This Penguin in the Room took time out from the glare of the hot London sun to interview Jake Orr the Artistic Director of A Younger Theatre: a popular platform for young people interested in theatre. Read on to see the results!
How did A Younger Theatre start?
After graduating from drama school I decided to head down the safety route of administration work instead of performance. Sitting behind a desk was frustrating after being so creative. I began to write as a creative outlet. At the same time I watched at press nights when the critics would come to review, and I wondered where all the critics my own age were. Thus, A Younger Theatre was born. At first a blog, and later a website.
As a platform for young people do you think social media is important?
Social media has been crucial to the continual growth of A Younger Theatre as a platform for young people. Social media allows us to reach a large audience who are already well adapt at using these digital tools, and just so happen to be our own target demographic. That’s not to say that others outside our remit of ‘young people’ don’t use them, but social media has been adopted by young people as a tool of expression, networking and creativity.
How does social media play a role in your organisation?
As a digital publication we have to ensure that our content is seen by as many people as possible. Social media is a crucial tool for us to expand our reach for this content. Everyday we push out new content through our social networks (mainly Twitter and Facebook), and then rehash old content that is still relevant for our readers. We generally tweet throughout the day, roughly every hour, and with Facebook we publish at least two photos per day which include links back to the AYT website itself. We try to develop conversations through our social media output initially from our content but also through questions we pose on the social platforms.
Do you think online marketing is useful for theatre companies?
Online marketing is crucial for any emerging theatre company, and established companies too. It is a form of marketing that is constant, one that keeps a profile of a company active even when there is no work to actually market to an audience. Never underestimate the value of digital or online marketing alongside more traditional modes of marketing such as flyers or posters.
What are your top tips for theatre companies trying to get reviewers to their shows?
Think of your theatre work as a product. Make sure you know what you’re trying to ’sell’, and market accordingly to the right demographic or receptive audience. To get a review you have to have a strong product, and be offering something different. Send a press release outlining the production to members of the press. Be personal, and don’t nag.
Is there anything that turns you off a theatre company or show on social media?
When companies and organisations put no creativity into their social media, and instead produce a stream of what feels like blatant marketing. It’s tiring and dull. Be creative.
What turns you on to a theatre company or show on social media?
Creativity, and lots of it. A company who are willing to be a think tank of ideas and to ask questions to discuss and debate their work are of interest to me.
Jake is the Founder and Artistic Director of A Younger Theatre, a platform for young people to write about theatre and the arts. Founded in 2009, AYT has been called “radically agiest” by the Guardian and was named About.com’s Best Theatre Blog of 2011. Jake is also a freelance theatre writer, digital producer, think and commentator on the arts. www.ayoungertheatre.com / www.jakeorr.co.uk / @ayoungertheatre / @jakeyoh
Penguin in the Room @prartsmarketing is one penguin with an arts marketing dream: penguin stepping my way into the arts industry and helping creatives flourish! Specialising in online marketing, social media, branding, copy writing, media coaching and web design for actors, artists, casting directors, agents, production companies, theatre companies and creative individuals.
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