The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2015, May 2-3

Frank Theatre

Frank Theatre was founded in 1989 by Artistic Director Wendy Knox, and in its 26-year history, the theatre has presented 58 productions in the Twin Cities. Frank Theatre was created with the desire to create work that provides opportunities for artists to work outside of and beyond typical opportunities provided by theatres with greater commercial interest and to present theatre that encourages audiences to consider important questions about he world we live in. The theatre has successfully pursued these goals through the consistently high-quality staging of ambitious works that require the actors, designers, and the director to challenge themselves and each other while also generating a conversation with the audience. The theatre is committed to producing work that reflects the world in which we live and that examines issues present in the world around us. Through its educational programming, the theatre empowers youth, who otherwise do not have access to the theatre activities, to tell their own stories while discovering the creative power of the theatre. Frank Theatre is an award-winning organization whose work has been recognized with several Ivey awards. numerous "Best Of" citations, and perennial appearances on media's year-end recognition lists.

What new functionality we are looking for

-A website that is easy to be updated. We have few staff and their talents are staging great theater, not web design.

-Easy social media integration and sharing. We're working to build a library of video and photos that we want to be able to share.

-A website that looks fresh. Frank presents theater that should appeal to a broader audience. Our website looks outdated.

-User friendly! Information is difficult to find.

-Mobile optimization.

-Links to donation and ticketing sites, mailing list and volunteer sign up pages

How the new functionality will help

Currently Frank's website is incredibly outdated and difficult to navigate. As a small theatre company we operate on a tiny budget, the majority of which is directed toward providing exceptional theatre to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Building the from-scratch website that we need is beyond our capability. Our current website is outdated enough to be unfriendly to anyone under the age of 45, which hinders our ability to engage younger theater-goers. it is also difficult to update, so we are unable to provide information to our fans. We are a "gypsy" theatre, moving from performance space to performance space with each production, so it is imperative that we are able to let our audience know where we are. With each production, we host a series of panel discussions following our Sunday matinees; we need to be able to update the website each week with who the panelists are. We also work with a number of youth through our educational programs; they LAUGH at our website. While our mission is built on the notion of "challenge," it is intended to mean ARTISTIC challenge, not TECHNOLOGICAL challenge!

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

46 Messages from Supporters

2015-03-17 16:52:20 UTC

This is a great theater company with a TERRIBLE website. It's hard to read, it doesn't look like it's easy to update with any of the necessary information (where to buy tickets, video previews for events, isn't integrated with social media). Frank provides great shows in the community--help them reach a broader and younger audience with a new website!

2015-03-17 16:52:58 UTC

Sometimes audiences can't tell where the performance takes place and show up at the administrative address. A new website would add clarity.

2015-03-17 17:53:45 UTC
Zachary Stafford

There is such a disparity between the work that Frank does and the web experience that accosts people when they come to the site.

It's mind boggling.

The website calls to mind the following things:

1. The Hindenburg
2. The Titanic (not the movie)
3. The AOL dialup sound
4. The realization that you've stepped in something
5. The realization that you've stepped in something and you are barefoot and it's from your cat
6. My 5th grade haircut
7. sending a resume and realizing it has a huge mistake in it
8. not updating the "prepared for" in the footer of a presentation until you are presenting it to a potential client
9. My 8th grade haircut
10. Asking for your dish to be "spicy" at an authentic Thai place.

The site is so bad, I avoid it completely. I would rather (like all of the points above) imagine that it doesn't even exist.

2015-03-17 21:22:58 UTC
Emily Zimmer

Frank is an artistic treasure, the website is an essential calling card in the web-based world we live in and this one does not give the visitor a complete picture of how important Frank is. Frankly, Frank is so much sexier than this website suggests! But Frank is pretty AND smart. Theatre artists want to connect from within our own arts community and from around the globe, the ability to show and tell who Frank is important and the web is one place where Frank's history will be told. It deserves to be told with elegance!

2015-03-18 04:16:08 UTC
GK - Frank Fan

Frank Theatre is such an amazing company but the website needs some major overhauling. Some areas for improvement (just the tip of the iceberg):

1) Overall style is flat and out-of-date. Needs a much more dynamic presence on the web.

2) Audience often confused the address on the website (admin offices where performances are NEVER held) with the performance location. This happens every production.

3) The history page has not been updated since 2009. The Past production section is more up to date (2014) and includes more info. But does Frank need both? It would be great to include an update of the past 6 years but also to include a more dynamic view of Franks 25+ year history - photos, videos, reviews etc. Some of this can be found on other pages but difficult to navigate to. Also needing updates: Awards page, reviews page.

4) Volunteer page - difficult to see where one job ends and another begins. And difficult to navigate to a specific job.

