Dionysus To The Apollo


Airdate: September 5, 2018

Lynne Conner is professor of theater arts and chair of the Department of Theater at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is a theater and dance historian, cultural policy theorist and playwright. Lynne has written extensively on audience engagement and the creation of meaning in the arts, and has won numerous awards for her playwriting and directing. Her most recent book is Audience Engagement and the Role of Arts Talk in the Digital Era. Lynne’s most recent play, THE MOTHER, is a 2018 Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center National Playwright’s Conference Semi-finalist. Before joining the UNC Charlotte faculty in 2016, Lynne was professor and chair of the Theater and Dance Department at Colby College. She earned a B.A. in English Literature from Oberlin College, an M.A. in Theatre Arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a Ph.D. in Theatre History and Performance Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. 

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in audience engagement, the history of audience behavior, meaning making, theater, and interpretation of the arts.


  • Lynne describes her work as a cultural historian, playwright and professor, and applying the history of the arts to the practice of the arts.

  • She defines the terms social interpretation, arts experience and arts talk.

  • She explains the consequence of quieted audiences.

  • Lynne explains the difference between linear and circular patterns of communication.

  • She addresses whether any work of art can be considered great if audiences are not actively interpreting art.

  • Lynne considers whether the decline in audience interpretation makes art less meaningful and shares what arts organizations can do to help audiences make meaning.

  • She answers what was defining about her childhood, why she is attracted to theater and how her scholarship evolved.

  • She talks about what meaning means and connects interpreting the arts to interpreting the meaning of our lives.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Making Meaning

To Learn More About Lynne


  • What struck you about Lynne's comments?

  • What is your audience experience with the arts?

  • What audience behavior do you prefer?

  • What does meaning mean to you?

We invite your posts on our Facebook page.

This episode is sponsored by Blumenthal Performing Arts, celebrating its 25th year presenting the best in performing arts. 

Further support is provided by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, one of America’s leading urban public libraries, delivering exceptional services and programs, with a mission to improve lives and build a stronger community. 

And by the Arts & Science Council, Charlotte-Mecklenburg's resource hub and lead advocate for the regional cultural community, providing Culture for All.

Additional support is provided by the UNC College of Arts + Architecture, celebrating a decade of creative education in the arts and design.