China Plate is a small theatre producing company whose mission is to challenge the way performance is made, who it is made by and who gets to experience it. We do this through making and touring productions; our artist and sector development programme; being key partners in consortium festivals and initiatives, and through a new participation and engagement strand.
The company has a clear vision and mission that helps to inform the projects that we produce and how we deliver them. However, as a small team we are often working on our own projects and are focused on meeting that individual project’s aims, objectives, outcomes and outputs. This has meant that we’re not often looking at how each project contributes to the wider company picture and evaluating its success/impact with that in mind. We want to join up the thinking on each project so that it’s much clearer how these are all serving the same vision and mission, and in turn reaching audiences.
To do this, we’ve been asking ourselves a lot of questions about our brand and audiences as a company. Bringing all our projects together to help define our identity and beliefs. We asked:
- What is the underlying belief or idea that motivates us?
- If we closed down what would be missed?
- What character traits would we like to be known for?
- What qualities of our approaches set us apart from everyone?
- What impact do we have on the public/community?
- What impact do we have on the sector, artform, artists?
We’ve also been analysing the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats when it comes to audiences engaging with us as a theatre company – whether that be artists, teachers, young people, or the general public.
Using this information, we’ve developed five audience aims – every project we work on should be working towards some or all of these.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be working with the team to map these aims across all our projects. As part of our ADA experiment we will be getting feedback from the team on how the audience aims sit with all our projects. Do they think they are the right aims? We will also be experimenting with them being used to build audience development plans for each project.
By testing this out, we hope we will develop a simple mechanism by which projects can be measured against to evaluate how they are best serving our company-wide business plan and not just the individual project.
Andrea Pieri Gonzalez (Engagement and Participation), China Plate