Doing great work with audiences, but struggling to put it down on paper?
Ever applied for Grants for the Arts funding and been let down by your Public Engagement section?
You’re not alone. Making theatre can be a battle between heart and head: you want to spend your time developing work. But to raise money to do it, you need to spend time developing bids. Which requires a whole range of skills. And whilst larger companies might have some specialist staff to write an audience development strategy or a marketing plan, for small theatre companies… well, it’s just you.
Nevertheless, for most companies having an audience development strategy is a must. It’s not only beneficial to give your project clear direction, it also helps supporters and funders to feel inspired by your vision, and gives them confidence in you. To apply for Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts funding, you need to be able to describe:
who your audience is / could be
how and why people might engage with your work
how you plan to reach them
If you find it easy to talk about these things but struggle to explain on paper, this workshop is for you. It will help you tackle the challenge of writing about public engagement.
The workshop has been specifically designed to increase your confidence to approach the public engagement section of a Grants for the Arts application. It will be interactive and informal, with plenty of time for questions.
It’s often easier to speak with enthusiasm about how the work you will impact on audiences, than to formalise it in writing. Working on your current projects or existing ideas, and in discussion with the others in the room, you will learn what’s useful to include in an audience development plan, and how to lay the information out to make a logical and realistic strategy. By the end of the workshop you will:
have a deeper understanding of what Arts Council England need from you in the public engagement section of the Grants for the Arts application form
know what to include in your audience development plan
be able to describe who your audience is (and know who they’re not)
know where to look for good sources of information on audiences
understand how to identify appropriate target audiences
be able to articulate how and why different types of people might engage with your work
know how to demonstrate how you’ll reach them
have started writing your audience development plan!
The workshop isn’t about brainstorming brand new ideas for outreach work, and it won’t cover the full Grants for the Arts application - just the public engagement bit. But it will help you to explain the good work you are doing, aiming toward shifting your ACE feedback from scoring ‘Met’ on public engagement to scoring ‘Outstanding’. Whilst that’s not a guarantee of a successful funding bid, it is a strong step towards making your project a reality.
Date: 4 October 10am - 5pm Location: The Lowry, Salford Cost: £35
Click here to by tickets
why Kindred Theatre is organising this
Audiences are central to the work that Kindred Theatre does and we have set ourselves the challenge of reaching audiences where theatre going is not their main form of recreational activity. These are also often in small out-of-the-way places.
We are a company that is very much run by artists and find the administration side of our work a challenge. We have been very successful in the past in producing work and sourcing funding, however we recognise that in this time when the arts are moving into new ways of operating and in a funding landscape that is rapidly changing, our skill base must change and develop also. No matter how much we believe in our art, if we can’t operate on a successful business level no one will get to see that work.
Having completed many Grants for the Arts applications we find the Public Engagement section the most challenging. We decided we needed help with this section from Jo and saw it as an opportunity to share that time with others who are very likely in a similar position.
Jo Kay is an expert in audience development. She helps arts organisations understand who their audiences really are, who they realistically could be, and how to connect with them. She has worked in audience development for over 16 years, currently as a freelance consultant and previously as the Regional Director NW for The Audience Agency, supporting organisations of all shapes, sizes and artforms. Her experience includes supporting small-scale companies bidding for Grants for the Arts and Strategic Touring funding, as well as working for Arts Council England, appraising applications to Grants for the Arts.
“Working with Jo helps us to fully interrogate our work in a way that elicits the ‘why?’ and the ‘who for?’ in a very straightforward and tangible way. Our conversations strip back any superficiality and focus on the very core and essence so that we can communicate the work to key stakeholders, funders and audiences alike. Jo’s work on audience development and engagement has helped Red Ladder achieve positive outcomes on three substantial G4A’s and a Strategic Touring ACE award.” Chris Lloyd, Red Ladder Theatre Company.
This not for profit event is kindly supported by Studio Members, The Lowry