Annette – (Head of Comms for Theatre Peckham)
Sense that it if a show does well ticket wise and with audiences then that’s because it’s a good show, but if it does badly that’s marketing team’s fault/ poor marketing.

Matthew – lived in Folkestone 5 years. No culture here of going to the theatre – no audience for theatre.

Kirk – people have been starved of content
Nervousness from Covid-19 – not going out as much.
Hyperlocal community – super-important, don’t know enough about them – coffee mornings, connecting.

Matthew – no outreach. Going to Turner contemporary - sounds intimidating.
Being the change that the theatre industry needs

Discussion about cultural backgrounds and diversity, being comfortable in different spaces.
Travelling – feeling safe. Costs – why isn’t the audience here today more diverse?

Matthew – In Folkestone – going out to the audiences – Outdoor performances and reaching schools. The theatre has to go to them.
There’s a snobbery – a sense that they (audiences) need to come to us (venues).

Annette – working with schools in Peckham, making connections engaging with them outside a venue

Performing Arts College (in Folkestone)– students not interested in live theatre but where do you take them if there’s no theatre to go to?

Impact from cost of living and Covid-19

Rachel – decline in arts education. How do we encourage people to engage with buildings – civic spaces.
Privilege comes with owning buildings in the arts sector.

Annette - Bush theatre now not opening until 5pm every day. (Used to be a good hangout spot for artists)
Peckham theatre - putting time and money into Christmas show – pulls themes of the venue together. Schools will always go just ‘because it’s Christmas’ But this year two schools couldn’t afford it.

Matthew – Funding for outreach programmes, hard to get hold of.

Ben (Based in Hackney) – used to go to theatre a lot more, goes less now, it feels more expensive.

Kirk (Working in a University) – accidental exposure to theatre can open up new audiences. University building had funding for a renovation, and a new atrium – and now the building is inhabited by people from other departments, more people passing through and aware of what’s going on inside the building.
Delivery culture – where are the gathering spaces? Theatres as a place to hang out.

Kirk -
Conversations that are fluid and move.
The culture of theatre going, being impacted by the architecture of the space.

Discussion about streaming and hybrid events is there still interest in this? Costs too prohibitive and as soon as the restrictions ended the market dried up.
Audiences coming back in spurts. Not as a smooth flow.

Ben – having international conversations online, classes – that has developed audiences for his work.

More discussion around streaming – general feeling it’s expensive and not ideal. It’s a different genre. Performers wanting the physical connection of being in the same room as their audience.

Other sectors are still working from home though. So it can feel much harder to leave the house, having to travel to a venue as opposed to popping over after work.

Different model in Europe, theatre is heavily subsidised – easier to take risks with programming work.

Question posed – Does leading marketing campaigns with a celebrity work?
Various answers, but all agreed Yes
How do we create an ecology system around sharing audiences? A star can help sell a house.
Cheerleading as an antidote to competitiveness – supporting other venues, shouting about what they are doing to. Not just competitively marketing.

Artists sharing what inspired them, this is where this (their piece) has come from
Marketing idea – if you like this then how about this?
Not keen on algorithms, how to move away from that.
QR code of a spotify playlist that an artist has created – explains their piece through music

Kat – working with music performances – have always had consistent audiences and then post Covid its now a bit all or nothing. Reciprocal marketing through social media helps.
Hampshire venues – Not sure the audiences have gone. New season - Comedy has already sold out. Music is doing well. Things that are risky do feel riskier now though. The easy stuff sells itself. Children’s theatre is not a problem.
It is less predictable though.

Problem of venues subsidising riskier work. Less money to do so now.
Question posed about touring work. Venue marketing
It’s always been the case, just not sure who is going to come.

Going out has shifted in London. Mid week bookings increased. Weds is the new Friday
Advance bookings seem better. But then last minute bookings are more last minute, day before not fortnight before.

Churn – Covid-19 has extended that and caused a larger drop-off. Still doing damage control. Ie in one year if 50 people join a mailing list / come as new audience, but 50 people unsubscribe/ stop attending. That churn balances. But Covid has caused an extra year/ year and a half of drop off.
Mary – Basingstoke – lost a lot of audiences who moved away from the area. Lots of people moved during Covid.
Churn is normally a looping circle but currently has a huge gap. Post Covid – marketing focus on core audiences and not investing in new ones.
Don’t feel like we know where we are going over the next 5 years. What’s the change we want to see? What do we want to get the audiences back to?
Audience cycles looping into political and economical cycles, being aware of the broader context.