Do we need an Arts Development officer or an arts organisation like House more than we need a building?

Pros to not having a building

Freedom from the hierarchy and traditional practices of an established building.

Endorses new economic relationships with the landscape and a wider variety of spaces around the community.

Creates work in response to the space it is made in, rather than made elsewhere and taken to the space.

Venues can be inward looking.

Encourages a DIY ethic.

Is more inclusive as it redefines what theatre is and where it be made.

Reaches out of the skin of the venue into a wider catchment area.

Brings theatre to the people and communities get the chance to curate and program themselves.

Accesses new audiences.

Breaks down the expectations one has from going into a traditional building.

Online world makes buildings less necessary.

People are more vital for good programming than the building.

Pros to having a building

Brand safety.



Data collection for market research.

Councils find buildings easier to understand.

More flexibility to experiment and take risks.

Are able to challenge audiences who already trust them.

Having a space with specifically designed layout and equipment.

Can develop audiences over a long time.

Gives credentials to those who work there.

It's about using a vocabulary that the local authorities and other funders understand, but the reality is that the lines are blurred and definitions are dated. The less we define the better. For productions to be “things” rather than “Theatre”, “Dance”, etc.

The New Wolsey box office system has taught them invaluable information about what sells, how audiences work, how work sells, etc. So it's not necessarily the building that needs changing, but the structures within.

Speaking with the Marlborough Theatre, they suggested that there should be a centralised box office system that is perhaps Arts Council lead, that gathers big data from box office sales across each region and that could then be shared nationally. With so much emphasis on NPO's to collect data, a central system would save hours of work for venues and be invaluable information for the sector.