Case Studies

Empathy experiecens to bond and align the team in the ACED Audience Centred Experience Design process

Working with the National Theatre Turino and Fondazione Fitzcarraldo & Melting Pro to achieve a better understanding of our audiences

From Empathy maps to immerse empathy experiences.

Organisations Involved:

  • Fondazione del Teatro Stabile di Torino
  • Fondazione Fitzcarraldo
  • Melting Pro


Turin, Italy

Sector / Artform:

Theatre performance

The ACED Project

From May 2019 to October 2019, the Teatro Stabile, artistic partner of the ADESTE + project, participated in the capacity-building programme facilitated by Fondazione Fitzcarraldo with the support of Melting Pro. As a result, as the ACED blueprint requires, the theatre set up a task force of nine people from different departments - Development and training, Artistic Programming, Communication, Dance, Publishing and Web, Promotion & social media management, Marketing, Research Centre - with the support of the change maker that had the responsibility to lead the group.
Here we illustrate what made the team click and realise that there are other ways to connect with the audiences.
The steps:

  • Have identified which target group/s you will be designing for - if you haven’t done so already.
  • Created a persona(s) for your target group(s).
  • Tested the validity of the persona – with real people in the field.
  • Shared a fully developed persona to introduce the target group with your colleagues.
  • Identified your target group’s “problem” – what needs/ barriers of your target.


From Empathy maps to immerse empathy experiences.

The Empathise Step is an essential step in the ACED model.
Through empathy tools, we try to understand the real people behind the target group we chose and go beyond our assumptions and the stereotyped classifications of visitor, user and consumer.
Ideally, once the target is chosen, one should review and summarise existing audience data that might be useful.

Based on this, the task force works together to create a flesh-and-blood "persona/s" who represents your target group/s, what is so-called Empathy Map or personas.

It might happen that this type of exercise cannot make you empathise with that person, but at least it's a way of shifting perspective.
This is what happened at the Teatro Stabile Taskforce, to empathise with their target group, they had to immerse themself n the same environment as their target group and have conversations with real people about their organisation and their interests – to see how they match up.

This is an important step to validate – or test your assumptions - about your persona through further research.
See a helpful tool: Get to Know ACED tool


As Ideo, the Innovation Company argues,
"Empathy experiences are essential because they help us get beyond our assumptions by putting ourselves in the shoes of the people we're designing for.
Emotional triggers are motivating for both individuals and teams. "
In fact, sharing these emotional experiences helped the Teatro Stabile Team bond and aligned colleagues and audiences around a common goal.

Further Information

As a tool, you could also use a user journey to understand your target group’s experience and see how you might improve it, check it out here:

"Watching the ceremonies was a light bulb moment; we knew we could do something"

Teatro Stabile, staff

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