Lovers and Liars : A David Garrick Double Bill
With just a few days to go before the opening night, everything is running to plan and on schedule. Posters have been designed, printed and distributed around campus and also around town. Programmes have been collated and should be with us in a few days. All in all, it’s going well.
Our campaign so far has focussed on building a presence not just on campus, but in the city of York itself. The former is relatively easy; many of us have close links with campus performance societies, and so contacting people who we know for a fact are interested in theatre. We have contacted these societies and advertised with them via Facebook and mailing lists. Additionally, we’ve also been in contact with societies who are not related to theatre, but who may be interested in the specific time period in which the plays are set, such as the Centre for 18th Century Studies, History Society and English and Related Literature. This method of advertising is called Market Segmentation, and involves identifying the different groups or segments of people who will be interested in your product (in this case, the event), identifying their reasons for being interested, and then tailoring your advertising to them. So, for example, performance societies will be interested in seeing theatre, particularly theatre in which close personal friends are involved. When advertising the event to this segment, these are the benefits to highlight. History Societies, meanwhile, will be interested in the writing of the period, and the plays within their sociological context, and this is what I’ve spoken about when pitching the show to them. Of course, there are things which are of universal interest, but when contacting these specific groups it’s useful to emphasise the aspects of the event which will be of particular interest to them.
Advertising on campus is relatively easy. However, this term I’ve been particularly interested in building up the department’s presence within the city of York itself. One way of doing this has been to contact all the local amateur dramatics groups in York, via the York Community Settlement Players. Furthermore, we have placed our posters in locations were interested parties are likely to frequent – such as the York Theatre Royal and the Minster Library, and the rest are likely to be placed in shop windows along Hull Road. This is a good strategy purely for building up a presence within the local community, creating a recognisable ‘brand’. Earlier today, (Sunday the 3rd) we were featured on Neil Foster’s arts and culture show on BBC Radio York. This is a double success, as it means that not only are we reaching people within York city, but because we know that those people will have a specific interest in the arts.
Finally, I’ve requested specially this term that we introduce a group booking option at York Theatre Royal, which means that groups of 10+ can enjoy a discount in ticket prices to £3 each. This offer is open to anyone, but I’ve been targeting specifically local schools and colleges, many of whom have students currently preparing for their A Level drama exams. In my approach to this, I’ve been particularly emphasising the benefits to theatre education of building up knowledge of all Early Modern theatre genres. Obviously pre 20th Century plays can be quite daunting, and it is my belief that the language and humour of both of these farces make them the perfect introduction to plays of the period. This is how I’ve been pitching the show when writing to local school teachers, and we have had a large amount of interest from local schools and from YorkCollege.