From the Director

Dear Friend of the Performing Arts:

From time to time I receive programming ideas and always take them very seriouslyb_vaughn_staff.jpg. To some it may seem that I do not share their preference, but most often I do appreciate these suggestions.  To be accountable and successful, however, I have developed and refined a process over my forty years of experience.  This prevents me from being capricious or arbitrary.  Selection can occur quickly for a particularly popular event at a good price in route, but often presentation can take up to six or seven years to reach the stage, since there are literally thousands of amazing possibilities, and the process takes time.  I thought it would be useful to provide you this information so that you can better understand.

I evaluate each idea and determine the degree to which it satisfies certain criteria before investigating further, but I never expect that an event will satisfy them all.  The following criteria are in no particular order, since discovery occurs in a timetable unique to each artist or company and often at rather far-flung locations.  They include: 

  • the technical ability of the artist or company;
  • the ability of the artists to stimulate an emotional response;
  • content that challenges the intellect, elicits memories or provides a sort of measuring stick to compare and contrast life experience;
  • pure entertainment value;
  • the company’s history of having stood the test of time or having achieved honorific status;
  • fame;
  • the credibility of the artist’s management (booking agent, producer, publicist, etc.)
  • relevance to a particular ethnicity or culture,
  • other focused interest, or community relevance;
  • balance in artistic genres, such as dance, theatre, or music;
  • economic viability;
  • success of previous engagements in our market and other similar markets;
  • the availability of quality marketing materials;
  • content and residency possibilities to help us engage and develop new audiences or relate to the University academic mission ;
  • our ability to successfully meet technical requirements;
  • whether the experience is already or soon likely to be available in our market;
  • a variety of scheduling considerations, such as proximity to major community and campus events, major holidays, days of the week, distance between events; relative ease of parking opportunities, and
  • the impact on staff workload. 

Through the use of this process I hope to gain your trust –especially in the support of the adventurous or unfamiliar.  Please show support when possible, and join me in this celebration of performing arts. Ah, the magic of live performance!

Bob Vaughn, Director
Sangamon Auditorium, University of Illinois Springfield