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28th November 2018 Bea Udeh

Reaching Out #ADA

Olivia Farrant is based at Headlong Theatre and has a vast selection of experiments to choose from, of her own design, as she commences as an ADA 3.0 Fellow.

I’m a month or so into my Audience Diversity Academy journey and I’m starting to get to grips with what is expected and how I can really use the programme to its full potential. I started off excited and ready to get stuck in, but a little clueless… my first skype call with mentor Mel Larsen soon set me on the right path. We discussed which audiences I wanted to focus on. In my application I had expressed an interest in developing audiences with a range of protected characteristics, but Mel explained that it would be easier to focus on just one of these to begin with. We settled on aiming to develop BAME audiences, alongside trying to develop audiences who are new to Headlong productions.

I filled Mel in on what productions and activities we had coming up that would present good opportunities for experiments and we went through a range of experiments that might be beneficial for my aims. Mel also explained to me that experiments can be diverse themselves, and it’s up to me whether mine are big or small and whether I want to focus on one experiment or work on a few different ones.

Currently I’m aiming to work through one larger experiment that will form the shape of a scheme that we can use across all of our shows in certain areas that we want to focus on, and a few smaller experiments to help build our mailing list and to investigate the best tone of voice and content for Headlong channels.

The larger experiment will revolve around recruiting two brand ambassadors in two different cities, who can help us to reach more audience members from a broader range of ethnic backgrounds for our productions next Spring of Richard III, Mother Courage and her Children and Acts of Resistance.

At the moment there are a lot of different options for which path I take with this experiment. Do I want to recruit an experienced consultant to help me reach audiences, or do I want to take a more grassroots approach? What tasks will I give to the brand ambassadors? Where and how will I recruit them? My first step is to outline exactly what I want to achieve with this scheme and then engage the marketing and outreach teams of the venues I want to focus on with this plan and go from there.

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