Laura James is the Marketing & Sales Manager at Swindon Theatres, having joined the team a little over 7 years ago. Looking back on a busy 2015 she shares some of her favourite moments at Swindon Theatres this year.
2015 has been a big year for Swindon Theatres but also for you personally – how have you found your first year as marketing manager?
It certainly has been a big year, and an exciting one. I’ve been at the Wyvern for 7 and a half years now but stepping up to Marketing Manager has been a huge challenge for me. It’s not always been easy, but luckily I have a really great team and with their hard work and support I don’t think we’ve done too badly! We’ve had some really great shows and events this year, our audience has grown and we’ve continued to make a success of the Arts Centre which is brilliant. I have such a passion for both our theatres and for making what we offer accessible and appealing to everyone, and although this year has been hard work, I haven’t lost that passion. Hopefully as I gain more experience we can make next year even better!
What moments will you take away from the theatres this year as extra special? Talk us through your top 10.
Joseph’s Amazing Camels
We ran some really fun promotion events for Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat and I’ll certainly never forget having live camels outside the theatre. It was brilliant to see the show sell-out, the whole team really gave it their all with creative ideas and they were a lovely cast to work with.
Brand New Brochures
Putting together my first season brochure and seeing it in print form was quite special. The process can be pretty stressful, and it was my first job when I started the role in January so I felt a lot of pressure. I actually quite enjoy doing the brochure now!
Our Summer Youth Project of Hairspray was also a sell-out this year and was an amazing show. I’m always blown away by the talent that comes together for project, both on and off stage and the whole theatre team really gets behind it to make it a success.
Hooray for Hetty Feather
The production of Hetty Feather that we had at the Wyvern in September was one of the best things I’ve seen while working here. I love it when a show completely surprises you like that. We introduced the cast to a local circus performer Jacob Hi-Ho too!
Another proud moment was being at the annual HQ Theatre Awards where we won two awards – best team and venue of the year. All the staff were completely overwhelmed and it was great for everyone to be recognised for their hard work, although we’ve still yet to decide where to place our awards!
In October a group of us took part in the Swindon Half Marathon Fun Run dressed as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs! I’ll probably never run a race wearing a dwarf hat and beard again. The proceeds went to our chosen charity GOSH – we’ve raised £600 so far this year!
We also loved having the hilarious Avenue Q tour with us this July and ran a special tea party with the Mayor of Swindon! Never did manage to teach the puppets any manners though…
Wyvern Theatre Family Fun Day
As Marketing Manager, it was my job to organise this year’s Family Fun Day. I was incredibly nervous as I really wanted it to be success and you can never be sure if anyone will turn up! Amazingly, we have nearly 700 people through the doors in 3 hours and provided lots of fun, free activities for children and their families. There was a real buzz around the theatre and I loved that.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Being in charge of the Pantomime marketing campaign and seeing the (fingers crossed, so far great) results of our efforts has been great. Pantomime is our biggest thing and there’s always so much expectation for it to do well. I’m really hopeful that this year’s will be the best yet.
Not sure if it’s a moment, but seeing my team work so incredibly hard all year has probably been the biggest highlight. Without them I quite literally could not do my job. They really have made such a difference this year, from growing our online and social media audience, to being out an about a huge number of external events to promote the theatres. Their creativity and innovativeness with ideas for how to promote and sell our shows and events is incredible, and their skills and commitment is what really drives the marketing force.