Live From UK Theatre, Theatre and Touring Summit
UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre’s Theatre and Touring Summit, (formerly ‘Symposium’) took place on this summer at The Brewery, London, bringing together theatre professionals from across the UK to highlight the issues facing the sector, and explore solutions to improve the landscape for theatre in 2023 and beyond.
The Summit helped strengthen connections between industry peers, to promote best practice insights and to unearth practical solutions to enable the industry to continue to bring high-quality theatre to wider audiences across the UK.
We caught up with Minstead Trust, Indigo, Riverside Theatre, MRC Presents & ShowPlanr, Creu Cymru, Arts Marketing Association, Trinity Arts Centre, Arts Council England and many others who shared their thoughts and about the conference and what they hoped to learn from the much loved annual networking and learning event.
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Speaker A: Ah, come on, we can do better than that. One more time. Say hi to our listeners.
Speaker B: Welcome to the arts and everything in between. Podcast brought to you by ticketsolve.
Speaker A: Hello, and welcome to this episode of The Arts and Everything in between podcast. My name is Lucy Costello, and today we are live at the Bury with UK Theater at their theater touring summit. And I’m at the team here. So today we have Charlie, Chris, Alyssa, and James joining us. And we’re going to take you around and see who we get on for the first time. So we’re in the exhibition hall and it’s starting to get full. And we’ve just met our friend Sean from the Riverside. Color rain. Sean, how are you?
Speaker C: Great. Glad to be here.
Speaker A: Is it your first time attending as well?
Speaker C: First time attending you get here.
Speaker D: Yeah.
Speaker A: And what are you looking forward to today, Sean?
Speaker C: Really interesting talks planned. So interested for me because both front of house and developments covered. So really affordable to both aspects of it.
Speaker A: Absolutely. So it’ll be kicking off in the next half an hour or so and enjoy the rest of your day.
Speaker C: Thanks, Liffy.
Speaker A: So I’ve just bumped into a friend, Chris Jenkins, who we have met from the Arts Working Group. Chris, wasn’t it? Back in 2020, you were part of our that’s right, the Working Group. And it’s amazing to meet in person today and of all places, at UK Theater.
Speaker B: That’s right, that’s right. Yes. I suppose I was on the Working Group with my MLC hat on as repping the world of promoter types. But we’re here today with our Show Planner hats on. Show Planner runs all the marketing and ticketing for all of MRC’s concerts, but also can run it for other promoters and third parties. And we’re here because there’s a room full of venue types and whatnot. And it’s good to just say hello and just check our logo is on the Lanyards that we paid for.
Speaker A: Absolutely. And Chris has just introduced me to Tom. Hi, Tom.
Speaker E: Hi there.
Speaker A: How are you getting on? So. Yeah. So show planner have sponsored the lanyards today.
Speaker F: We have, yes. We’ve joined UK Theater as a partner members, and it’s a great opportunity to connect with the rest of the industry and meet some venues. And Chris said with a Show Planner hats on, just tell me what we’re about and kind of introduce our consumer facing brand.
Speaker A: Absolutely. We’ve done the exact same this year for Ticket. Salva. Sal. It’s our first year, so we’re so excited. But enjoy the rest of your morning.
Speaker B: Thank you very much.
Speaker A: Thank you. And we’ve just bumped into our great pal, Katie Reigns of Indigo Limited.
Speaker G: Hi, Katie. Hi, Lucy.
Speaker A: How are you getting on today?
Speaker G: Oh, great.
Speaker A: It’s just absolutely packed here.
Speaker G: There’s so many people. And what I love about this conference is it’s not just the marketing people for once, much as I love marketing people. You get everybody from Ops people, box office marketing, CEOs, autistic directors. It’s just fabulous to all be together in one room.
Speaker A: Absolutely. And Katie, you have a session later this afternoon.
Speaker G: Yeah, so I’m chairing a session on the evidence that we need to make the case for theater to the UK government.
Speaker A: Wow, that’ll be a challenging conversation, I’m sure. Yeah.
Speaker G: Thankfully, I’m only chairing it, I don’t have to have an opinion on it.
Speaker A: Amazing. Well, enjoy the rest of your day.
Speaker G: Thanks, Lou.
