Bridport Arts Centre's main film audience is aged 40 - 60 years old and there was little on offer to attract a younger more diverse audience, including children and young people.
To respond to this, Bridport Arts devised a programme employing a member of the BACstage Youth Theatre (aged 14 years) for four months to assist and develop a season of films and activities which were designed to appeal to the 16-30 age group. The project included audience development, programming, marketing, event management and evaluation.
Audience development took place before the programming through surveys and findings of what young adults want to see, and what would encourage them to attend Bridport Arts Centre for a unique cinema experience. This engagement was specifically targeted at Bridport Youth Centre, Universities (Exeter/Bournemouth), the local Skate Park, Colleges and other local youth groups.
The young programmer programmed a film a month between November - March 2019 with the assistance of Bridport Arts Centre staff. As well as programming a film they provided an extra activity to support the film, such as a bands, talks, q&a, etc, which were influenced by audience development survey results.
To engage with new audiences aged 30 and under
Over achieved on ticket sales
Excellent buzz and communication from the community - people asking "when is the next one?"
The Young Programmer integrated smoothly into the team at Bridport Arts Centre
Ready Player One (Friday 30 November)
Super 8 (Thursday 13 December)
Sing Street (Sunday 13 January)
Isle of Dogs (Thursday 28 February)
Bohemian Rhapsody (Friday 29 March)
Bridport Arts worked with local community centres and locations such as schools, colleges and universities. They also worked with local businesses to come up with ways to give the screenings added value and make it more of an all rounded event. This included working with the local cocktail bar to come up with mock-tails on location, and with food and drink providers in order to offer popcorn and ice creams.
Budget in brief
Project coordinator £600
Film distributor/licence fees £100
Technical support £100
Events associated to the film programming £400
Marketing budget (social media, leaflets/posters) £250
* Newly engaged community and new bookers
* An appetite to look at the programme to see what is next
* Ideas and concepts from the audience surveys to influence a new style of programming for the upcoming year
What has been difficult
* Bridport Arts Centre would have liked to spend more time on research with groups of customers and potential customers
What you would do differently if you did it again
* The project would have benefited for being over a longer period of time
Awareness / Attitudes
The Arts Centre attracted a new wealth of customers to the venue. Out of the 334 that came to engage with the films, 75% of them were under 30 years of age and 80% were new bookers with the venue. The need to have a sub-section from programming for this age group is key for the sustainability for the Arts Centre.
Bridport was voted one of the top 10 worse places to live for under 25 year olds in a recent poll. We hope that this project and the employment of the Young Programmer has made headway to communicate that there are plenty of opportunities happening and arriving for this age group.
Knowledge & Experience
One of the films screened was Super 8, and before the feature, a young film maker (16 years) was employed to show his own film beforehand. This was an opportunity to spotlight young and local talent in the area, but also to give the screenings an element of aded value which we found was a successful way of engaging this age group.
What audiences said
"Wonderful idea, can't wait for the next"
"Blake has done a wonderful job and getting the flavour right for what is needed in Bridport"
What professionals, press and partners said
"I haven't been in the Arts Centre for 2 years - thanks for re-engaging with the community" - Bridport Youth Centre Manager