Twitter is a wonderful way of getting an up-to-date snapshot of what’s happening in the theatre landscape – here’s 15 accounts that you should be following to stay plugged in to the industry and aware of all the juicy opportunities open to you.
The Head of Your Arts Council
Peter Bazalegette for England. Let us know if when Janet Archer in Scotland; Nick Capaldi in Wales; Roisin McDonough in Northern Ireland sign up!
These are the people who dictate the policy of their respective Arts Councils – it’s helpful to know who they’re paying attention to right now by seeing who they retweet, and you get a real idea of what their values are. Invaluable information when informing what projects you choose in the medium term.
Your Arts Council
They’ll announce new funds, workshops and opportunities whilst also keeping you up to date on their latest publication. While government funding is only one way of securing funding, it’s good to know where they’re steering the arts in this country in general – regardless if you agree or not.
The Arts Council works on the ground, while the DCMS is the government department that works on a macro scale. They’re thinking about Britain in context of the world. They look at the infrastructure and channel large amounts of money into national projects. They release interesting research and publications and have a news service about art politics. They tweet a lot about individual art projects which is interesting to note down what is being invested in at this level.
Yep, this is a shameless plug – but we tweet information which makes your life easier as a theatre maker, from blogs, free downloads, free events, free toolkits and competitions which help you get ahead. We also tweet regularly about news in the industry and opportunities from a huge range of organisations.
Ms Gardner is one of the most respected theatre critics in the UK. She speaks regularly at conferences and has fascinating thought pieces alongside her reviews. You want to be seeing what type of shows she reviews to see if your work is interesting to her, but also to see which shows are grabbing the attention of The Guardian. Know your competition!
This is the academic arm of the arts in the UK. They’ll keep you informed with the latest academic findings and show you what the academic world is caring about right now. Again, the works they promote are the works they fund – great if your company has something of interest to them.
Your Local Council
There are lots of opportunities on your doorstep. By thinking nationally it can be easy to forget what’s happening locally. Some councils are VERY well funded and create a large budget for the arts. Often it’s to achieve their social mission for issues such as cultural integration and the like. As you’re based within their remit, they should care about you a bit and be more likely to give you favourable treatment in comparison with those outside their borough. Find out what they care about through twitter and open up a relationship!
Your Nearest Theatre
See above. If you’re looking for a residency, your local theatre is far more likely to support you.
Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Even if you’re a charity you are a business. Look and see what local opportunities there are near you. Attend meetings – successful business people based in the local area attend these and you might find yourself with a sponsor.
Your Local Volunteers Centre
These are amazing organisations which help you find volunteers, find grant funding and be compliant. They are a very helpful advice service and are hyper networked with local charities so if you’re looking for collaborators for outreach projects these people are invaluable. Any charity can apply to have a meeting and it’s worth it to find out what your particular branch can offer.
No matter what stage in your career you are, you need to know what is breaking into the mainstream. National Theatre shows often transfer from fringe venues and ones that sell well may then be transferred to the West End. Their marketing power is immense and many audience members won’t go to fringe theatre (too risky) but will go to The National. This shows you what is ‘in’ right now. How does your work compare? Are you too cutting edge at the moment for the masses? Are you very similar to a lot of their current shows? Do you do it better? This is important to know when approaching fringe venues as while The National is informed by the fringe, artistic directors of the fringe who want a cash cow (a show that is guaranteed to sell tickets), will be informed by what’s at The National.
(n.b. all art is informed in this way. Take a look at television. Are there a lot of historical dramas? This shows what people want to see, in any medium. At the time of writing How to Make a Murderer is very popular – and The Hangmen is in the West End – do you have a morbid theatre show? Now could be the time to pitch it)
This is YOUR membership body. You need to be a member. If you’re not, this is the next best thing. You find out what is important to theatre venues and theatre makers up and down the country. What are they researching? What is their latest publication? What are they focussing on in their training – plaster ceilings anyone? When talking to venues you need to understand what is important to them. You need to know about their world. Use the materials which are relevant to you and pay attention to the ones which are relevant to venues.
Want to take work abroad? Got a strong foreign theme in your work? Are you from abroad or want to work with different nations? Yep, follow these lot and you’ll know where to go when you’re looking to expand your horizons over the seas
Fancy touring your work outside a city? Pay attention to what’s happening at this handle as they are connected with all the rural touring schemes across the UK and are wonderfully positioned to let you know where the opportunities are and what’s abounding in the rural touring world.
These folks adore their statistics. They’re great for when you need to argue the use of the arts to just about anyone and are also good at telling you what’s happening in art politics.
For every venue we list on gobo, if they have a twitter handle, we list it. If you’re not signed up already, try our 7 day free trial and see what we mean – because you *definitely* should be following the venues you want to perform in!