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PUTTING THE ARTS CENTRE AT THE HEART OF THE COMMUNITY Leadership, audience engagement and the box office David Fishel, Positive Solutions.

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Presentation on theme: "PUTTING THE ARTS CENTRE AT THE HEART OF THE COMMUNITY Leadership, audience engagement and the box office David Fishel, Positive Solutions."— Presentation transcript:

1 PUTTING THE ARTS CENTRE AT THE HEART OF THE COMMUNITY Leadership, audience engagement and the box office David Fishel, Positive Solutions

2 What makes a great arts centre?

3 Gwion Qwion rock art site, Kimberley, WA Rock art, Andalucia, Spain

4 What is art about? Creative instinct Communication and shared experience Craft and excellence A search for meaning Fun and childish delight

5 What makes for a great arts venue? The core audience experience The ancillary services – ticketing, parking, catering, retail Customer care Public programs and active community engagement Accessibility – physical, cultural, financial Integration with the business and education communities; connectedness with the creative sector Organisational stability

6 Arts Centre Melbourne The Trust’s vision for Arts Centre Melbourne is simple – it is to be recognised as one of the world’s great performing arts centres. Achieving this vision will mean that we will be: Actively engaging people in exceptional performing arts experiences The venue of choice for the world’s best performers, performance companies and producers An integral part of the arts across Victoria, with deep connections and high levels of engagement An innovator, known for ground breaking programming and presentations Accessible to visitors of all ages and backgrounds Financially strong and stable

7 West Yorkshire Playhouse Awash with imaginative projects Wednesdays at lunch-time is “Heydays” day Sport & Arts Towards Knowledge (SPARK) A story sack Story Makers West Yorkshire Playhouse Schools Touring Company, Head On Backstage visits, support for exam students

8 BMEC - Local Stages Creative Producer activities include: Support for individual theatre, dance and music projects Workshops and masterclasses Local cabarets Residencies and exchanges Open mic nights Commissions Professional development Local Stages image from BMEC website

9 BMEC – other initiatives Catapult Festival Inland Sea of Sound Creative Learning Project Smashed Arts Catapult Festival BMEC - community projects kick-started by others Aboriginal Performing Arts Program Central West Short Play Festival Roadwork and Black Lines

10 BMEC – Success Factors in Community Engagement Relationships with tertiary/ education Close relationships with RADOs Cross-over between programs so that they all feed into each other Giving the community strong networks Aboriginal Performing Arts Program, Anita Heiss blog Inland Sea of Sound, ABC website

11 Technical competencies Common to Property Management Customised to the ArtsUnique to the Arts and Entertainment Sector Building and equipment maintenance MarketingArts programming SecuritySponsorshipTicketing services CleaningFundraisingProduction CateringTechnical servicesArts development Human resource management Arts education Financial administration Outreach

12 The venue is often a big, ugly square thing. How do you make it more vibrant. Pop up performance. Live music. Post show talks. Whole evening experience, wrapping around the central performance. We’re trying to make the venue a destination. But you also have to break out and be in different places. We have to work on multiple fronts.

13 Discussion: 1.What makes for a great arts venue – what are the distinguishing factors and ingredients? 2.Which venues do you admire and why? 3.How do we measure up? 4.What would make a difference for us - apart from money? NORPA Lismore

14 Leadership, creativity and childhood

15 The demands of leadership People look to me for creative, adventurous choices, and smart concepts for sustainability. Take risks, but balance with the business

16 The demands of leadership Need to communicate and build a compelling story Need to make decisions that are beyond what the audience knows it wants Listen, respond, but also lead from the front There needs to be a bold vision of what you can do

17 The demands of leadership I take seriously my role as advocate for the art and artist Resist temptation of making art secondary to business and infrastructure – keep the art in focus Speak passionately about what we do – then people take us seriously

18 Money follows good and bold ideas...

19 Influences on a venue's program VISION

20 External relationships

21 Characteristics required of all leaders Social skills Honesty Generosity Drive Confidence Charisma Humility Willingness to take risks

22 Differences required in artistic leadership Ability to tell stories Ability to conceive and nurture a unique vision Drive to challenge boundaries

23 Confidence Confidence is something that is a skill and can be learnt, but you need to surround yourself with the right people. You don’t normally have that social aspect as a legitimate part of many other jobs. That is something you can learn as daunting as it may seem to people who shy away from it.

24 Change and leadership The impact of technology Audience change from consumers of culture to desire to participate in the making of culture Impact of globalisation Increased cultural diversity Decline in traditional resources Increase in bureaucratic processes More ‘crowded market place’

25 Leadership is something you have to take. I believe you can create leaders, but it has to be something you want badly enough to go and get.

26 Discussion What sort of leaders do we need to be to build and sustain great arts venues Is venue leadership ‘different’ Leadership strengths and weaknesses – what would make the biggest difference for you

27 Programs/ services you do well Accessibility Hirer support Marketing Program Box office Active within industry Management Artist support Reputation Venue Conferences & events Friends program Audience growth Customer service

28 Programs/ services to improve Digital capability Program Artist support Hirer support Management Box office Venue improvements Events Residencies Marketing Customer service Software integration Finance management Audience development Advocacy

29 Changing expectations Commercial focus Innovation Strong leaders Community hubs Do more with less Limited funding Multi-arts approach

30 Business savvy and commercially focused South Bank Centre, London – restaurants in shipping containers

31 Innovation and a multi-arts approach to programming Adelaide Fringe Festival

32 Need to increase revenue Seymour Centre, Everist Theatre

33 City of Greater Bendigo Ticketing and Venue Management Review

34 Elements of Current Ticketing System Being Under-Utilised Utilisation of Box Office System Potential

35 Rating of the Interaction and Communication Between Box Office and Other Areas of the Organisation

36 How Prepared Respondents Felt They Were To Manage Or Oversee Box Office Function

37 Those who did not feel prepared: I have had no preparation in managing the Box Office in my current role… this organisation has always let whoever runs the Box Office just muddle their way through, as the way the Box Office was run when I arrived was quite inefficient, not utilising the ticketing system to its full capabilities at all Because I worked [in ticketing] for many years prior to being promoted, I was just expected to ‘know the ropes’. I have received no management training, or training in Council protocols and procedures for budgeting and reporting, and am having to cope as I go along, which is quite stressful.

38 Changing demands on the Box Office A much more extensive knowledge and understanding of the internet and its terminology and processes is now mandatory, whereas in the past this wasn’t considered important Digital technology, mobile apps, interfaces and social media are demanding a more savvy system that is fast and current Council has limitations in terms of keeping up with technology change. For example, Council rules against upgrading to a new web browser and has specific protocols for the use of social media

39 The arts matter The arts matter because they embrace, express and define the soul of civilisation. A nation without arts would be a nation that had stopped talking to itself, stopped dreaming, and had lost interest in the past and lacked curiosity about the future.

40 Contact David Fishel Positive Solutions PO Box 765 New Farm, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 4005 Telephone: +61 7 3891 3872 Facsimilie: +61 7 3891 3872 Email: Web:

41 Creative Thinking – Positive Solutions –Theatre and arts centre management –Feasibility studies, market testing and concept development –Business planning and organisational development –Research and policy –United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong Principals David Fishel Cathy Hunt

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