5) Social Media - well, this website is not set up to handle.

2015-03-18 16:43:23 UTC
Lil' Bro

it boils down to this:
Frank Theater is the hip, scrappy, fearless grandmother of all Twin Cities independent theater.
But Frank's website is a pair of granny panties… Threadbare, patched together, and hard to look at.

Top Requirements (IMO):
• social media integration--help this bitch share her shit across multiple apps and platforms
• and easy to read homepage that displays the basics: who Frank is, what's playing now, what's up next
• any new design should facilitate easy-to-update content: keep the bells & whistles to a minimum

Of the many deserving organizations that will apply for this opportunity, Frank should head the list!

2015-03-18 02:25:19 UTC

Frank Theatre does great work presenting shows that no one else is doing, and they need a website that will help them to spread the word so more people can experience their work!

2015-03-18 13:52:32 UTC
Anika Solveig

Frank Theatre is an important and thrilling theater company who work to push the form of theater forward with cutting edge work that challenges audiences. Their website should be cutting edge as well! They really need help. They are a company of live art makers not designers of digital experiences. They work hard for not enough pay. Help them reach their audience and help Minneapolis discover the joy of Frank Theatre!

2015-03-18 17:39:33 UTC

Frank Theatre does amazing and impactful productions that are hard to find information about. Their site can't be read on a mobile phone and could greatly use a concise current performance box at the top with clear information on location as they use many different venues.

2015-03-17 22:10:45 UTC

I love Frank and I go to their site a lot looking for info. But it is so hard to find show times, locations, ticket info, etc. there is A LOT of info to sift through and I don't have time for that! I want to promote Frank to all my friends but the website does not help! Give it a facelift! Keep Frank Forever Young!!!

2015-03-18 15:27:48 UTC
Irish Actor

I've been fortunate enough to have been hired by Frank theatre as an actor several times over the past 12 years. Way back then, in 2003, their dreadful website was far from cutting edge, but at least had the functions that made it acceptable in what would be considered by today's standards, a prehistoric time.
Now, well words fail me. The site is so archaic, so boring and difficult to navigate, and so visually unappealing that I won't even give friends the website address. Book a ticket online? Forget it. Get an inkling of the provocative, dynamic, colorful cutting edge that Frank is lauded for? No chance. Try and navigate the damn thing on a smart phone? You've got to be kidding.
Please help!

2015-03-18 20:11:23 UTC
Elisa P.

This theater company does top notch work, but holy s&%t their website is terrible. They need a website that conveys their amazing work!

2015-03-18 21:20:38 UTC
Jefferson Slinkard

You have a website??? Man do you need help getting one set up!

2015-03-19 12:04:06 UTC

what can be said that hasn't already been said above in all these comments?

Anybody who knows me knows that I still won't be deterred.

I think what would be great is if we could learn what the "cyber patrol" is. Or if one could buy tickets. Or host a video example of their work from a video! Or pictures! Or a place to house all the massive praise they get in the press!

Or a blog where frank could talk about all the work they do to bring theater to high schools. Or how Wendy directs plays in other cities.

So let's not focus on the old "site". Let's focus on what could be. Because honestly, that's what Frank is about--the future, possibility, change!

And can it please be controversial and edgy just like frank?

Thanks for having the this competition!

2015-03-19 00:34:10 UTC
Jill Martinez

Frank needs a site that is as creative and awesome as their productions. A UX that engages audiences as well their brave and topical work. Imagine the full theaters when their digital presence is on par with the witty scripts and swagger that is Frank. My favorite company needs a top notch site - more Minnesota minds will be expanded - we all win!

2015-03-19 03:09:05 UTC
Dan Pinkerton

HOLY CRAP, DO THEY NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP! Frank is a totally amazing theatre company with a sad little website that needs to be more functional and attractive. They do brave, entertaining work, but getting more information about it via their website is difficult to say the least. Help them if you can, they're feeling down.

2015-03-19 14:07:57 UTC
Robin Gillette

Ditto what all of the people above say. Their site sucks, and Frank Theatre is the opposite of "suck."

Help them out, awesome Nerdery people!

2015-03-19 18:48:31 UTC
Peggy Knapp

Great theater deserves a great communication vehicle. But theater artists cannot be expected to also be designers, programmers and web savvy-ists. Not a word, I know. Give them a new web site.

2015-03-19 23:27:42 UTC

The website does nothing to help the user understand what the Frank Theater company really has to offer. Sure I can find info about their shows, but i really can't find anything ABOUT their shows. Some help in usability would go a long way to providing a much richer experience and I could better understand what they do and where they do it.

