Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre, two of Britain's leading industry membership associations, have announced a partnership with data and insight specialists Baker Richards to develop an Evidence Centre that will provide analysis of the theatre sector.
The centre will use the latest technology to gather data from multiple sources, including automatically extracted ticket transactions, data on demographics and infrastructure, as well as attitudinal survey data and open government data.
It will allow SOLT and UK Theatre to identify trends in sales and audiences, evaluate theatre's economic impact, classify workforce data and demographics and present in-depth analysis that contributes to demonstrating the value of theatre to national and local government.
“Over nearly two decades, Baker Richards has developed a rich understanding of the UK’s ever-changing theatre industry, promoting and creating measures and metrics which have been widely adopted,” said Robin Cantrill-Fenwick, Chief Executive of Baker Richards.
For the new Evidence Centre, analysts will use innovative approaches including experimentation with machine learning and AI. The first iteration of the data tool is scheduled to be ready for use at the end of the year.
President of SOLT Eleanor Lloyd said the new centre will be “a fantastic resource for our members to access”, facilitating “more sophisticated data and business intelligence, to assist our members with their marketing campaign planning and budgeting”.
Stephanie Sirr, UK Theatre President, said that while making the case for government support of the theatre sector during the pandemic, they had identified “some gaps in what we evaluate in order to make a well-rounded and informed case for theatre in a way that corresponds with government evaluation tools”.
“This new Evidence Centre will give us access to sales and economic data at a deeper level, which will help our members make the strongest argument yet for supporting UK theatres as key strategic partners in their many communities,” she said.