How do we break down the cliques within theatre?

Sam Eccles, 8 September 2012

Lengthy discussion that came from discussion about participants and audience.

Firstly discussed audience development and how it can be difficult, particularly witin rural touring, highland environment. We tend to find audiences are static, and are of a certain age group. Swathes of or our communities are not engaging with theare. Possible solutions:

What about giving away FREE tickets?
Does this devalue product?
Is there a problem in that people then always expect a free ride?
Possibly a better way forward is to offer a 241 ticket, or introduce a friends scheme - where the new audience member gets to attend for free once.
We could also get audiences to reduce the risk of seeing something new, by offering a SUCK IT AND SEE offer, with a recommended price, Participants that have done this as a promoter, state that people paid more than the recommended price.
Offer FOOD - brings in an audience, e.g play pieces, play pie and a pint, food before a performance (rural touring)

We also discussed why those going to dance, ballet, theatre etc lessons going to see the professionals that can stretch their abilties and aspirations. Can we tie this back to one of the offers above, as attending shows can be expensive for families?

Discussion then moved on to the value of WORKSHOPS, in terms of audience development.
PAN experience suggests that some people attend workshops and feel they have gained something from the experience for free, so why pay to see the show? Perhaps this is too short-termist? If a child is involved with a workshop at 9, will they then go on to be an audience member when they are 29, 39 etc?

We need to find advocates within schools, communities (See above) etc. We can do this by:
creating links with PTA's and Integrated learning groups, finding advocate teachers (maybe not the head or within drama); we need to dismiss the myth about cost of attendence and where possible offer free workshops; show how what we are doing ties in with the curriculum for excellence

Can we offer a GO SEE scheme for promoters, but also ensure that they take a new audience member with them (e.g,. say to the kid hanging about in the streets - come with me to attend an event, - language is important)

can we talk about shows as an EVENT, rather than just a piece of theatre, as mention of theatre can put people off? National Theatre of Wales have done lots around this.

We then talked abotu PROMOTERS
At the moment, promoters (in Highlands) see themselves as a unit of one. They tend to promote to predicatable audiences, and as a result the product promoted is ‘safe’
If we want to bring more people into promoting, we need to define the roles and skills of a promoter. Create opportunities for those that are looking for them - perhaps no involvement with the arts (for example, we need a web designer, digitally native young person etc etc )

Chat then moved onto discussions about PROFESSIONAL CLIQUES.
It was suggested that we nedd to ensure that new entrants are allowed into companies, rather than companies allways workking with those with whom they are comfortable.
If Creative Scotland insist on the above, are they becoming artistic directors?
What about reps do they need to take new entrants, will this compramise their artistic direction?
Is it only building based buildlings that can be a rep?
Can only building based buildings be allowed to be a rep?
Is it about economy of scale - if you get a small grant, you don't need new entrants (people strongly disagreed with this)
For some companies, a team of regulars is essential and justifiable.

Lastly are CLIQUES just that or are they percieved cliques - are they people that work together successfully to make things happen?


Marketing, Audience development, promoters, Audience Development, cliques, ticket pricing, rural touring, Cliques, audience development, reps, artistic direction, events, marketing