2015-03-20 01:01:57 UTC
Tessa Flynn

Frank Theatre is a mobile company-- without a brick and mortar space of their own, they RELY on the internet as their home-base to communicate with their followers. As it stands now, Frank's website is a huge barrier to bringing fans along for the artistic ride, and into the seats for the next production. As a Frank board member, I hear from audience members time and time again that they wish they could access the site on their phones in a legible way, and have easy access to purchasing tickets, finding the theatre location, and reading up on the next production. Please help bring Frank into the 21st Century with your nerd-dom, and give them a fancy pants website that will allow the greater community to more easily interact with and follow a company without a building to call home!

2015-03-21 03:33:22 UTC

I tried to look at their site on my phone and I just gave up on that. Their business is theater! Not web development! For the love of all that is good, someone give them a responsive site with an intuitive CMS. Then they can get down to the work of making theater and selling tickets.

2015-03-21 14:57:25 UTC
Edie French

Imagine a world where you can click on Current Production and get information and tickets for the show that's actually current. Imagine a world where Frank Theater videos play on cue, promos, testimonials, and more fun facts and dark secrets about the theatre world, a reflection of the rich legacy and current controversy that Frank represents. The potential is vast and exciting. I vote for Frank!!!

2015-03-22 21:48:54 UTC

UGH. As a fan of Frank, who even knows the work is worth the effort to attend, I just can't handle the Frank site. From my cell, it is nearly impossible to purchase tickets, find information about shows, and I've shown up to their "headquarters" twice, thinking it was the location of the latest production (yes, twice, I know!).

Please help this inspiring and important company move into the 21st century and allow fans easier access to their work. It's gonna be totally worth it!!!!

2015-03-23 16:29:57 UTC
Suzanne O'Brien

FRANK makes you think. Its website makes you MAD.
FRANK is provocative. Its website merely PROVOKES frustration.
FRANK's shows look amazing. Its website looks SAD.

I'm a FRANK board member and fan. I'm also a Nerdery fan. I believe this is a perfect match.

Give FRANK a virtual theatre space - a website that reflects FRANK's soul and provides a complete, authentic experience - so we can build awareness and continue the conversation with our audience and the community.

Thank you!

2015-03-24 14:14:42 UTC
Mike O'B

The site is outdated, dull and one-dimensional - all the things the Frank is not...

2015-03-25 16:18:58 UTC
Zoe Michael

I work for Frank Theatre because it company and director that I respect most in Minnesota! They do outstanding performances and dive head-first into daring dangerous material that more conventional companies are allergic to. I could write love poems, cheesy slow dances, and exclamatory speeches detailing my appreciation for Frank Theatre.

Our website makes me want to throw up.

2015-03-27 04:45:47 UTC

Frank Theatre's current website lists 25 years of shows. Zzzzz...
Their rich, unique, 25-year body of work deserves to be CELEBRATED! Nerdery friends: please give Frank a site that will inform, inspire, and engage on a level equal to its productions.

2015-03-30 19:09:54 UTC

Frank is a nimble theater company whose venues often change by production. No excuses! Anyone enticed to their website has to know at a glance where the production is and be able to click through to maps and directions (with clear public transit options).

2015-03-30 20:03:35 UTC
Carol Dines

Frank Theater is the best theater in town, and they need help with their website! They deserve support. We love Frank!

2015-03-30 19:00:10 UTC
Pat Botten

It's not a very easy web site to navigate and should have more pizzazz given the kind of theater productions they do. They deserve a web site that is fresh and creative.

2015-03-30 20:39:05 UTC
Patrick Noonan

Yes to all the things people have already said about the great work Frank Theatre does. They do risky, high quality work and IMO are a really important part of what makes the Twin Cities such a great arts scene.

2015-03-30 20:06:10 UTC
Jack Zipes

Frank Theatre is fabulous, but the website needs help. It needs more work and more information in an accessible way.

2015-03-31 01:17:15 UTC

Frank Theatre's website needs to reflect the awesomeness of Frank Theatre. The site is old, hard to read, and not attractive to readers. It's hard to get people to spend time looking around when they can barely read the text or see the pictures. Everything is so teeny-tiny! When I suggest to people to check Frank out by going to their website, it needs to suck them in and keep them there awhile. They need HELP!!!! The city of Minneapolis would benefit from Frank having a better website. Just telling people it's worthwhile to make the trip to Minneapolis to see a Frank production isn't enough. The website needs to hypnotize and draw people to it. Maybe add a few restaurants, bar and grills, coffee shops they can go pre- and post-show. Come on website, go whole hog!!

2015-03-31 01:37:10 UTC

Reading these comments you'd think the Frank's website was like the Hindenburg: just that up-to-date and just that functional. (Also how it exemplifies disaster.) Guys, it's not THAT bad. Could be better, should be better, and Frank deserves only the best. So yes, a big vote for a really fine website designed by the best, for the best.

