Paul Hamlyn Test & Explore

Through 2016 and 2017 we’re embarking on a project funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to explore the ways in which we creatively engage with our audiences before and after events, extending the live experience.

Our audiences have told us repeatedly that all families (especially those with young children and/or children with specific access requirements) have a fear around the unknown at events. We believe that better, more creative and inventive information – delivered in a variety of formats and crucially prior to and after these events – could dramatically improve the manner in which audiences engage in the arts.

We believe that engaging all audience members in highly creative, exciting ways with arts events in advance of their attendance can enrich their overall experience. Crucially, we also feel sure that becoming involved with the narratives and characters involved ahead of time can significantly help bridge the gap of comprehension upon arrival at an event.

The ways in which we are doing this are original and highly effective. From a whole podcast backstory to the Lost Carnival to virtual tours and personal storyboxes, we’re exploring ways in which individual families can engage differently.

We know that all families, including those with access requirements found the programme key for Just So Festival, indicating which events were verbal, non verbal, participatory, in open spaces, noisy, quiet, visual, hands on, sensory etc… very useful. This year we’re developing it further, creating an audio key to complement the print version.

We’re excited to have the chance to explore how drawing audiences into the story earlier, and providing  information in different formats can increase the impact our events have on our audiences, particularly those with access requirements.