GroundPlan CMS 2nd Story

2nd Story is one of our favorite Chicago institutions: A collective of artists that meshes true-to-life storytelling with other sensational experiences - wine tastings, music, dining, and holiday celebrations. Like many performing arts organizations, they had two main assets to show off: a variety of exciting people and a wealth of archived stories, podcasts, and videos of the work they had created over the years. At the same time, they had huge logistical challenges. Corralling the schedules and contact information of 20 or more artists for each event was straining their production team. Their mostly part-time or volunteer support staff, which turned over every few years, lacked the technical expertise to update their website quickly and cleanly...which meant that their audiences had trouble finding information about their latest events. 2nd Story had all the gas in the world, but they needed a better engine.

Using our GroundPlan Content Management System for the performing arts (built on the industry standard WordPress platform), we created that engine. Groundplan gave the staff but a few simple forms to fill out for each event, person, venue, and story. A click of a button added a performer to an event, and a second click created a private contact sheet that could be emailed to the team. Event details can now be updated on the fly, by anyone on the team who can use a web browser. For example, if a performance venue has a difficult parking situation, the team can post an alert right on the website with a parking deal that helps orient audience and prepare them with information and great customer service. The audience can engage directly with the mission of 2nd Story by providing their own “2nd stories” – reactions left as comments right on the story archive. The design of the site then leads audiences from browsing podcasts and old stories from their favorite performers back to upcoming events, allowing rich, archived content to promote future live events, and further audience development.

Best of all, GroundPlan was flexible enough to solve curation and production challenges that were specific to 2nd Story. The system maintains archives of every version of every story ever developed, workshopped, and performed by the company, and a simple workflow moves stories from the private workshop and development area into the public side where the audience can experience and share them.

See the Website & Experience the Stories.

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