City Lights: Inspiring audiences through radical hospitality

Prioritizing audience engagement is nothing new for San Jose’s City Lights Theater Company. In fact, the theater, which invites guests and actors to connect with one another at themed stage parties after every performance, prides itself on practicing radical hospitality and experimenting with new ways of making their guests feel at home and inspired. 

From putting up fun photo booths in the theater lobby to giving patrons show-themed gifts that encourage self-expression, City Lights has been using the Creating Connection framework to test new ways to engage with their audience.

With more than two-thirds of patrons feeling more inspired as a result of attending their events, it seems to be paying off.

Get Inspired

Hear from Executive Artistic Director Lisa Mallette to learn more about City Lights, their audience engagement practices, and the impact they’re having in the San Jose theater community.  

How can I replicate this?

Applying the Creating Connection framework is easy! You can download tools to get started telling stories that help people grow, give our communities a voice, and contribute to people's happiness and well-being. 

This case study was made possible by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, and the #408Creates program. Leadership support was provided by Metropolitan Group and Arts Midwest.

Special thanks to City Lights Theater Company. Video by Gleidson Martins of News Up Now. Banner image courtesy of City Lights Theater Company.