How can we create more opportunities for artists to talk to potential audiences?

Annabel Turpin, 11 July 2012

Present: Annabel, Scott

This question came out of a new approach to marketing that ARC in Stockton is taking in the autumn, as we seek to find more ways of enabling artists to talk to potential audiences in advance of appearing here, ie to encourage them to come and see their work.

As a new company appearing in the season, Scott (OddManOut) was interested in whether new companies could be paired up with more experienced/established companies to work together on promotion.

Annabel felt this could work well particularly through pairing local companies with non-local companies, with non-local benefiting from having someone on the ground, and local companies benefiting from the expertise of more established, nationally touring companies.

This could involve local companies carrying out promotional work on behalf of non-local, and non-local companies endorsing new/local work, recommending it to their more established audiences.

This could also use the ‘like’ model used in publishing, ie this author is like this one…

Both companies would have to have trust in the venue who would act as a broker

We will look at trialling this with OddManOut and another company in the autumn (yes, that is action out of D&D already!). Anyone out there already doing this?

Other ideas:

Showing trailers for live events in ARC's Cinema with short intro from a company representative. This is about the audience identifying with the company themselves, and being ‘invited’ to come. Lots of people feel daunted about going to the theatre (sometimes I do) and being ‘invited’ by someone saying ‘I would like you to come’ is a way of giving permission and taking away some of the mystery.

More pop-up activity in town centres etc. People do it during the Edinburgh Festival all the time, but don't always employ it elsewhere.

Informal opportunities for artists to talk to audiences - lunchtime in school/work canteens etc

We then had a conversation about viral marketing. Annabel thinks we (arts professionals) are obsessed with process and sharing it, whereas audiences are interested in content and how content is generated. So rehearsal blogs, films etc are only of interest to potential audiences if they show how content is created, not if they just show pictures of people rehearsing. The same apples to viral marketing - comedians are much better as sharing ‘content’ with potential audiences, performance artists often just report or ask questions about the process.

A good example of this is when companies create Twitter account for characters (i.e. Unlimited's @FlyingColin) but we need to work on how we get them followers in advance of the show.


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