A year-long journey dedicated to the public of the most important and central theatre in Bologna

Since 2014, the theatre in Bologna on Via Indipendenza – the Arena del Sole, has been part of the Emilia Romagna Theatre Foundation, one of seven National Theatres born out of the last reform. The change of authority came after nearly two decades of management by Nuova Scena, a historical company founded in 1968 by, among others, Dario Fo, Franca Rame and Vittorio Franceschi.

A journey marked by important milestones in which the ERT, one of the most important regional theatres in the country, based in Modena, made its entry onto the Bolognese scene. And so begun a dialogue with the protagonists of the local cultural scene and a renewal of the existing programme that will be launched at the beginning of seasons 16/17 and 17/18, when the Emilia Romagna Theatre will see the birth of a new artistic direction.

Why

In this moment of substantial change and renewal of what’s being offered culturally in the city, the Arena del Sole feels that it needs to get to know its audience better and find new ways of communicating and seeking out their advice. To do so, it wants to investigate the cultural and theatrical consumption habits of the public, to understand if and how they go from one institution to another, allowing them in turn to work on what more it can offer in order to intercept a potentially new and spontaneous type of audience.

How

BAM! has suggested a strategic plan to the Arena del Sole and to the region of Emilia Romagna which will run for about a year, starting in the spring of 2016. The final aim is to provide the institution in the following spring, with an Audience Development Plan that can guide and indicate specific action to improve their relationship with the public, to be carried out from the 2017/2018 season onwards.

The first part of the study will begin in the summer of 2016 with a benchmark on the policies of what’s on offer, communication and the management of spaces and relationships with the public of a few important national and international theatres.

From Autumn onwards, with the launch of the 16/17 season, the audience study will begin: questionnaires and interviews that investigate the relationship between the Arena, the cultural audience and the theatre of Bologna that will reveal how informed the non audience really is about what’s on offer at the theatre and how satisfactory the experience was for spectators. The study will be accompanied by a communication and launch campaign aimed at the audience and non audience, in collaboration with other cultural institutions in the city, with the aim of renewing the relationship with surrounding areas and laying the foundations for involving more people in the future.

After the first round of surveys and questionnaires between October and December, the data collected will be processed and a first report will be created and shared with stakeholders and the public mid way through the season. At the beginning of spring, all the elements of the audience development plan will be grouped together for the following season: alongside the institution, the engagement actions will be planned out and a new digital strategy will be developed along with an operational plan relative to time and costs.

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