Column: David Bown, Harrogate Theatre - A night out at Harrogate Theatres
I have been at Harrogate Theatre for nearly twenty years, and I have to say that I was struggling to be optimistic during the pandemic that witnessed a forced closure of eighteen months. Our operation and staffing were severely reduced, to cut down on costs and keep the organisation afloat. When we were finally in a position to open once more for the pantomime in 2021, the theatre was running on an extreme skeleton staff.
Our Marketing team consisted of Natalie Rawel and Tori Moor. They had to get the message out to the public that a night at the theatre was now a viable option, after nearly two years of us all being instructed to avoid crowds and confined spaces. A daunting prospect, as it was largely accepted that audiences would be reluctant to return, as social distancing was still at the forefront of everyone’s consciousness.
Natalie looks after all of our marketing campaigns, working closely with touring companies to let our audiences know about the fantastic range of shows we have on offer and Tori is in control of our social media, creating brilliant content.
So, if you've liked a Facebook, Instagram or twitter post - it's Tori who will have posted it. Together they intelligently and meticulously plotted the route for each campaign that witnessed audiences returning stronger than ever before.
We have since added Jake Quirke to the team, who designs everything from the season and comedy festival brochures, the Pantomime programme, street banners and posters that you'll see around town.
I must also highlight the work of Hannah Draper, our Director of Creative Engagement, who has carried out the magnificent job of steering and supporting this marketing journey, bringing the theatre back to life with such buoyancy and splendour.
This small team has delivered the best results we have had for the past sixty years over four challenging venues across the town. Such unsung heroes that have encouraged you all to return to a night out at Harrogate Theatres.
“Each season presents a large volume of shows in different venues across the town. Being a small marketing department can present challenges in spreading the word about all of the brilliant productions we have available to see, especially when genres range from comedy, new-writing and drama, to dance, circus and music. That being said, it is brilliant that we’re able to offer such a varied range of shows so that there really is something for everyone to see.” Natalie Rawel. Marketing Manager.