On Monday, the top room of The Old Crown was the venue for Twespians* a regular get-together for those working in and around theatre PR. It was my first time there and, from what I could make out, there were in-house PR folks, specialist theatre PR people and a fair smattering of writers and bloggers.
- Andrzej Lukowski, Time Out’s Fringe Theatre editor
- Alexander Fleming, Senior Marketing Manager at the Lyric Hammersmith
- Honour Bayes, who writes for Fourth Wall, Exeunt, WhatsOnStage.com and Theatre Workbook; and
- Amber Massie-Blomfield, PR Director at Mobius Industries
The debate hopped back and forth and there were some interesting discussions and good points raised. Of course, things dipped into ‘Twitter for Theatre 101’ and buzzword bingo a few times, but that’s par for the course at these events.
The main message from the evening was that we’re in a period of transition where:
- an online article is often seen as inferior to one in print
- bloggers aren’t yet as much of a ‘known quantity’ as traditional journalists. It can still be difficult to gauge their value or engage with them (there was the occasional hint of ‘why aren’t they making our jobs easier for us’ around this point)
- the PR value effect of online activity can be difficult to quantify (of course this is true to some extent, although I’d like to see what efforts people are currently making)
It was also very interesting to hear how both Time Out and The Stage are not only pushing a more digital agenda, but also looking to do provide more regional coverage.
Beyond that, the attendees were a feisty bunch – not afraid to stand up for the points they were making (which is always good) and shout rudely over each other (not so good) which all made for some good entertainment.
Thanks then, to the organisers for putting together a good event and to Mobius for sponsoring the drinks.
A couple of other people have written about this:
* Yes, it’s embarrassing, but don’t look at me like that, I didn’t come up with the name.
Oh, and one other thing. It was a bit unfortunate that people had to sit on the pub’s floor to hear the panel. There must be a pub somewhere that has enough seats for a small crowd. For instance, Hacks/Hackers has a similar format and they comfortably accommodate a slightly larger number of people at the Shooting Star.