Speaker A: See you later. Bye. So we’ve just finished up with the opening keynote there and I bumped into Lou, director of Cray Cumbrie. Lou, how are you? I’m so good, I’m so good.
Speaker E: I’m just thrilled to see Lucy in.
Speaker A: Person for the first time in life. I know. And I was like, this is my second time meeting you in person. You had to tell me. No, we’ll have to have another hug. But Lou, you’re a board member for UK Theater.
Speaker E: Yes, I’m kind of double hatting today, so here on behalf of the board, but also here on behalf of all Craycommy members in Wales who aren’t here today, so I can listen and take.
Speaker A: Back things and get a laugh from the day. Yeah, it feels like it’s only just started and I feel like the day is going to go by so quickly.
Speaker E: It’s going to go really quickly. There’s a lot and even now I kind of know what I want to go to in terms of the sessions, but I’m also going to just see where the mood takes me and who the speakers are and who I chat to. But these things are always just great to just see people in person. And the networking is as equally important as all of the other sessions, so yeah, really looking forward to it.
Speaker A: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Lou. We’re just having a well deserved coffee here now after the opening keynote, and Craig from Trinity Art Centers come up to the ticket salt booth. Hi, Craig.
Speaker D: Hi, how are you?
Speaker A: Good, how are you? Most importantly?
Speaker D: Yeah, I’m really good, thank you. It’s great to be here in amongst everybody that’s busying in the industry and stuff, so it’s been great to catch up with people that I’ve worked with before, people that I’ve not worked with before, but communicated with quite a lot. So it’s quite nice just to connect and share moments together.
Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely. I actually can’t get over just how much networking opportunities there really is today. So many people are just moving around and just having a chat. It’s great to see. It feels like there’s just such an atmosphere here today.
Speaker D: And this pastries and coffee, which is always a bonus.
Speaker A: Absolutely. A bit of sugar to help. And Craig, what sessions are you going to go to next?
Speaker D: So the important thing for us is about new ways of producing. It’s a model that we’re wanting to look to go into for the size of venue that we are. We’ve noticed that there’s a gap in that market for us as a size of venue that we deal with and then obviously understanding audiences and what our approach is to making the experience better and making it safe.
Speaker A: Absolutely. Yeah, I know. Definitely there’ll be some key takeaways today, for sure.
Speaker D: Absolutely. Just too much.
Speaker A: Well, enjoy the rest of the day.
Speaker D: Thank you. Lovely to meet you.
Speaker A: Thank you. Still grabbing copies and I bumped into my really good friend, Phil Loftez from the Arts Council of England. How are you, Phil?
Speaker B: I am very well, thank you. How are you?
Speaker A: Very good. I’m so delighted to see you. Come here. How is everything going for yourself today?
Speaker B: Yes, really well. I mean, we’re here today to talk about the new access scheme that we’re working on, so it’s really good to actually be out talking to the sector and giving an update as to where we’ve got to. It’s a very exciting project and very interested to see what everyone makes of what we’re working on.
Speaker A: Absolutely. It’s actually a session that I’ve bookmarked, so I’m really looking forward to attending it and kind of getting an insight today. I’d say you’re very busy between trying to get your session set and also work the room.
Speaker B: Exactly. We’re in a transition phase at the moment from being very much in a listening phase to being in a more talking phase. So very exciting to kind of see that transition and make sure that we’re starting to tell people what we’re doing whilst actually still listening to what people want for us.
Speaker A: And Phil, for anyone who’s listening today, where is the best place that they can go and gain more information on the project?
Speaker B: Well, right now we are now on the conference circuit, so we’re here today, we’ll set the AMA, so if you’re either of those, come and speak to us. We’ll also ISPA later on in the week, this week, but later on in the year, in September, we are going to be launching our website and once that’s live, that will have all of the information about what you can expect from the scheme.
Speaker A: Oh, Phil, I’m delighted for you. That is so exciting. I can’t wait to see the new website.
Speaker B: You and me both.
Speaker A: Well, we’re just on a lunch break now here at UK Theater and I’ve just bumped into Kath of the AMA. HIA, Kath.
Speaker G: Hi, Lucy. How are you doing?
Speaker A: Great. I’m so delighted to see you today. And we’re getting ready now. We’ll be going over to Leads in is it two weeks?
