Donna Walker-Kuhne stands before the Kremlin during her recent goodwill trip to Moscow, Russia, spon-
sored by the U.S.-Russian Bilateral Presi-
dential Commission.

Donna Walker-Kuhne: Marketing and Audience Development Wiz

by Linda Armstrong

Donna Walker-Kuhne is truly international. And, I don’t just say that because she is the founder and president of Walker International Commu-
nications Group, the marketing company she created in 1986, currently located in Brooklyn, New York at 293 E. 18th St. I say that because she travels the world to teach people about theatre marketing and audience development.

In fact, this September 10–18th she was in Moscow, Russia, where she taught successful audience development techniques to theatre directors. Walker-Kuhne made that all-expense-paid goodwill trip courtesy of the United States through the auspices of the U.S.-Russian Bilateral Presidential Commission.

Under the leadership of President Obama and President Medvedev and coordinated by Sec-
retary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov, this commission is “dedicated to identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, inter-
national security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people. Through the commission’s working groups and sub-committees, [it strives] to deepen our cooperation in concrete ways and to take further steps to demonstrate joint leadership in addressing new challenges. The foundation for the work of the commission is based on the core principles of international friendship, co-operation, openness, and predictability.”

Walker-Kuhne was approached by the program director for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. She was recommended for the project by the leadership of the Lark Theater in Manhattan, one of the longtime clients of Walker Inter-
national Communications Group. “In July I met with the program director for the U.S. Embassy for Moscow. I received an email inviting me and then that was followed by the airline tickets,” says Walker-Kuhne. She, husband Bret, and their nine year old daughter Theresia flew to Russia. While her husband and her daughter enjoyed the sites, Walker-Kuhne was kept busy in workshops.

She conducted twelve workshops while visiting the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts, Russian State Humanities University, The Moscow Art Theatre School, Moscow International House of Music, and the International University. She gave each group a template for framing their marketing efforts by focusing on ten tools for building audiences. “I did a lot of case studies,” she says....(continued)

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Linda Armstrong is a freelance journalist and theatre critic who has been writing for twenty-eight years. She covers Black Theatre, Broadway, Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theatre. Her articles appear in The Amsterdam News, New York Daily News’ Caribbean section, Essence Magazine, Playbill Online, and Theater Week, among many others.


Fall/Winter 2012

This article was originally featured in Vol. 20, No. 1

Also in this issue:

  • Shanghai On Stage

  • Never in a Million Years: Bringing Black Theatre to China

  • Open Letter to First Lady Michelle Obama

  • Editor's Notes: Outside the Box

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    Theatre marketing and audience development wiz, cultural ambas-
    sador, and professor, Donna Walker-Kuhne accepts Black 2 Broadway's 2011 Vanguard Award on June 12, 2011 in New York City.

    A poster announcing Donna Walker-Kuhne's workshops in Moscow.