Any ideas for a long term PR campaign for ALL theatre? (I will write the funding application)

Amelia Bird, 26 January 2013


- A long term, positive, mass communication project about theatre with the aim of making it more desirable to audiences, politicians and funders.


- The recent popularisation of science; Brian Cox/David Attenborough. - The Rebuild Broadway Campaign.
- The Milk Marketing Board.
- PR campaign for rice.

- The campaign to create The Arts Council in the 50s.


This is an idea which has come up at several D and Ds and satellites. Amelia Bird has previously contacted commercial PR companies to see how much something like this would cost, they want to know who in theatre is backing it and be sure that we can pay for it before putting together a pitch.


The general public perception of theatre is not as magnificent as it could be. Though there's a lot of work going on in individual organisations, or subsections of the industry it is no ones job or remit to advertise/promote theatre as a whole.


- Danny Boyle and others have already used success of Olympics to speak out about arts. However...
- Much of the recent talk about the benefits of arts has been defensive rather than exciting.

- Need to focus on the varied nature of theatre and the personal appeal. “Theatre is for YOU, you might like these bits of it because; (insert PR campaign here).” Someone mentioned a recent blog ‘I am not ’an audience'.
- Commercial links, adverts, partner TV station.

- Main channel documentaries about theatre (including Fringe).
- Celebrity actors and directors who love theatre as spokespeople.
- NT live- are there people who will watch streamed theatre who don't go to live theatre?
- Comparisons made to new live bands, building fans who are eager to take risks and always want to find the best new artists.
- We need to stop using the language of funding applications in marketing to audiences.
- Make use of Audience Agency statistics and ACE Audience Insights Report.
- Pointing out that a lot of things you don't think of as theatre are theatre (free outdoor events, digital theatre, festival performance, The Sultan's Elelphant as an example).
- Live or skyped theatre trailers for other shows at the beginning of theatre or cinema showings.
- Letting people know it is easy to book a ticket, demystify the experience of actually going.
- More newspaper coverage in all newspapers.
- Award ceremonies broadcast.

- Theatre talent shows have already caused ticket spikes in West End.
- Make theatre appear less like a school trip, more radical, cool, advertise theatre in unusual places like pubs etc.
- “I heart theatre” badges, strategically placed
- Get ACE to put the job of running the campaign out to tender.


- ITC (their AGM is 22nd Feb with relevant talks about this)
- Danny Boyle/other high profile theatre artists.
- National Theatre
- Audience Agency
- We Value the Arts
- Sky Arts
- BBC 4
- Amber Massie Blomfield
- Risking Together
- Dialogue
- What Next?
- Taste Theatre
- Meeting of European Ad Agents (mentioned by Chris Grady) - Family Friendly Campaign


Amelia Bird will feedback to all who left their email address on conversations as they happen (wasn't sure if everyone wanted their contact details published so please contact me if you want to get in touch with anyone in the discussion). Also any general help/contacts/advice much appreciated please email [email protected]


Marketing, Audiences, Theatre, PR, promoting, west end, Advertising, audiences, fringe, advertising, Fringe, theatre, marketing

Comments: 9

David Jubb, 27 January 2013

I think it would be worth an early chat with Amber, Amelia. She is linked in to all the “what next?” stuff - which is interested in celebrating and advocating for culture, in a wider sense. From your report, looks like it would definitely be worth a chat. David Jubb
Chris Grady, 27 January 2013

Count me in...Thanks for calling the session

[email protected]
Amelia Bird, 29 January 2013
Thanks all. I'm going to hit this list of contacts later this week. Will update here, please add any other useful info too. Ellie Robinson, 29 January 2013
This all looks great, really interested to hear the results of this.
Amelia Bird, 30 January 2013

Li-E Chen, 4 February 2013

Thanks for calling the session, please count me in: [email protected]

I hope other sectors or artforms can support this too, I was wondering if there are PR companies outside theatre that actually could bring theatre to a fresh face to the public.

or is there a way to produce and create a APP that have all theatre listings where public can book their tickets on their phone and read review directly from there - it will be a lot easier for the public to access and go to see theatre. I don't know if there are App for all art listings in London already or Timeout APP exist already. I hope I am not talking out of the subject that you post here.

Amelia Bird, 10 February 2013

Hi all,

You might be interested in this event on the 29th April

Amelia Bird, 26 April 2013

Hi all,

An update for all who have expressed interest in the idea of a long term PR campaign for all theatre which stemmed from this conversation earlier in the year.

Since January I’ve been gradually following up with the contacts that people suggested and have had some very helpful conversations, if you’re one of the people I’ve spoken to in that capacity; thank you.

There’s been plenty of practical advice about making a PR campaign a reality and many creative suggestions of what it might look like. This has been an exciting glimpse of the future, however at present I think it’s important to focus on gathering the right people to make sure that whatever comes together has the support of as much of the theatre industry as possible. I’m glad to say that so far I’ve been met by nothing but positivity and a genuine desire to speak outwards, to audiences existing and new, about the huge variety of theatre in Britain and the unique experiences that only theatre can offer.

I’m writing to update you now, because next Monday 29th April will be the first full conference of ‘What Next?’ a movement seeking to raise awareness of the arts across the country. The What Next? organisers are seeking to gather opinions about ideas for future collaborative action, advocacy and engagement and though the movement is not specifically about theatre I hope that the day might be a good chance to share the PR campaign for theatre idea with a relevant group of people.

If you are attending on Monday and feel that it’s appropriate you might like think about one, or both of the following:

• Having a catch up chat with me; in breaks or after the main event. You should be able to see a picture of my face on this site, so if you spot me, please come and say hello.
• Talking about the idea of a PR campaign for all theatre with anyone who may want to be involved. Whether there is a relevant place for it in a formal discussion group, or over a cup of coffee it will be helpful to share the idea. Please feel free to give out my email address [email protected] to anyone who wants to know more.

If you are not attending on Monday you can watch the live stream here: from 1pm and similarly if you would like to get in contact for a chat or to share my email address with others, please do.

All the best,


Tanja Raaste, 29 April 2013

Glad to see this is progressing. Count me in [email protected]