Hilary Milnes – Staff Writer, BostInno
9/17/14 @11:04am in Arts & Entertainment
It’s a Friday afternoon in Boston, and you want a break from the regular romp at the local bar where you usually find yourself in the evening. You’re in the mood for real culture – be it a comedy show, a little-known band, or an independent play – but when it comes to finding out what’s going on, you often end up stumped. Since you’re not sure exactly what event it is you’re looking for, you don’t want to invest time in a web search that’s potentially leading nowhere.
Instead, you head to the bar with your coworkers like you usually do. And in doing so, you miss out on the play, concert, or stand-up show you didn’t know was happening. If this scenario sounds familiar, consider your problem solved.
Kathleen Stetson, a Dallas native who moved to Boston to attend the New England Conservatory of Music, had worked in the arts for 10 years as both an opera singer and an acoustical engineer. Her experience led her to recognize a glaring lack of collaboration that could enhance the arts industry: producers and arts organizations, namely, weren’t working together to spread the word of local shows and performances to a broader audience.
“For show-goers, there’s not one place to go for information about shows, so it takes about an hour on any given day to figure out what’s really happening at night,” said Stetson. “At the same time, for arts organizations and venues, they don’t have a great way to understand their current customers and reach new ones, because they just don’t have the technology.”
Other tools make sure you never miss out on the artists you love, but we help you discover new performers you’ve never heard of.
So, Stetson went about starting her own business that would bring hard-to-find cultural events to to light. She enrolled at MIT Sloan for her MBA, teamed up with high school friend and designer Katy Harris, and in January 2014, Trill was born.
Trill is the one-stop database for cultural events in Boston. Whether you’re searching out a low-key show that’s taking place near your dinner reservation or looking to explore the local plays happening in town that don’t get much exposure, Trill has the details. The website, which launched out of beta mode Tuesday, allows you to search by performer, genre, date, location and cost, to make “everything that happens on a stage” in Boston more readily navigated.
Behind the scenes of what the user sees (which is a clean, orange and blue feed of upcoming shows and performances), Trill is also building an analytics engine that will make the service valuable to organizations, producers and venues, as the company will provide insight and allow for smarter programming, pricing and marketing decisions – and therefore, making up for a lack of technology that Stetson once recognized as a roadblock in informing the public about the events in the arts.
In addition to its front-and-back end experience, a key aspect of Trill is its underground appeal. Stetson said that what you find on Trill is the “really local shows,” rather than the big-ticket ones that you see billboards and hear commercials for. Basically, Trill is suited for those who don’t know what they’re looking for, but are looking for something.
“We want to bring together everything – theater, dance, music – into one place and make it efficient for that omnivorous show-goer,” she said. “Other tools make sure you never miss out on the artists you love, but we help you find what’s going on in the local scene and help you discover new performers you’ve never heard of.”
But, the problem with discovering new performances is the risk that you might not like what you find – and that’s time and money wasted. To help ensure people get the most out of the service, Trill recruited a team of curators: local insiders who can give knowledgeable recommendations from their experienced perspective; curators’ picks are marked as such on the site and are searchable.