Why Twitter?

I often forget that there are a lot of people out there who don't use Twitter or other forms of social media. Some people just don't want to learn, but many simply don't see the use in it. It's for those latter people that I write this post. Here are the top 5 reasons I use Twitter:

Customer Service Thanks to a program like Tweetdeck, I track specific keywords related to my business and my day job. Thanks to this tracking system, I caught a conversation where someone said they used to be subscribers to the Great Canadian Theatre Company but hadn't been in years because they saw a "terrible Joni Mitchell play" that made them lose interest. This play was produced almost 8 years ago and a lot has changed at the theatre since then, including a move to our new location on Wellington Street.

I immediately got in touch with this person to offer them free tickets to opening night of our next production (which at the time was blood.claat: one ooman story). He was shocked that someone would actually take the time to listen to a complaint, gladly accepted my offer and had a wonderful time at the theatre with his fiancé.

Twitter made it possible for me to discover that such a complaint existed and do something about it.

First Hand News Coverage Though the information can at times be incorrect (see for example "Gordon Lightfoot is dead" hoax), for the most part Twitter has been a great place for me to get first hand, breaking news on a variety of topics. For instance, it was on Twitter that I first learned about Charles McFarland stepping down as Artistic Associate with Third Wall Theatre (I was also the first to Tweet it back) and how I found out about the City of Ottawa's Arts & Heritage Cultural Advisory Meeting, a discovery that has led to some very interesting research at work. Lots of events will also live tweet what's going on for those who cannot be there. That's how I knew all about the National Arts Centre's French and English Theatre season launches.

New Connections Twitter has served as an introduction to many theatre practitioners in Canada and across the world. Thanks to this introduction, whenever I've found myself in a different city like Montreal or Toronto, I've had the opportunity to meet these people and make new business connections. I've also been able to meet some great people in Ottawa as well. People like @suzemuse, @cherylgain & @snobiwan among others.

Stay Connected Many of my "real life" friends are on Twitter. This gives me an opportunity to stay connected and see what they are currently doing. This has led to easy spontaneous meetings for coffee or drinks. If you're not following them already, you should say hello to @patgauthier, @HMsurfacing, @nadinethornhill, @SterlingLynch, @evanthornton, @catrionaleger among many many many others. Oh and @krisjoseph is always good for a laugh, but you probably knew that already.

Contests There is always someone having some sort of contest on Twitter and sometimes a quick reply is all it takes. So far I've won movie & theatre tickets, Easter Brunch @CanadasNAC & free passes to @ottawafolk. and those are the only things I can think of right now off the top of my head.

Again, these are my own personal reasons for using Twitter. What are some of yours?

Toronto Tweetup

People thought I was weird when I told them that I would be meeting some friends in Toronto, friends that I had never once met in person. "You like, met them online or something?"

Yup, that's exactly right.

Digital media (just for you, Amanda!) and Twitter in particular has given me the wonderful opportunity to reach out and connect with theatre practitioners from across the country. It's taken networking to a whole other level.

Unless they are located in Ottawa, chances are I've never met these people. We've read each other's blogs and About pages, we've had conversations at 2 a.m., and we've figured out mutual friends, but there's never been a face-to-face. The odd thing is, even though I don't "know" them in the present sense, it still feels like I "know" them, you know? Friendships that develop from 140 characters or less.

When two such wonderful people heard I was coming down to their Toronto stomping grounds, we immediately decided that it would be time to meet. In nerdy terms, we decided to have "Tweetup". It's exactly what you think it is. Twitter buddies having a meet-up.

It was awesome and exciting! I think we all felt like we were going on some sort of blind date. What should I wear? Will they like me? Will we still have stuff to talk about in person? (Answer: Black turtleneck, yes, and definitely yes!)

We had some amazing conversations about theatre and social media (sorry Amanda!). I learned a lot about the Toronto scene (including info about a company who's online presence makes me very curious), they seemed impressed with the one in Ottawa. I've got a place to stay in downtown TO whenever I go back and I may have someone willing to do new headshots for me for free. We've already started making plans to meet again.

I really do believe this is the wave of the future and that there is a lot of potential here for artistic growth and development. So far, my favorite story (and one that actually falls into my current circle of friends) is about Sterling Lynch getting his play produced in Phoenix thanks to Mare Biddle. You can listen to Dave Charest's (another person "met" through Twitter) podcast interview on that subject here.

That said, I still won't touch online dating with a ten-foot pole.

In the meantime, I leave you with some visuals from out Toronto Tweetup. Special thanks to the nice stranger at Starbucks who took our picture (also the instigator of the quote mentioned above)!

AKA - @a_mandolin, @bfg85 & @nancykenny (Insert @SMLois)

Not in this picture, but totally in our hearts - @rebeccacoleman

The Return of Blogger Row

A few months ago, I was granted a wonderful opportunity by the National Arts Centre, as a blogger, to attend a concert with the NAC Orchestra (and totally geek out from a meeting with Mr. Sulu - yes THE Mr. Sulu). The only catch was that I had to blog and tweet about the event. I had seats in the very last row of the very last balcony of the NAC's Southam Hall, which I affectionately dubbed "Blogger Row" in a tweet after realizing that I was sitting with a lot of people I followed on Twitter.

