Data Sharing: how Sadler’s Wells put the customer first and increased touring company customer data by 25%

Data Sharing: how Sadler’s Wells put the customer first and increased touring company customer data by 25%


Sebastian Cheswright Cater and Matt Kirby at Sadler's Wells share how putting the customer first has helped them meet ACE data sharing requirements, stay legally compliant, support their artistic partners and save hours of valuable staff time.

At a glance


Sadler's Wells needed to put in place safe and secure ways to share personal data with their touring partners as a requirement of Arts Council England (ACE) funding.


Sadler's Wells partnered with The Barbican, Southbank Centre and Purple Seven to produce a tool that met ACE National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) requirements in full and facilitated the easy and secure sharing of opted-in customer data.

April 2016 - new requirements established:
Sadler's Wells is committed to developing audiences for dance at a local and national level, and data sharing plays an important part of that work. As both a venue and a touring producer, we have received requests from our touring company partners for data, as well as made requests for data to the venues we tour to. The ACE regulations set the sector a challenge to find a solution to data sharing, and through working in partnership with The Barbican, Southbank Centre and Purple Seven, we collectively devised a practical response that satisfied ACE's needs. As an industry, we are all still in the early stages of developing best practice, which will only come with time. We have worked closely with our Associate Artists and Companies, and NPO touring partners, to support them as they develop their own data protection systems and policies.


1. Ensuring that we were obtaining clear and actionable consent from ticket bookers for their data to be responsibly shared.

2. Ensuring that any subsequent data transfer was tracked and secure and clearly showed the demarcation point between ourselves and the company that we are sharing data with, so that it's clear where our legal responsibilities as Data Controller end and the touring company's begin.

The 'Data-Sharing' solution Purple Seven have developed with us delivers a secure portal that is easy to use by both us and our NPO partners.

Putting the customer first:

Our starting point for this initiative has always been to start with the customer, and focus on what it is that they want. We have never been concerned about 'owning' the customer, as we know through Purple Seven's audience insights that while arts attenders may attend our venue frequently, they also choose to visit a range of other venues as part of their cultural mix. We have always seen our role as custodians of the customer's data - firstly, in following data protection legislation and protecting their data, and secondly in striving to give our customers a good balance of communications that are targeted to their interests.

When we launched this initiative, we held a series of meetings with our Associate Artists and Companies, and talked through the ways in which we can collaborate to integrate our communications to support our partners' needs. This included adding a link to their website newsletter sign-up page on our post-show emails, and tweeting this link as well.

We are hopeful that our approach of putting the customer first (as per the data protection principles) and making it clear that we will treat their data as we have explained to them will foster a greater level of trust between the audience and ourselves. We hope this will encourage greater opt-ins as our customers know we are only sharing with the company whose work they are seeing, and not sending it out to unknown third parties - perhaps their biggest fear given the recent charity data selling scandals in the news.

Download the case study to read on:
Data Sharing: how Sadler's Wells put the customer first (PDF)

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Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2017