete list of panelists will be published on

If you are a member of the press and wish to attend one of these events,
please RSVP to Alli Houseworth at


Alan Brown is a leading researcher and management consultant in the nonprofit arts industry. His work focuses on understanding consumer demand for cultural experiences and helping cultural institutions, foundations, and agencies see new opportunities, make informed decisions, and respond to changing conditions. His studies have introduced new vocabulary to the lexicon of cultural participation and propelled the field towards a clearer view of the rapidly changing cultural landscape. Alan serves in a volunteer capacity on the Research Advisory Council of the League of American Orchestras, and has served on the organizing committee of the National Arts Marketing Project annual conference since its inception. He speaks frequently at conferences in the US and Canada, as well as the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Prior to his consulting career, Alan served for five years as Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, where he presented Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and many other artists. He holds three degrees from the University of Michigan: a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Music in Arts Administration, and a Bachelor of Musical Arts in vocal performance.

Clayton Lord is the director of communications & audience development at Theatre Bay Area, one of the country’s largest regional arts service organizations, which is devoted to uniting, strengthening, promoting, and advancing the theatre community of the San Francisco Bay Area. At Theatre Bay Area, he oversees communications, marketing, audience development, research, and advertising. He is the project director for Measuring the Intrinsic Impact of Live Theatre, the national intrinsic impact study, and also runs Bay Area Free Night of Theater, the Bay Area Arts & Culture Census, and the Leveraging Social Media program with Beth Kanter. Along with in-house research, Theatre Bay Area’s research program has commissioned work from Target Resource Group, Enertex Marketing, and WolfBrown, among others. Clay was a founding member of Project Audience and currently sits on the conference planning committees for the National Arts Marketing Project and the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations. He writes for Theatre Bay Area magazine and, has contributed to American Theatre, Stage Directions, InDance,, ARTSblog, Art Works, and, and has presented at the TCG, NAMP, and APASO conferences, among others. He holds a BA from Georgetown University in English and Psychology. You can read his blog, New Beans, on new art for new audiences, at, and follow him on Twitter @claytonlord.

The Intrinsic Impact project, commissioned from WolfBrown by Theatre Bay Area, is generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grants, the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, the California Theatre Network via the California Arts Commission, Theatre Development Fund, A.R.T./New York, Arts Midwest, the LA Stage Alliance, theatreWashington, and the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia.


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