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In our Audiences

In our Audiences

We believe that theatre is for everyone, and so we aim to share our work as widely as possible, attract diverse audiences, and to keep a significant portion of our tickets at an accessible price.

We're set several aims to help us to continue to widen our audience on the South Bank, as part of a wider audience development plan to help us reach new audiences right across the UK through touring, participation activity and broadcast.

  • To sustain the proportion of under-35s booking, which increased from 15% to 22% in 2015–16.
  • To increase re-attendance within 12 months by first-time bookers.
  • To increase BAME audiences attending work in our theatres to 10% by April 2023. In addition, through partnerships and our free programming, to increase the total number of BAME audiences engaging with us by another 30,000 a year.
  • To increase BAME audiences attending work in our theatres to 12% by April 2028. 

In 2017-18, on the South Bank:

  • 20% of bookers were aged under 35 - up by almost 20,000 from our new baseline of 15% in 2014-15.
  • We doubled the quantity of Entry Pass tickets available to under-25s: the scheme now offers 25,000 tickets for just £7.50.
  • 30% of bookers bought tickets for the first time - the highest number in the last six years. Popular with first-time bookers were Barber Shop Chronicles (35%) and Amadeus (35%), all of which had a second run in 2017–18, suggesting that repeat programming of successful work supports first-time attendance.
  • We began intensive testing of our new smart glasses which will provide live captioning to individual users, allowing d/Deaf and hard of hearing audiences to attend any performance and sit in any seat.

Our Audience Development Plan

As part of our business plan for the next four years, we’ve developed new objectives to increase the range of people seeing our work.

With our auditoriums typically over 85% full on the South Bank, it is important for us to examine how we can create opportunities for engagement with new audiences. By 2023, we’re aiming to increase the percentage of BAME audiences attending work in our theatres to 10%, and to 12% by 2028. We’re undertaking research with d/Deaf and disabled audiences to help us set targets for attendance in 2019. We’re working with colleagues to improve the sector’s knowledge of younger audiences (under-35s).

At the same time, we plan to develop our approach to working nationally – developing new audiences in less-engaged areas around the country as part of Theatre Nation Partnerships; growing our relationships with community organisations through Public Acts; supporting participation in drama and creative education in schools across the UK; and experimenting with digital platforms and new technologies as ways of increasing the reach of our work.