I was lucky to have a Carte Blanche week at The Place in London. The Place is a dancehouse, which houses a theatre, a dance school and Richard Alston Dance Company.
Working with communication, my aim for the week was to deep dive into how The Place works with their dance audience, especially with a focus on culture segment theory by Morris, Hargreaves and McIntyre (https://mhminsight.com/articles/culture-segments-1179).
I had met Head of Marketing Caroline Schreiber once before and knew that she had a lot of skills and knowledge about arts marketing.
The communication team at The Place gave me a warm welcome. They are 5 all together, all with specific responsibility within the communications field. I also met with Programme manager Jessica Greer and Front of House and Box Office manager Eleanor Farrow.
All welcomed me in to how they work, and I joined the weekly meetings at The Place. They showed me how they think about audience and dance. Being an observer like that I learned how the communication team works and how the organisation at The Place collaborates.
I found out that The Place does not focus as much on culture segements as before, but they have used the segments to get to know their audience and that is useful in the communications work. It is also very interesting that they box office/CRM system Spectrix allows them to tag each ticket buyer with their specific culture segment and by doing that they can observe the development in their audience. The segments also gives them opportunity to talk to each segment differently and effectual through mailing lists.
I was really amazed about how the whole organisation thought of audience in their everyday life. As Rosie Neave said: “I think we all put audience first”. That gave me the useful knowledge abut how the organisation focuses on the same strategy. I also found tha we have the same challenges. Attracting audience to contemporary dance performances seems like a challenge regardless of country. Nevertheless two specific projects did struck my attention:
During my stay I had an interesting meeting with Peter Leycock who leads the project Audience Club. Audience Club is funded by Creative Europe as part of Pivot Dance – a three year programme for choreographers, producers and audiences. Peter spoke with great enthusiasm. Audience Club aims to find a way for new audiences to learn about contemporary dance. This is done by providing the audience with tools to make it easier to discuss the work they experience and give their opinion. Audience Club is a monthly social club where participants learn different ways to responding to dance and art work, and also to build social bonds within the group. I was inspired by Peter and his engagement with this project, and will look into possibilities to do something similar in Norway.
Parent and baby matiné
For the first time ever The Place arranged a parent-and-baby matiné during my week in London. Mothers by Frauke Requardt was performed at 11 am as a so called “relaxed performance”. The performance was not a family show, but an adult show adjusted for adults together with small kids. No lights in the theatre, lower sound on stage, and open doors so that it was possible to leave the theatre if needed for hte baby.
It was interesting to get to know how the performance was communicated to the target audience.
The matiné was a success and hopefully something we at Dansens Hus will try out as well.
For me Carte Blanche was a great experience to get to talk and discuss to colleagues facing the same issues as we do at Dansens Hus Oslo. The staff at The Place has been brilliant and made my experience very fruitful.
Sales Manager at Dansens Hus Oslo
14 August 2017