Archive for the venues Category

The Alternative Theatre Charter

Posted in blogging, venues on August 4, 2014 by danbaker83

This Theatre Charter thing is annoying me – it only seems to serve a small, privileged section of the audience. In response I’ve drawn up an alternative which I’d be much happier to see people sign up to.   THE VENUE/COMPANY

  • We will welcome you to our spaces with no prejudice. You don’t have to wear a top hat and tails to get in, and if you want to have a laugh and a joke with your mates in the bar then we’re cool with that
  • We will do our best to engage and entertain you with our performances and events. Sometimes we may not be completely successful, but we’re going to try bloody hard.
  • We know our bars are usually massively overpriced. If we can’t keep these prices down, we’ll at least try to make them a nice environment to hang out in
  • Yes, the ice cream is also overpriced. And the sweets. We’re sorry
  • Because most of our Box Office and Front of House staff will be people who are keen to work in our industry (and lots will be students or jobbing artists) they’re typically lovely people to chat to. They’re not well-paid, but they’ll probably be up for a chat if you fancy it
  • We can’t compete with Michael Bay – but we can do spectacle. And bigger isn’t always better – some smaller shows are AMAZING
  • If we’re doing a show that’s not at a traditional space, then we’ll give you as much information as possible about it. Nothing sucks more than going to a show in a muddy, rainy field wearing flip-flops and a t-shirt (festivals excepted)
  • Our seats are probably uncomfortable. WE KNOW. If you need to fidget a bit to get comfortable, then go for it (and if you want to bring a cushion from home, then that’s cool too)
  • We will respect you and your opinions. If you think our work wasn’t great, then we’ll not claim you “didn’t get it” – instead, we’ll work harder at making what we’re trying to achieve even clearer


  • Let us know if you have any problems. We’re not going to get any better at making theatre more welcoming if you don’t feed back to us, and we’re genuinely keen to know what you think
  • If you want to laugh or applaud at any points, then go for it. There’s not a wrong time to react – despite what some people will tell you – and it lets us know what you think
  • You’re welcome to leave if you want to. This isn’t Guantanamo Bay – you don’t have to wait until we let you leave
  • You might be able to help us in being better with new audiences. If you think you know a group who may be interested in coming who haven’t been before, then get in touch and we’ll happily do what we can to make the experience enjoyable for them
  • If you’re bringing a family to a show, then we’re really excited by that. We hope they enjoy it, and tell us anything we can do to make it better. Theatres can be really bad at dealing with families sometimes
  • If there’s anything we’re failing at as a venue, then TELL US. Best thing to do is put something in writing (even a tweet) and then we can respond and do something about it.
  • And try not to be a dick, eh? We’re really keen for you to feel welcome, but if you keep doing stuff like shouting “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” at Sir Ian McKellan during Waiting for Godot or threatening to punch out an old lady because her sweet wrappers are too loud, we’ll probably ask you to leave

And remember – you can absolutely sign up to this charter. Or not. It’s completely your choice.


In case you’re interested, Amber Massie-Blomfield from The Albany and Annabel Turpin from ARC in Stockton have also blogged about why their venues aren’t signing up to the Theatre Charter (the original one, not mine). They’re both good reads.

The new National Theatre AD (i.e. theatre’s David Moyes)

Posted in venues on October 15, 2013 by danbaker83

This year, the biggest shoes in the business need filling. After a long reign marked by success after success, a Knight of the realm steps down – leaving someone with the unenviable task of filling his shoes. Questions will be asked about their suitability, and people will watch closely as the press stand by, pens at the ready to tell the world that things ain’t as good as they used to be.

Whoever gets the Artistic Director job at the National Theatre will effectively be the David Moyes of the theatre world. Continue reading

Open Court, and presenting innovative work in risk-averse times

Posted in artist development, new writing, producing, venues on August 11, 2013 by danbaker83

The Royal Court’s Open Court Festival – a programme of work programmed, curated and developed by writers – saw a variety of different styles of work presented, in many ways different to what we have come to expect from the Court. Along with the change in the Bush Theatre’s submissions process to accept a wider range of work, two major new writing venues are showing a willingness to embrace the desires of writers to create the work they wish to, rather than that which venues traditionally programme. But will this lead to a change in the type of work produced, or will the safer, more traditional work win out in the end?

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Risking Together – Developing work in a regional setting

Posted in artist development, networking, producing, venues on September 25, 2012 by danbaker83

Working in a regional setting can often be a difficult scenario for artists; with so much focus on London within the arts, it can feel like there is a lack of support and resources for those who are not working in the capital.  But with the arts scenes in these areas being potentially less competitive and saturated, should we be doing more to support the development of regional work?

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2012 – It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

Posted in artist development, funding, networking, producing, venues on January 6, 2012 by danbaker83

So, welcome to 2012 – if you believe the fear-mongers, it’s the year the arts in Britain will come to an end.  Perhaps the Mayan prophecy was just misinterpreted, and instead of the actual end of days we’re looking at an arts apocalypse?

Well, if you ask me it’s not all doom and gloom.  Yes, there are things happening this year which will bring about their own set of negative repercussions – be it the impact of funding cuts really beginning to take hold or the Olympics supposedly seeing West End theatres struggling to fill seats – but this should not be the time for introspection and negativity; instead the arts need to respond in a positive way and show the world just how important they are to this country.

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The ‘write’ person for the job?

Posted in new writing, venues on November 4, 2011 by danbaker83

With the announcement that Michael Boyd will be leaving his post of Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (alongside Executive Director Vikki Heywood), thoughts have turned to who may take one of the most high-profile posts in British theatre.  Articles, blogs and social media have thrown a range of names into the hat, many of them the respected directors you would expect to be linked to such a post – but should companies and venues be thinking beyond the expected norm?

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Online presence

Posted in blogging, networking, new writing, producing, venues on May 16, 2011 by danbaker83

Originally written for ArtsProfessional

I’ve spoken here before about the benefits of the internet in bringing creative communities together, but how can we directly engage with the platforms available to us to make the most of them – and how do we get the balance right to ensure we engage with audiences, and don’t ignore their input?

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