2015-03-31 01:46:21 UTC

You would not know that this site is about artists. Bland is not strong enough. Blandiferous, perhaps. Jazz this sad site up to make finding the production that you cannot not see!

2015-03-31 03:36:09 UTC

Frank definitely needs a new website. It is cutting-edge innovative theater company with a website that doesn't match in the slightest. It is difficult to read, the information gets buried in the various tabs, and it is stagnant. It needs a major overhaul to be in alignment with the interesting theater company it is. And isn't visual at all. How about more pictures, video, etc.? They really need help, and a better web presence could also help get new people come see their fabulous work.

2015-03-31 04:21:22 UTC
Spencer P

I can NEVER find anything on the Frank Theatre Web site. There are great pictures but they haven't changed in 10 years. The latest production stays listed as the current show months after it closed. And most important is that the site doesn't allow Frank to highlight what it's best at: digging into deep topics that challenge us all to think and act on our current condition. The conversation needs to be able to start and continue through tools like a discussion board. The process needs to be more transparent with thoughts and pictures shared by artists during the creative process.

At the very least, this established and amazing theatre company needs to appear to be established and amazing. The current site doesn't build that perception and most likely scares away audiences with its hard to find ticket links and information about what's happening now rather than what happened two or three years ago.

2015-03-31 03:04:31 UTC
Mr. D.

"Stay fresh or be fed to ducks?"

Frank IS FRESH, still sane in a crazy world, but the web site reminds me of the sites I was proudly designing back when Netscape was the cool browser.

Something interactive, easily updated, and mobile friendly would be a huge BANG for a small buck.

Please help these fine folks!

2015-03-31 16:35:57 UTC

As a young person who loves theater, I can personally tell you that a website is INTEGRAL to how young people view a company. An up-to-date, easy to navigate, mobile-optimized site is the key to younger generational interest. Otherwise, you look stodgy and dated. Frank theater is ANYTHING BUT stodgy and dated. Unfortunately, their website is both of those things.

Help these amazing artists out! Keep them network relevant!

2015-03-31 21:31:44 UTC
Lynne M

How could any 26 year old who is so smart, challenging and energetic look this dumpy? Frank should be as sharp on line as it is on stage. Please help us, the ardent fans, buy tickets, find the venue, get the latest information (and Love)... without sneaking over to Facebook. And please make it fast and easy to update so Frank staff can concentrate on the shows and outreach they're famous for!

2015-04-01 00:31:03 UTC

Please, please give Frank a new website! The one they have is dated, difficult to navigate and difficult to update. Frank Theatre is relevant, visually distinct art that more people should experience. Please give them a website that reflects their unique style!

2015-04-01 02:43:32 UTC
Robert Frame (Friend of Sl*tina)

I was going to say nothing, but L'il Bro makes me want to echo him (or her, or hir - Gender nonconformity rules!):

"Frank Theater is the hip, scrappy, fearless grandmother of all Twin Cities independent theater.
"But Frank's website is a pair of granny panties… Threadbare, patched together, and hard to look at."

Too fun, L'il Bro. It (the site, not granny panties) is drab and the color scheme is a fright.

Help these people, and all of us! Clearly the ability to make rockin', brave-choices theater (with which I don't always agree - come on, Wendy!) does not translate into all other artistic abilities.

Put 'em in some nice, new, stylin' underthings.

2015-04-01 13:29:53 UTC

FRANKLY...I wouldn't give a damn about this theater based on their website...this has got to change!

2015-04-01 14:35:01 UTC

Please give Frank a new website that reflects the type work that that they do. The current website is hard to read and not attractive. The site looks like it was created at the beginning of webdesign and has not been updated since, while Frank is definitely on the cutting edge. They need a website that reflects their work!

2015-04-01 20:00:53 UTC
Karen Reid

Frank Theater puts on great productions. It needs assistance with online media, marketing -- incluing a better website! Anything to help get the word out about their performances would be wonderful.

2015-04-10 17:28:32 UTC
A Frank Fan

I JUST tried to go online to see what's up next for Frank, and all I find is a tangled web of outdated information. A new site will be easily updated by Frank staff to eliminate old info quickly and help audience members focus on the future of Frank-- let's do this!

Our Mission

FRANK THEATRE is a professional theatre company committed to producing unique work that stretches the skills of the artists who create the work while simultaneously challenging the everyday perceptions of the audience through the exploration of ideas and issues of social, political and/or cultural concern. In 26 years, the theatre has built up an eclectic and diverse body of work, nearly half of the productions premieres, with the remainder being either work that has not been staged locally, iconoclastic interpretations of classics or site-specific work that explores the world we live in.