Filed under: Staff | Tags: bouncers, Drama, graeme phillips, interiors, meet the staff, unity, Vanishing Point
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Graeme Phillips and I am the Artistic Director of Unity Theatre!
How did you come to be at Unity?
I was one of a small group of people who set up a lunchtime theatre company in the early 1980’s. Unity had not been open long, and we often rehearsed there or borrowed from their props and costume store. I was returning something one day when I heard that Unity was looking for a part time drama worker. I applied and got the job! Fast forward, two refurbishments and thousands of shows later and Unity is still here!
What’s the best thing about Unity?
Despite the fact that I book the programme, there is still the tingle caused by never quite knowing what is going to end up on the stage – there have been some great discoveries as well as a fair share of “whoops – how did that get there!” moments. I work with a great team of people who really focus on presenting the work and the venue in the best possible light. Also, all the local young artists and companies who have had, and continue to have contact with Unity at some stage in their careers.
Best show you’ve seen at Unity?
Difficult to choose just one as there are a few that are quite important to me. The original, mint-fresh production of “Bouncers” where Unity was transformed into a disco for one night, and the place was packed. Lumiere & Son’s production of “Paradise” where I sat transfixed for two nights excited by how thrilling theatre can be and in retrospect the cast were a veritable who’s who of contemporary theatre. The first night of “Fall From Grace” – a one-off, really special piece of epic theatre.
Bringing off, to great acclaim, seven hours of total theatre in the shape of “Angels in America”. More recently “Gold Mountain” our first international co-production, and Vanishing Point’s “Interiors”, where the concept of telling a series of stories through body language, should have failed but in fact worked magnificently
Best show you’ve seen elsewhere?
Anything directed by Robert Lepage from work at the Royal National Theatre to shows with Cirque du Soleil – when working at full steam he really knows how to create theatre that gets to your core.
What advice would you give to someone wanting a career in theatre?
Be prepared to put in the graft – probably for little reward at the beginning. Keep open minded – never stop learning your craft
Filed under: Marketing Desk | Tags: arts, brochure, marketing, Theatre, unity
We’re heading into deepest darkest February and with the Spring season successfully underway, two sell-out shows under our belt and Arts Council National Portfolio applications completed we find ourselves changing our focus to all things brochure based!
Over the past 6 – 8 months we’ve been looking closely at our brochure and how we can make it better, more competitive, easier to read and perhaps even a little easier to find! After sending out a design brief two weeks ago we spent last week and Monday morning deliberating over some excellent tenders – all innovative, a little different and quirky in search of a design and style that will lead us through the next 2 years!
We’ve become epic advocates of extensive brochure research, (I have over 100 brochures above my desk, all annotated… Scary!) and some of our favourites have been Glasgow Tron, Harrogate Theatre, Bush Theatre, Manchester Royal Exchange and the National Theatre.
All this work has, of course, to have a point, and we’re embarking on period of change to move Unity from being Liverpool’s “hidden gem” to being a “shining visible diamond”. We want to retain our quirky, different, friendly feel but also look to find ways in which more people can have a great time at our theatre. We’re also looking to the future, questioning how we better interact with audience (increasingly digitally rather than in person), and how our brochure can help us with and to an extent enable that transition.
If there’s anything you’d like to see in our brochures then please let us know! What’s missing from our current edition? Does the map work? Do you want to know more about behind the scenes, or should we just keep it simple and not overload you? Would personal recommendations help? Do genre classifications help you?
In the next couple of week’s we’ll be sharing our progress for our brochure development so keep an eye on this space!
It’s Friday and as I find myself on the cusp of the weekend invariably I get distracted by some of our ambitions (as a marketing department…) for the next 12 months. There seems to be something about the end of the week, particularly late on a Friday which sends random ideas into my head and inevitably onto a piece of paper on my desk. However this week will be different, I thought it’d be interesting to share some of these ideas we have. I’m not sure how interesting they’ll be, after all the niche world of arts marketing isn’t particularly thrilling to everyone.. But here goes, some selected highlights!
- We want to develop our website more to make it easier to use but also combine our online and offline branding a little more. I want people to be able to comment on shows, add reviews and give us feedback, so enabling this in a more unified way will be swell.
- We want to make our box office system better, at the moment any special offers we do have to be conducted through the telephone or by wandering in.. Booking online with a discount code would be really great!
- We’d like to get our customers offers at other local venues, restaurants and shops. I’m not quite sure how we do this yet.. But it’s a nice ambition. I think it’d be great if you could make your entire evening out more value-filled and easier to book perhaps?
- More videos! I like finding out what’s on and having a sneak preview..
- Offering advice, secondments and perhaps even training to anyone in the arts who’d like some help..
- Cut down the amount of print we send out.. It’s a bit greener and saves the planet as well as is loads more cost effective. I also suspect (i’m not sure suspect.. but perhaps know) that the less time stuffing envelopes then the more time will be available to make our marketing more targeted and also more useful.
- Make sure that our pricing is as valueful (is that an invented word?) as possible? Making sure that anyone, regardless of wealth has access to high quality theatre.
- Develop more events: Thinking about workshops, acting for adults, yoga, writing classes, book groups.. We want to use our spaces more..
These are a selection of the ideas (the full list has over 60 points… nothing quite like ambition…) .. Tell me what you think…
Cheers and have a great weekend!
Filed under: Marketing Desk | Tags: arts, cake, Drama, marketing, Theatre, unity
Hello and welcome to the unitytheatre blog and particularly welcome to the first blog posted in the “Marketing Desk” category!
We wanted to find a way of being able to talk with you more easily in a more friendly, informal and maybe chatty way so we thought this could be the ideal forum to do this. But first to introductions: The Marketing Department consists of Sam (Marketing Manager, me…), Rachael (Marketing and Communications Officer), Paul (Marketing and Distribution Officer), Ged (Box Office Co-Ordinator) and an array of other staff who work regularly on our box office! We’ll explain what we all do at a later date!
This week we’ve just finalised our season brochure (check it out on our website) which will be hitting doorsteps in early January and has a huge amount of shows inside. We’ve been working to make our brochure easier to read and access over the last few months with a developed cleaner interior, shorter more concise copy, some colour coding and genre marking so you can get an idea of what all the shows are like. I found when I started at unitytheatre that I missed some shows which were fantastic because I wasn’t sure what they were about or why they’d be of interest to me, and some of the information hard to read and get excited about. Hopefully we should have sorted this a bit more: I can honestly say that there isn’t a single show in our new season I’m not interested in seeing! If you have any suggestions then please give them by commenting on this post!
In other exciting news this week (apart from our brilliant Christmas Show The Red Shoes and Terry Titter’s Christmas Caper) is the delivery of some beautiful cakes from the Camp Cupcake company from a theatre company we’ve helped out in London! Possibly the best cupcakes I have ever eaten… Highly recommended! Cakes will probably be mentioned regularly in this blog, we’re very much a cake-centric organisation, (is this common to all organisations?) the other obscure mention will be “The Drawer of Glee” which is not (as someone suggested) where we keep member of Glee locked up but is instead a drawer filled with an array of chocolate, sweets and other tasty delights…
So yes, here is our first blog entry, a little about marketing and a lot about cake.
Keep in touch and tell us what you think!