Idea: Increasing public programme and ways to support the Bull Theatre
The theatre is a historic and important cultural institution on the High Street; however, it has not always been easy to offer more public programmes due to the other activities going on in the building.
Currently, the theatre runs a school that occupies the building from 7am-5 pm Monday – Friday, alongside a variety of local drama and dance groups using the space in the evening, including the Bull Theatre Players Drama Group and Elders Dance Company. The different groups and theatres put on a number of shows each year, including Pantos at Christmas and Easter. They also host local bands and run the Christmas Fayre.
The Theatre has been developing ideas to further increase their offer to local residents, including:
- Friday Night at the Bull Theatre – e.g. Open Mic Night, a Quiz Supper Evening, Bingo, Stand up comedy etc.
- Children’s Theatre Sundays – Professional children’s theatre companies performing at the Bull.
- Annual Film Festival – Could link to a new quarterly town centre event programme
- Quarterly Plays or Musical – Professional performances that are not primarily children’s shows.
Theatre Membership Model
Should the theatre look to deliver a more public facing programme, it could look to develop a membership model. One that allows the community to support the theatre in growing their locally focused programme.
Longer Term Expanding the Offer
In addition to the theatre’s plans for greater public access, in the longer term, there could be potential to extend to the rear, expanding the theatre/arts space and/or offer studio workspaces.
Why it is useful:
- The Theatre is a valued local asset providing access to much needed community infrastructure and would help to develop the evening economy in the town centre
- Enables the Theatre to increasingly be open to the public and cater for local interests
Who needs to be involved:
- The Bull Theatre: Lead
- Barnet and Southgate College: Potential partner (linked performing arts subjects)
- Council: Support idea
- Town Team: Promote
How to get started:
- Test ideas locally (please give feedback to this project idea)
- Funding: Arts Council, crowdfunding, or through a membership model
- Site: Owned by the council
- Resource: Requires theatre to invest time in setting up / promoting
Example: Arcola Theatre
The Arcola Theatre offers a ‘contributor’ supporter membership for £50/year in return for several small perks including special offers and a discount at the bar. The theatre has a strong community offer and events they host for public outreach, from Rap v Poetry, sustainability futures talks, artists networking, and schools workshops. They support their local community through hosting community theatre companies, a programme to offer free rehearsal space to BAME and refugee artists, and pay-what-you-can tickets.