New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
March 19, 2015

Listening to Audience Feedback

Written by Jamie O'Brien, Assistant Director of Digital Services

An email goes out after every New Victory public performance. It contains two evergreen questions:
Share one thing we did that helped you enjoy your visit and one thing that we could have done to make it better.
That email is step one in a process that turns digital feedback into real world action items for our staff. As the Assistant Director of Digital Services, it's a process that combines all sorts of things I like to geek out on: smart use of technology, automation and integration across data platforms, evaluating success based on specific customer comments and challenging one's self to continuously improve. Transparency is the name of the game, so, to me, it's also an essential step that we provide glimpses into what happens after you hit "Submit" on the feedback survey and send your thoughts our way.

Comments cover many topics.Your comments land in the inbox of almost every full-time staff member connected to New Victory public performances. A daily report that includes all responses, verbatim, arrives each morning, plus we recap per-production trends. If your feedback after the first weekend points to easy improvements, like re-calibrating temperature or music volume, we simply take care of it. Anyone requesting information or in need of customer service hears from a Ticket Services manager. Larger topics that emerge become agenda items for department meetings and Senior Staff-level discussions.

While the responses are themselves anecdotal, I log some quality spreadsheet time in order to track trends. Each answer gets tallied by theme—and even on days when the rows start to blur together, it's a pretty great task since you're quite generous with the compliments: Even on the "could improve" side, 40+% of people answer like Karen F did, aka "Not a thing, truly." Artistic choices, the staff, the amenities and the Public Engagement activities dominate the "things we did well" thoughts. Suggestions are heart-felt too, covering everything from wishing the Talk-Back could be longer to wishing the family in front of you had gotten a babysitter for their 2-year-old instead of bringing him to an opera recommended for 8+...

Your feedback—compliment or complaint—lets us know where we're succeeding and where there are still gaps in our efforts to provide family-friendly entertainment in a family-friendly environment. Here are two examples of how we've made changes based on your comments:

"It might have been nice to have a glossary of terms in the playbill explaining some of the culture and traditions of Jamaica." - Daryl L
Daryl saw Bob Marley's Three Little Birds during one of its first performances here last season. We loved the idea—and had the website updated and a blog ready midweek, and a poster up in the theater for the weekend.

"The line for snacks was so long that by the time we were served, intermission was over." - Pamela R
It's important to fin-ish your snack before Intermission ends!It's no fun to buy animal crackers only to have to stow them away before Act II because crinkling bags aren't a good addition to the show's sound design. That's why you'll see an extra Usher ringing up your order next time you line up for a bite between acts.

We're still contemplating the great unsolved mysteries of 2015 family theatergoing—late seating disruptions, glowing smart phones, tall parents seated in front of short children (and tall children in front of short parents—hi Mom!), etc.—but I'll return to post another progress report in the Spring.

In the meantime, you've got a standing invitation to share your thoughts with us. Add a note in the comments, tweet @NewVictory, click on the survey link in your next post-show email or send us an email. I really, truly look forward to it—and so does the rest of the staff at The New Victory.

Jamie O'BrienJamie O'Brien is the Assistant Director of Digital Services for The New 42nd Street and has been wrapped up in all things email, website and digital for The New Victory since 2007. She reads every piece of submitted feedback at least twice. She is luckily a few inches taller than her mother.

Posted by Jamie O'Brien
New Vic Education Department
Dear Anna,

Thank you so much for writing to us. We are so sorry that you had such a negative experience with your class at the theater yesterday. As a theater that presents works for New York City kids, and their accompanying adults (in your case, teachers), it is always our goal to make sure that every visit to the New Vic is one that sparks delight and a life-long love for the performing arts. We greatly apologize that your theater-going experience didn’t live up to that expectation. We would like to discuss this incident further and are reaching out to you via email now.

-New Vic Education Department
2/16/2018 3:57:52 PM

Dear New Victory Theater,

Today I went to the performance of Bromance with my class. We were all expecting, even my teacher, for a fun, lively, kid friendly experience. We were quite disappointed and grossed out instead. For me it was the stripping of clothes, the towel on face-armpit-face, and the foot in the privates. Other people had different opinions. We were also quite disappointed about the audience in front of us. They kept standing up, whispering, and popping gum really loudly. EXCEPT it got quite personal with me.3 or 4 boys in front of me, from before the show even started, and to after the end were asking me to be their girlfriend, saying I was hot and sexy, and more stuff along those lines. These boys were only about 8, 9, or 10, not much older than I. I hope you will change the fact that inappropriate things are happening in your theater.

I would have e-mailed you about this directly and privately, but there is no e-mail on your web site.

P.S. 321, Brooklyn
2/15/2018 9:29:18 PM

karel van Aggelen
I enjoyed The Chinease Acrobats in Dec. A Beautiful, clean theatre , it was my birthday gift to myself . I understand the ushers are immune to the rambunctiousness of children but some basic enforcement was required . This is a grand opportunity to educate children in theatre etiquette . They will make better audiences in later life . I have come very close to fisticuffs with boorish adults in other theatres - texting and running commentary are quite annoying at $150 a tkt . Thanks for a grand show - I'll be back for more circus .
3/21/2015 2:58:23 AM

thank you- this was a really informative blog post!

i grew up in nyc in the 70s and 80s and spent a lot of time in the theater with my parents. now that i have my own child it makes me very happy to be able to take him to see such great shows at the new victory theater.
3/20/2015 10:38:18 AM

 Security code