Speaker G: I think it’s about two weeks, yeah. The team on a big countdown now, but we’re really excited. We haven’t been to Leads for ages and we had nearly sold out all our conference tickets, which is super exciting. So there should be like 750 people heading to Leads to talk about audiences and marketing and all of those things that we love.
Speaker A: That’s amazing. And I guess Cass, what brings you here today? Or what are you looking to get from the day yourself?
Speaker G: This is quite a key sector event. There’s always a lot of a really nice mix of people here because obviously AMA is like predominantly marketers and we love our marketers. But what is interesting here is kind of getting perspectives from different parts of the sector and I think UK theater do a really brilliant event. So it’s quite nice to just come and enjoy being hosted for a day rather than being the host.
Speaker A: So, yes, it must feel like riding with your other hand when you’re here today. The fact that you’re actually not behind the event, organizing, it feels very luxurious.
Speaker G: Although my team would probably laugh hearing me say that because it’s also quite luxurious for me at the conference because they work super hard and then I just get to turn up and go and talk to loads of people. So, yes, but there’s no pressure today. It’s just like, enjoy the day, meet lots of great people and see what comes out of it.
Speaker A: Amazing. Well, we’re looking forward to seeing you again shortly in Leeds.
Speaker G: Thanks very much.
Speaker A: So Charlie, we’re getting ready for the last session of the day. Can you believe it’s gone by so quickly?
Speaker G: It’s gone by so fast. It’s been a really enjoyable day with some really interesting conversations.
Speaker A: Absolutely. I’ve just come out of the session that was speaking about audience behaviors, and I just felt while everyone had quite deep frustrations and concerns with what’s happening at the moment within venues, there really was a sense of working through it together and listening about some of the training that had been implemented in certain cinemas and certain venues over the UK. And also what I found really humbling was some large venues were really open about sharing the experiences that they’ve had recently around, I suppose, antisocial behavior within, during, before and after performances in their venues. And I just think that honesty and opening up and saying this is happening, it’s not being sucked under the rock. This is what we’re speaking about internally. How do you approach it in your organization? I think a lot of people get a lot from that.
Speaker G: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a very hot topic at the moment as well.
Speaker A: Absolutely. So we’re going to grab some coffees and have our final few chats before we get ready for our final session and then our close for the day.
Speaker H: It’s been well over a week since team ticketsolve attended the theater and touring summit with UK Theater at the Brewery in London. Was a fantastic day and great to see so many wonderful theater professionals. I made so many new connections and really left the day feeling connected with my colleagues, my peers, and also really invigorated as well. Just want to say a massive. Thank you to Sebastian, head of UK Theater and the wonderful team UK Theater. Thank you so much for everything. It was amazing to attend. This has been an episode of The Arts and Everything in between podcast brought to you by ticketsolve. If you’ve enjoyed listening so far, please make sure to, like, subscribe and share to the podcast and hopefully tune in soon.
Speaker A: We’re still here at the lunch, and we’ve been offered loads of absolutely amazing looking desserts, but my colleague James and myself have just bumped into Serena from the Minstead Trust. Hi, how are you? Hello. Nice to be here. Great to see you. Is it your first time attending UK theaters? Yes, it is my first time, and it’s definitely everything that we thought it would be. It’s so exciting. That’s amazing. I suppose. What are some of the snippets that you’re looking to bring back to your team today or some of the learnings that you’ve received from the sessions this morning? Well, I think that it’s really interesting to see that every theater and everyone in the industry has the same issues and everyone feels like it’s nice to know that almost we’re all in the same boat. So hearing other people’s solutions and how they deal with problems like staffing and engaging with community of young people is really important for us. So it’s really helpful to see how other people and deal with these problems and come up with solutions. Yeah, absolutely. And we have your next number one visitor here, James. James is going to plan a few visits. Isn’t that right, James?
Speaker B: Certainly. Right. I need to pop around. I’m only down the road, so I definitely need to go see you guys, and if that’s that’s cool. You guys, I’ll be right yeah.
Speaker A: Amazing. Well, enjoy the rest of your conference. Thank you. Okay.
Live from UK Theatre, Theatre and Touring Summit
UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre's Theatre and Touring Summit, (formerly ‘Symposium’) took place this summer at The Brewery, London, bringing together theatre professionals from across the UK to highlight the issues facing the sector, and explore solutions to improve the landscape for theatre in 2023 and beyond.
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