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A national coalition of industry and academic collaborators announced today the Performing Arts Genome Project: a comprehensive analysis of the performing arts to power personalized show recommendations.

Traditional approaches to recommendation systems, such as those for videos, music, or books, rely on analyzing the content and collecting user ratings and reviews over time to power the recommendations. The ephemeral nature of live arts requires a different approach: the domain needs to be carefully modeled so that shows can be recommended even before opening night.

The Performing Arts Genome relies on a knowledge base of shows, companies and artists, as well as critic reviews and industry awards. This data has been made possible by contributions from a number of key industry stakeholders, including SummerWorks, Toronto Fringe, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), Toronto Theatre Database and Theatre Museum Canada.

"When people are searching for entertainment options online, most users spend only a few minutes searching for content,” says Jacoba Knaapen, Executive Director of TAPA. “If they don't find something of interest quickly, they are likely to go somewhere else, as there are so many other options to choose from. Developing discovery solutions for live performance could be critical for TAPA members in helping audiences quickly find matched content that fits their tastes."

The Performing Arts Genome Project is tackling two main challenges: a) modeling the individual dimensions, or “genes,” that dictate our preferences for live arts, such as genres, mood, tone, form, content and features, and b) measuring the collection of genes, the “genome,” for companies, artists, venues and works of live performance using a combination of machine learning and manual curation. This work has a number of applications, including matching algorithms, recommender systems and discovery tools that help people find work that fits their taste profile and needs.

To learn more and read the full press release, visit

Posted by: Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) and StagePage
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