Audience development for theatres today

Part of the Resilient Theatres: Resilient Communities project, this webinar will provide theatres with an introduction to audience development with a specific focus on today’s most relevant challenges, opportunities and practices.

People chose to attend or not attend a theatre performance for many different reasons, which offers theatres numerous opportunities to engage audiences. It can also result in missed opportunities that can lead to audience disengagement. As technology continues to advance, society becomes more diverse and complex, and political and economic uncertainties challenge the sector, theatre professionals are having to constantly review how to engage audiences.

With case studies and practical tips, this webinar will focus on how to gain a better understanding of your existing audience and use this as a solid foundation to begin work on reaching new, target audiences or deepen your relationship with existing ones.

Catherine Bradley, Senior Consultant at The Audience Agency, will outline how theatres can improve understanding of their current audiences and tap into audience development potential by understanding the environment in which they operate, the different ways they can develop audiences, and different audience needs. 

Ben Payne and Gerald Richards of B&G Partners LLP will speak about developing diverse audiences. They will outline different interpretations and levels of understanding people have about ‘diversity’ before delving into the critical practices required to build a diverse audience, such as consistency and commitment. They will also highlight underlying assumptions behind some audience development strategies.

This webinar will be hosted by Siân Eagar, Theatres at Risk Adviser and Programme Manager for Resilient Theatres: Resilient Communities.


Catherine Bradley, Senior Consultant, The Audience Agency
Catherine has many years’ experience as a consultant leading research, evaluation, audience development and marketing planning projects with a range of organisations spanning the cultural and heritage sectors. She is an experienced project manager, facilitator, and audience development and marketing trainer. Her current and recent clients include the National Library of Scotland, The Stoller Hall, Hull Theatres, Manchester International Festival, Liverpool Biennial, Sherman Theatre Cardiff and Tung Auditorium Liverpool. Before joining The Audience Agency, Catherine previously held audience development, marketing and press roles at Arts About Manchester, Oldham Council's Heritage, Libraries and Arts Service, Leeds Playhouse, Buxton Opera House and the Hallé.

B&G Partners LLP
Ben Payne is a writer and producer with a background in the performing arts. He was Associate Director of Birmingham Rep Theatre with responsibility for its new writing programme. In 2010, he co-founded the Ministry of Stories, a writing centre for young people in east London. Gerald Richards is a nonprofit leader and writer with more than 25 years of experience working in the third sector. He was the founding CEO of the Super Power Agency, a youth writing organisation based in Edinburgh. Prior to that he was CEO of 826 National which supported a network of youth writing centres across the US. Together they formed B&G Partners LLPwhich helps people and organisations flourish by being more creative, clearer about their purpose and tell a better story about what they do. They do this through coaching and consultancy, training, research and facilitation.

 Series of logos from National Lottery Heritage Fund, Pilgrim Trust, Swire Charitable Trust, Theatres Trust

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