Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pinterest for theatre and dance

Today I decided it was time to explore what Pinterest was about, as it's been all over my twitter feed and marketing news. I had a good go at filling up some my boards, but still need to find more people to follow and decide on what exactly I want to put on there: check out my profile. I am a marketeer, so my first thought is 'what would work on this platform?'

Pinterest lets you organize and share stuff (images mostly) you find on the web. People use pinboards to organise their images around themes. You can follow people and specific pinboards. It's a pretty neat way of sharing what you like and discover new stuff.

As I was pinning away, I realised that this would very much be a cool new channel for venues. Any company that is already on instagram (eg the London's Royal Opera House) or flickr (eg London's Southbank Centre) could easily create boards based on their existing images.

Pinterest would also work for individual artists. I love following dancers on twitter. My favourite is the Bolshoi and American Ballet Theatre principal David Hallberg. He is not the most communicative on there, in that he doesn't really use it for conversation, but his broadcasting is always interesting and gives good insight into his artist's mind. From his profile, I've learnt that he loves contemporary choreographers Crystal Pite and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Handel's Messiah, the photography of Weegee and that Fred Astaire inspired him to dance as a child. I think that Pinterest would work really well for artists like him to share their wide range of interests and inspirations in a more visual way.

I think Pinterest can also be a great tool for theatre and dance companies when they are working on a new project. I am lucky to work for a venue that is presenting UK company Complicite's new production of The Master and Margarita this year. One of the first pictures we got from them was a shot of a wall in their office that was covered with pictures, designs and drawings related to the production - a mood board, in a way. Pinterest would be perfect to recreate it online and help share the inspiration and ideas that have shaped the piece.

A Younger Theatre's Jake Orr is currently documenting the rehearsal process of theatre company Dirty Market Company on a great tumblr, as it prepares for a new show. One of his recent post was about source material and how directors/performers surround themselves and draw from such materials: sharing it via a Pinterest board would be really interesting I think.

San Francisco Ballet creates boards with 'imagery that conjures up the feel and spirit' of a particular ballet. Dance is such a difficult artform to describe, so this is a fantastic idea. Check out what they've done for John Cranko's Onegin and the new work Francesca di Rimini (by Yuri Possokhov).

So many theatre or dance works that I see could use both these ideas: sharing inspiration and giving a feel of what the piece is like.

I know that people currently just pin things they like, with fashion and food some very popular topics, but I can also see the educational value of Pinterest, especially in visual arts. It can be used to compare works and show links between artists: who has referred to whom, which one has drawn inspiration from that one etc...

As I was adding pins to my Pedro Almodovar board (I love this director), I really got into it and started thinking 'I should do a board of Almodovar inspirations, comparing some of his shots with Hitchock or Manckiewicz! I should do a board of Almodovar shots of women on the phone! I should do a board of Almodovar film shots with the colour red in them!'. My, it could get messy.

I can't wait to see how big arts institutions and companies will be using this new platform (if at all - it may not  go anywhere, who knows at this stage?). Anyone seen any good examples? Let me know!

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