How can we get theatre to a non-traditional, non-metropolitan audience

Candida Kelsall, 13 July 2012

Attendees: Claire Walker, Sue Moffat, Lynn Parry, Jill Rezzano, Laura Stacey, Emily.

Theatre in this discussion was mainly seen as a theatre building/organisation.

Key oppositions to attendance / concerns were that:

It feels like a closed shop, no way in. (for both audiences and creatives)

There is a set etiquette to attending and experiencing theatre.

Too regimented (always at same times, same places, similar type of programme)

Programming is too narrow in subject matter and form for who it would appeal to or too broad in not being aimed for specific audiences that could be targeted young people, mums, working class blokes, etc.

Mobility, both that of the individual or dependents (eg Mums with kids)

Ways of getting round this, or opportunities to reach other people were to:

Talk specifically to certain groups(such as students) about opportunities to use the facilities creating small pieces to appeal to their peers, either on site or off.

Taking the experience of theatre out to where the audiences are; the pub, the park, libraries, old peoples homes, etc

Try and create cross-overs with other art forms or community groups.

Create local advocacy, and actively involve local people more to create a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Think outside the box to allow potential audiences to experience it in a way that is convenient and welcoming to them, eg day time performances of grown-ups plays for parents of young children whilst offering workshops and creches for the children.


There will always be people for whom theatre is not their thing.

There will always be limited resources (time money and energy) to focus efforts on new ideas and ways of working, but engaging and empowering other keen people to make it happen is equally as important as doing the work ourselves (as a building).

Theatre buildings and organisations need to be braver and take more calculated risks (or at least help other people to take them for them- eg political theatre student supported by the New Vic in time and resources without being directly responsible for biting the hand that feeds!


audience behaviour, Audiences, new writing, Work, young people, constraints, taking risks, making, conventional, ettiquette, closed shop, working class, Young People, work, theatre experience, audiences, marketing