Well, the name's stuck and the NAC is doing it again. I was invited to attend Beyond the Score: Mozart's Final Piano Concerto. I won't be able to attend tonight due to a prior engagement, but I just wanted to take the time to note my appreciation to the NAC for this offer.

I've been incredibly impressed with the NAC and their social media marketing campaign. Here is a great example of an art's organization who has fully embraced new media. Their website includes videos and podcasts to make your experience more interactive; they use Youtube, Facebook and Flickr; you can access live recording's from the NAC Orchestra through their Musicbox; most of their marketing staff can also be found on Twitter.

If you're a blogger, you should definitely get in touch with these people!

As the Director of Communications for Evolution Theatre, I find this inspiring. We don't have a budget that compares to that of the National Arts Centre, but all of these means of promotion are fairly inexpensive to implement. Mostly, you just need the time to keep things up to date.


With all this in mind, we, at Evolution Theatre, have decided to take on our own social media experiment.

Would you like a discount on our next production - the Ottawa English language premiere of Arabian Night? Then you should be our friend on Facebook!

October 15th will officially be our Facebook Friends' Night for Arabian Night at the Cube Gallery. Everyone in this group will be granted $5 off their regular ticket price ($20 general admission / $15 students, seniors and starving artists - valid id required) for this night only.

Here's what you need to do. Go to the Arabian Night event page and indicate that you will be attending the show:

(Check out the incredibly hot publicity photos by the amazing Tim Ginley while you're at it!)

We will be printing out the invitation list as of 3 p.m. on October 15th. You MUST let us know you are attending the event or we won't be able to verify that you are in our group and give you your discount.

Only one ticket discount per person. If your friends would like a discount, just have them join the event and the group! It's that simple.

Seating is limited, so if you would like to reserve your seats in advance (cash payment required at the door), you can do so by calling the Cube Gallery at 613-728-1750.

Evolution Theatre's Next Show

For Brian - The Twitter Experience

Every year, during the Winnipeg Fringe, a Super (not so) Secret Midnight Cabaret is held in the King's Head Pub as a fundraiser for the festival volunteers, the Jenny Revue, and a local charity.  This year's cabaret was titled Archy Bluetooth's Seven Magic Moving Lustnuts, After Jake Lilliput's 52 Sorry Little Fruitpips And Accidentally Murder Lavignia Orwell's Grim Fallflop Jabberanza, Again. If you know your Winnipeg Fringe, you can guess which festival performers will be involved by the title of the show.  People were lining up for tickets to this event at least three hours before they went on sale (which was about an hour and a half befre the show even started). It was nuts. It was also the most creative and entertaining show I've seen all year.  If you're ever in town for the Winnipeg Fringe, you do not want to miss this event.  Oh, and don't forget to bring a flashlight. Also every year, a certain gentleman and his wife come from Ottawa to Winnipeg to attend the entire festival.  They've been doing this for what seems like ages and this is the first time they couldn't be here.  They are both incredibly supportive of the Fringe (in Ottawa, Winnipeg, and elsewhere, I'm sure) and have been a tremendous help to me in my journey.  Therefore, as a thank you, here is my live tweet of the cabaret, including pictures, for Brian and his wife.


For @BrianMCarroll: I shall live tweet the super secret midnight cabaret tonight #winnipegfringe

Performers have gone up. Cabaret starts soon!

I'm Nancy Kenny. I don't wait in line.

Place is packing in. Feel like Elaine saving seats.

Welcome to the cabaret ol' chum! A packed house:

Sold Out!

We're starting! Flashlights out! There's an iPhone app for that.

Up first: Sound & Fury

Sound & Fury have an hommage to Fringe Crushes with a song Everybody Wants to Fuck Our Girlfriends

Amy Lester doing a jem rolls poem:

She's wearing my boots! It's almost like being in the show!

Becky from murder hope plays the saw while Pipa girl and Jono Katz dance!

Oh Rob Gee dancing too

And now the real jem rolls stands up!

Celeste is looking hawt tonight!

Chris Bange - flamenco music, a vest and magic rings. What more can I say?

Gemma Wilcox doing a stellar one woman piece.

Andrew from Putz doing a bit about being a sidekick to She-Ra, Princess of Power.

Julia from Jake's Gift and Candy from Afterlife are next. (ed. note I later found out this was a 1 minute play Julia wrote for a CBC competition, which she won!)

Now for some cello music!

Amazing! Cello, breakdancing, performance poetry and beatboxing all rolled into one giant artgasm! Greatest. Night. Evah.

And with that slam dunk, intermission is earned.

Oh here's She-Ra and her sidekick:

You should have seen him in a mustache and blue tights.

Amy Lester in my boots = hawt!

These boots were made for walking.

