Summit Marketing and Venues Day
A couple of weeks ago, I had the enormous pleasure of attending the Summit Marketing and Venues Day. This was a day set up by Fuel Theatre for all the venues on the tour to meet and discuss marketing plans but also get a better sense for the show in general.
Prior to this event, all the venues had been asked to recruit a LES which stands for Local Engagement Specialist. This is usually someone who works in a specialist area and is connected to the wider local community. Because of the shows integration of BSL (British Sign Language) and its close connection to the deaf community, we were looking for someone who works with the deaf community. I happened to find Debra through Facebook, her reputation of working in the deaf community is widely known in Lincoln.
Debra and I met bright and early at Lincoln Station ready to take the 3 hour journey to Manchester. The journey consisted mostly of us discussing the possibilities that the role of LES has to offer and what projects we can work on around the performance to get people engaged with the theatre.
We arrived to smiling, welcoming faces and started to break off into smaller groups to discuss the performance. Then we sat down to begin our introductions. Molly asked us three or four questions to answer and we all had relatively the same answers. The questions were:
– What are you most excited about with regards to marketing this performance?
– What are you most nervous about with regards to marketing this performance?
– Have you got experience with working with the deaf community? If so what?
These, at the time felt quite daunting and obvious questions, with the writer of the performance sat in the room you would think that he might be offended by some answers. In actual fact he welcomed our honest opinions. Andy Smith, said “The audience is the start of this process, you can’t have theatre without audience, so this is really important to me.”
Later, Andy took us through the show itself. He said “Summit is a meeting. A meeting to combat a crisis. A moment where everything changes.” Summit is a three act play that is about otherness. Three people are on stage, one speaking English, one signing BSL, and one speaking Malay. The use of language is a big part of this play and is integral to the audience experience.
We then were joined by Maddy Costa to discuss her Theatre Clubs. These are meetings held after the show, without the writer or production team present, for people to speak openly about the performance they have just seen. She has held these for dark, emotive pieces, and for highly comical performances. You don’t have to like the show, you could hate it and come to these talks just to vent. It’s a great opportunity for the community to come together a discuss theatre in a way that they might not have gotten to before.
Lastly, we had Richard come and give a short talk about his experience within the deaf community and how we can make the show more accessible. He spoke openly and honestly about his experience and at times it was very emotional to hear of his struggle. He still kept the talk light and humorous. Richard was born deaf to deaf parents, he began signing from a very young age. He talked about his experience at school, at family functions, at friend’s weddings, and in everyday life that those with hearing take for granted. It was an eye opening talk and gave us a lot to think about, not only with regards to this show but also to the running of our venue as a whole.
If you have any feedback with regards to accessibity please get in touch with our Box Office Coordinator, Laura on 01522 837618 or email@example.com. If you would like to book tickets for SUMMIT get in touch with our Box Office on 01522 837600. Or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our box office is open from 10am-6pm Monday – Friday.