Welcome to 2023!

Over the course of the last 14 months, Playlist has been working with Ten7 to develop our new website.

In a series of articles, I shared many of the changes coming to Playlist: a new look, new functionality, simplicity, new architecture, etc.

This is my first time going through a process like this. I’ve never worked with a digital developer before. As a former producer of theater, I worked on the same project process as all other theater producers: the show must go on. You have a hard and fast opening night date set, and you do everything you can to get the show to where you hope it can be by that date. In those final days, you bring out the “cut-axe” as we like to say and trim what you have to. Or sometimes, in a moment of pure imaginative magic, you and your team create a solution to a problem you thought would not be possible. But the end result is that on opening night, the show opens.

Playlist doesn’t work that way. What started as a goal of launching in November of 2022 has now moved to February 2023. And depending on how things go in the beginning of this year, we might shift that a little more. For me, it is a very different headspace to exist in. At once freeing, but also a bit unnerving (”will it ever be done?”).

I want to bring the best Playlist I can to the community. Ten7 wants to deliver the best website they can. So, we are giving it the time it needs.

When I ran the Southern Theater from 2011–2016, I launched the ambitious ARTshare program—an all-access theater membership program designed to give audiences unfettered access to a plethora of companies and shows. It was modestly successful.

Years later, one of my biggest takeaways was how I failed to launch the program in iterations. Instead, I crafted a program full of complex interconnectivity and put it out there all at one time. Once it was up and running, there was little to no room for changes or modifications. Contrast that with what is happening with my favorite hobby: Dungeons & Dragons. For 40 years, D&D has released various new ‘editions’ of the game. In the past, this was done behind closed doors by a small group of individuals working on the project, and like ARTshare, released all at once for the community to judge. In 2022, they announced the new version of D&D (One D&D) and this time around, they are sharing with the community pieces of the development every few weeks to get feedback. They are allowing the community to try out what the design group is thinking—play test it—and then give direct feedback on what they like, what works, and what they’d like to see changed. It is a pivotal shift away from the previous methodology, and so far, the community is responding with overwhelming enthusiasm.

What does this have to do with Playlist?

Following the launch of the rebuild, Playlist’s next big endeavor is to provide companies with the ability to sell tickets directly through their calendar listing. And I want to take D&D’s approach to how we do this. I don’t know how it will look yet, and I don’t know how it will work with Ten7’s development process, but my goal is to build a series of stages (pun intended) where we allow companies to ‘play test’ the system and provide feedback so that we can get this right and create a valuable asset for the MN theater community.

Will this slow things down? Certainly. But the time taken to get this right for our community will ensure that you get a service that fits your needs. And that’s a luxury that I have with Playlist: time and flexibility.

I’m incredibly excited to share the new Playlist with you. Most of the changes came from our 2019–2020 survey and community input that was years in the making. I’m even more excited to get started on this new project for Playlist—to work hand-in-hand with you on creating another valuable service that can support the work you do - and maybe make getting to opening night a little bit easier.

If you are interested in participating in our ‘play-testing’, please email [email protected]. I’ll reach out with some kick-off information when the time comes and take it from there.