Everyone is making sure I'm well "hydrated"

Aaaaaaand we're back! CRUMBS seems to be having technical difficulties

CRUMBS on a date

And now for a song

Jono Katz saves the day with a new microphone for our singer in mid-song.

Lana Schwartz is hungry for Chris Gibbs

More Rob Gee is always a good thing.

Help writing your life story is here with One Man Showman!

If you want a successful one man show, one word: Africa

Kinda confused by the haikus...

Jeff Culbert & Jayson McDonald on touring.

Be the Captain of your own Destiny

Killing ppl on the waiting list to make sure you get into a festival. McDonald makes sure they all have accidents.

Ryan, Jonny P & Tara in not Lavignia, but Lavagina

You know, it's not a real event unless silly string shoots out of a fake plastic penis... Not once but twice!

Chris Gibbs and a sexy hairy chest talks about Desire. And everyone is back for a closing number.

And that's it for my first secret midnight cabaret at #winnipegfringe!

Asphalt Jungle Shorts - The Twitter Experience

Driving back from Kitchener-Waterloo to Toronto at 1 am gives you plenty of time to think and to rant randomly. (First up, reason number 42 why I am different from my mom and my sister: I happen to like night driving - the roads are quiet and the car is bumpin'!) I can't even begin to describe how wonderful my evening was. Every song on the radio was a song I loved (though some ladies who lunch may argue that I love every song, which is mostly true but besides the point - come on, if you don't love C+C Music Factory, you have no soul!) Some of you may remember my previous adventures in KW. This time around, through some careful scheduling, I managed to be in town for the Asphalt Jungle Shorts, an absolutely wonderful little project of site specific theatre. Basically, you get taken on a trek through town and "witness" approximately 15 short plays on your journey. I had heard about the festival and applied with my own piece, Blind Date. I found out today that there were over 300 applications from playwrights so I feel very privileged to have been included.

My life is just such a beautiful dream and the best part is that I don't ever have to wake up. There is nothing quite like seeing some amazing and inspiring art taking place (and knowing that you played an albeit small part in making it happen) to really recharge your batteries. During one particularly heavy piece in the tour, two people walked up. They were covered in tattoos and scowls and didn't look like your typical theatre audience. I thought they would just walk around, but no, they stood there, and I saw giant grins form on their faces. When someone told them they could come along for the rest of the ride, they couldn't believe it. It was their first time seeing theatre and they were so enthralled, they will come back on another day to catch the show from the beginning. My heart melted. I am so amazed at this community of artists I keep finding all over the world and I am even more thrilled that all of them seem to be willing to let me sleep on their couches if I'm ever in town. And you can bet that I will one day take them up on that offer (especially with the Magnetic North Theatre Festival happening in KW next year!)

For those of you who won't be able to make it out, here is my live Twitter play-by-play of the evening (inspired by the lovely Lois and her frequent Tweets from backstage).


We start at the Kava Bean Common on Gaukel Street:

@nancykenny - Free parking & french vanilla cappucino - rain or shine site specific theatre goes on

@nancykenny - Wondering if the crazy interview taking place at my table is part of the show...

@nancykenny - Groucho lookalike says something might happen

@nancykenny - Coffee shop argument We begin... I hope

@nancykenny - Aha! Interview is! part of it

@nancykenny - For copyright reasons, not Groucho but Whome

@nancykenny - Off to a great start - cat fight in the street over a clocktower - not a euphemism

@nancykenny - Group stopped by someone trying to figure out her cell camera

@nancykenny - Ah this is the clocktower

@nancykenny - Gosh lots of couples break up on this tour

@nancykenny - Group photo YAY robots!

The Tour Group - Whome is at the front - I'm at the back with the scarf

@nancykenny - If we had chosen left would we get different shows?

@nancykenny - Whome runs all the way around the park to ensure being in the lead. Corny jokes abound

@nancykenny - Random ppl swear at the actors - not part of the show - geez learn to have fun

@nancykenny - Best valley explanation of Othello ever!

@nancykenny - Jaywalking is bad. Heard from Whome: I wish I had a camera for all the fascinating things that did not happen.

@nancykenny - That's what I like to see passerbys staring w/ joy n awe (these are the people I mentioned above)

@nancykenny - Whoa another breakup. Do not come to KW for love - come for the petting zoo

@nancykenny - Whome quote: Marriage is the leading cause of divorce

@nancykenny - Intermission in a bar - my show takes place in a bar! Anticipation!

@nancykenny - Now in the furthest room in the bar. Surprised I have reception. FYI-bar is Rum Runner

@nancykenny - Hmmm Whome has disappeared but a sexy married dragon lady is flirting w/ the bartender...

@nancykenny - My show's great!

@nancykenny - "There's a gay woman trapped inside this strait man's body" HA!

@nancykenny - Whome is back! Woo!

@nancykenny - Programs given at the end so as not to ruin the surprise - they asked me to bow! TY KW! Amazing show! Even the weather complied

@nancykenny - This has been a live tweetorama from the Asphalt Jungle Shorts