Case Study: Exeter Phoenix: Young Audience Panel

Exeter Phoenix recruited 14 young people to join the Young Audience Panel, a series of workshops were curated aimed at furthering the groups knowledge and skill set with regards to Film Exhibition.


In January 2021, Exeter Phoenix worked with a freelance Cinema Outreach Coordinator to work on an audience development project aimed at strengthening their visibility to, and to find new ways to reach, audiences under 25, and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic audiences.

Throughout, the research shifted from reading and attending webinars, to conversations with the different departments in the Exeter Phoenix: Visual Arts, Film, Theatre and Dance and Marketing and Communications. Following this, in the first half of May 2021 meetings with community partners established connections; there was a real sense of enthusiasm and willingness to help and contribute to the development.

This resulted in the recruitment of 14 young people to join the Young Audience Panel, for a series of workshops which were curated as to further the group's knowledge and skillset with regards to Film Exhibition.

Subsequent opportunities were made available to the Young Audience Panel which offered them access to industry events and new skills.

Traditionally audience development for cinema activity has been done film by film - which is essential - but there have been limited opportunities to promote the overall Studio 74 brand at Exeter Phoenix.

The project’s aims were to reach out to under 25s with a focus on BAME audiences and allow Exeter Phoenix the time to consider new options, invite conversation and develop solutions to improve the overall offer.

Exeter Phoenix wished to focus on building a trusted and positive reputation for the cinema, enabling these new audiences to engage.

Project aims

  • Build on venues track record of delivering outstanding cinematic events to find confidence with our ability to engage with new audiences.

  • Identify relatable film titles and new releases, which can be make up the campaign.

  • Work with partners to foster the confidence to talk to a diverse audience, with a view to establish opportunities for this audience to feedback into our programming in the future.

  • To build the Young Audience Panel's confidence of working within a cultural organisation, and to further their knowledge of the exhibition sector across the UK.


  • Developed partnerships with national programmers, furthering the reach of Studio 74.

  • Developed relationships with local organisations and community groups.

  • Grew in confidence and found new ways to include young people in the organisation.

  • Provided the Young Audience Panel with further paid opportunities to further their knowledge and skillset within film exhibition.

  • Rebranded the Studio 74 logo in collaboration with local artists and the Young Audience Panel


- The Night of Kings - We Are Parable
- Last Man Standing

Halloween Programming:

- Raw / Silence of the Lambs
- The Witches

Key partnerships

The project strengthened partnerships with key organisations across the UK and allowed Studio 74 to foster new collaborations.

Since the online workshops Exeter Phoenix has secured plans with We Are Parable, T A P E Collective and have been invited to work with Bristol Bad Film Club on an event for BFI’s Japan Blockbuster season.

Conversations have also been had within Exeter’s community, and plans are forming to work collaboratively with The Roots Resistance and Creative Switch, and Inclusive Exeter.

Budget in brief

Funding from Film Hub South West

Overall budget: £5200

Cinema Outreach Coordinator: £2700

Marketing Strategy and Development: £950

Outreach Workshops: £400

Film Licenses: £200

Evaluation: £350

Film Content Creation: £500

What worked

  • The project has laid the foundations to generate new ways of working - and given Exeter Phoenix confidence and new reason.

  • Inviting organisations and individuals to share their experiences. Speakers were very happy to present and share their stories and answer questions.

What has been difficult

  • Making quick and collective decisions on programming has been difficult over email/zoom and that email is not the best method of communication.

  • We have learnt that deadines need to be set and clear guidelines need to be established for each opportunity.

  • Finding a balance between giving the Young Audience Panel complete freedom and offering inspiration and boundaries.

  • As workshops had to take place over zoom, it was difficult to provide practical training opportunities.

  • Allowing enough time / space for the Young Audience panel to discuss among themselves.

  • Reaching non-academic young people / those not already immersed in film or cinema.

What you would do differently if you did it again

  • Make the recruitment window at least 4 weeks in order to spend time connecting with audiences who don’t already have their fingers on the pulse.

  • Make more time and space for the young people to talk, share and get to know each other. Find ways to give the Young Audience Pannel more ownership and confidence

  • Have a selection of opportunities available to participants at the beginning of the workshop series and with a clear timeframe attached.

Social Cohesion

The development of the Young Audience Panel has not only led to participants gaining work experience within the sector in film programming, panel moderation, and content creation, furthering their own development and providing them with confidence and agency around their own creative ideas – but it has injected new energy and sense of possibilities into Studio 74 and Exeter Phoenix as a whole.

What professionals, press and partners said

  • Abbi Bayliss Studio 74 Rebrand: “My intention was to capture what I love about cinema: the artist direction behind films, black filmmakers and old Hollywood. It was great to have this individual freedom on the project.”

  • Arsalan Motavali Studio 74 Rebrand: “For me it was just an extension of playing with my dual-nationality. I hope the colours give that sense of open-ness and communicate the inclusivity to those underrepresented, but also show Studio 74’s ability to adapt into different cultures and be welcoming to all (even though I know it already is!) I chose to do everything by (digital) pencil also, because I think the homemade feel of it creates something more nostalgic and welcoming.

    In terms of specifics – the language is Farsi, and it’s just a translation of ‘Studio 74’ written in quite traditional calligraphy."