Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Performing arts -- Public relations;


This study seeks to determine how public relations is practiced in the not-for-profit professional resident theatre and determine if the style of practice in use is the most advantageous for the current environment. The study examines literature in three areas: General public relations, public relations in the not-for-profit world, and oublic relations in theatre management. During analysis of this material, the practice of public relations in the not-for-profit professional resident theatre is placed within the framework of Grunig's four models of public relations. According to Grunig, if selling tickets is the goal, then theatre should fit within the first model, the press agentry/publicity model. This model is characterized by the use of propaganda, practice of one-way communication with the message coming from the organization to the public; use of little or no research except ticket counting, and few formal evaluation methods. Analysis of the literature supports this conclusion.

The idea is then advanced, supported by the literature review, that practice of a more sophisticated model of public relations--the two-way symmetrical model--would be beneficial to theatre. This model uses two-way communication balanced in its origination points between the organization and the public, and places high priority on research and evaluation.

To test this conclusion, a case study of a representative theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, was conducted. The study involved a review of current promotional and other written materials and personal interviews with the theatre's public relations director and the managing d1rector. Findings determined that although Playhouse management voiced a concern (and written goals agreed) for the theatre to maintain a presence in the community, promoting the artistic, cultural literacy, and educational life of the area, few systems were in place to ensure that result. There were no formal evaluation methods in use for productions or overall organizational performance, nor were there any research methods in place. The only formal method for measuring success was found to be ticket counting. This finding suggested that Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park currently practices public relations fitting the press agentry/publicity model although their published goals-call for practice of the two-way symmetric model.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Theatre


Department of Communication and Theatre Arts

First Advisor

Dean Kruckeberg


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (141 pages)



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