When audiences for her contemporary circus tours stagnated, Rachel Clare of Crying Out Loud realised a fresh approach was needed. She reveals how Circus Evolution has revolutionised circus marketing.
It is difficult to develop audiences for circus when programming is on a one-off, season-by-season basis. At Crying Out Loud, we have worked across many platforms on varying scales since the company was founded in 2002 – from the higher-profile festivals like Manchester International Festival, LIFT and Brighton Festival, to the smaller-scale house circuit in the south east of England. But while audiences and venues were consistently enthusiastic about the specific tours, we didn’t see a year-on-year rise in audiences in the majority of theatres.
So, in 2013, to tackle this ad hoc method, we set up Circus Evolution: a UK-wide strategic partnership of regional venues to develop audiences for contemporary circus. Supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic touring programming, we are about to tour our fifth work, and have plans in place for a further three over the next two years. In this five-year period we will have made multiple visits to the various Circus Evolution venues, each time with a bespoke marketing campaign aimed at diversifying audiences.
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