Let it Show, Let it Show, Let it Show

It’s been an extremely busy first few months for cultural intern Charlotte Horobin, who’s working in the marketing and communications department at Town Hall Symphony Hall…

It’s safe to say I have been thrust into the deep end – but that’s exactly what I wanted so I can get the most from this internship. It’s difficult to remember exactly what I’ve done week by week (it’s gone in such a blur), but typical daily tasks include maintaining print levels on display in racks across the front of house areas of Town Hall and Symphony Hall, arranging poster swaps, prioritising certain shows on display over others (THSH has over 800 different shows every year!), updating the website with new shows, writing copy for new shows, designing flyers, posters, adverts, and the list goes on…

Programme advert for the REP’s production of The BFG

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I have proved to be a whiz kid on a piece of software called Dotmailer – this is used to create e-bulletins and e-shots to send to our database of customers. With an eye for design and knowledge of HTML, the task of sending out these newsletters has fallen to me! These bulletins can be used as a means of updating customers of new shows, or singling out particular events of interest, to notify customers of any changes in time, date, or programme for events, or to contact customers after they have attended an event to receive their feedback. As THSH has a varied genre of events, there are different e-bulletins customers can subscribe to, these are: Rock, Pop, and Entertainment (RPE); Jazz, Folk, World, Roots (JFWR); Family; Classical; Jazzlines and SoundBite/SoundBite Plus. These different strands are either sent out weekly, fortnightly, or monthly, to varying levels of subscribers – for example, the RPE bulletin is sent out to over 90,000 customers every week! Each strand has its own colour palette and template, and the copy written for each is different in length, style and tone.

Part of the Christmas e-shot sent to over 90,000 customers

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Whilst working at THSH I will be mainly focusing on two projects. The first is a follow-up email campaign, where, as previously mentioned, we contact customers after attending an event to receive their feedback and reviews across various media channels – our website, Facebook and Twitter. We also include three upcoming shows which may be of interest. So far I have undertaken lots research for this project, and sent out experimental e-mails with varying levels of success. Through using a crossover report on a system called Spektrix, it can be determined which shows customers are booking for, so relevant shows can be targeted in the emails. This has been done across a variety of genres – comedy, rock, pop, classical and folk. Some strands have been more successful than others, and it is my job to work out by the end of the placement which strands have been most effective.

An Evening with Noel Fielding follow-up email (1)

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An Evening with Noel Fielding follow-up email (2)

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My second project is assisting the Education department with THSH’s role as Arts Champions for Sutton Coldfield. Arts Champions is a programme set up by Birmingham City Council for arts organisations across Birmingham to develop the engagement with art in particular areas across Birmingham. THSH’s previous projects, Generation Ladywood and Entertaining Erdington, proved to be immensely successful and hopefully this will be the case for Sutton. THSH hopes to connect people to music through audience development work and community arts support throughout the district, and there are some exciting plans coming up for arts based activities in Sutton Coldfield for residents. As part of the role we will also be working closely with Sutton based Highbury Theatre Centre, the new Arts Forum for the district. I have only just started assisting with this project, so hopefully there will be more to discuss in the next post!

Whilst I have learnt a lot about marketing in the past few months, it has also been a great opportunity to bump into the various acts backstage! I was lucky to share a lift with Noel Fielding (star of the Mighty Boosh, and described as a Gothic George Best) before his show at Symphony Hall. Unfortunately, the lift didn’t break down. I would like to say I was as cool as a cucumber, but of course I was just twittering fool! It’s also great to see members of the orchestra walking around with their instruments before a show.

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