Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre have partnered with data and insight company Baker Richards to develop a new ‘Evidence Centre’.
The Evidence Centre will utilise technology to aggregate data from different sources, including theatre box office/CRM systems, which will enable the two membership associations to analyse the data at a granular level.
UK Theatre and SOLT will then use the data to help make the case for theatre to both national and local governments. The Evidence Centre will be used to identify trends in sales and audiences, evaluate impact of theatre, classify theatre workforce data and demographics, and more.
These insights will then be used to communicate trends to UK Theatre and SOLT members as well as the media, to offer a perspective on the health of the sector, and identify any areas that may require attention and change.
Baker Richards will further develop the Evidence Centre using enterprise-grade technology, including approaches to analysis such as experimentation with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).
Data will be taken from multiple sources including automatically extracted ticket transactions, demographics data, infrastructure data, attitudinal survey data and open government data.
The Evidence Centre is predicted to be ready to use by the end of 2022.
SOLT president Eleanor Lloyd said: “SOLT has always gathered sales and audience data, but it is so exciting to think that as the Evidence Centre develops, we will have more sophisticated data and business intelligence, to assist our members with their marketing campaign planning and budgeting. This is going to be a fantastic resource for our members to access.”
Stephanie Sirr, UK Theatre president, said: “During the pandemic we made a robust case to the government for ongoing support. It was clear that there were some gaps in what we evaluate in order to make a well-rounded and informed case for theatre in a way that corresponds with government evaluation tools.
“This new Evidence Centre will give us access to sales and economic data at a deeper level which will help our members make the strongest argument yet for supporting UK theatres as key strategic partners in their many communities.”
Robin Cantrill-Fenwick, chief executive of Baker Richards, added: “Over nearly two decades, Baker Richards has developed a rich understanding of the UK’s ever-changing theatre industry, promoting and creating measures and metrics which have been widely adopted. In creating the Evidence Centre, our team of analysts will use sophisticated data warehousing and big data analysis to support the work of SOLT/UK Theatre’s members in more ways than ever before.”