Session proposed by Megan Vaughan (@meganfvaughan)
Do you trust bloggers more because they're not being paid?
Do you book tickets on the back of positive reviews?
The attitude towards bloggers has changed massively over the past year, the way we communicate has changed
Do people have a natural mistrust of things online because there is no barrier to entry or do they mistrust print media because of hidden agendas?
Is the instant reaction to a show on Twitter now important?
Critics have the strength of a newspaper's brand behind them. Bloggers have to be sought out.
Online critics are now like trip advisor. "15 people" have commented now has validated opinion, created concuss.
People are wary of comments, do they come from people involved in the show?
LG: We live in a world where we seek consensus of mass opinion, but if there's is no barrier to entry then why should we give any credence to them. We've become obsessed by the "noise" it is very easy to create the illusion of opinion.
Bloggers create the ability to influence by building their own brand.
Criticism can also be seen as a means of better understanding the show after the fact.
With a broadsheet opinion is fact. Bloggers are taken with more of a pinch of salt.
The programming policy of venues can add a lot to the trust to a production.
Different audience groups and demographics look for very different types of criticism.
Ought to be Clowns has traffic generated specifically by people searching "[show name] blogger review"
It is sometimes obvious when shows have really been struggling for pull quotes to use in their marketing material.
Moved on to talk about young people's theatre and immersive theatre.
Jake has people as young as 12 writing for AYT going up to a PHD student. 12-year old gets more hits as they at writing about the RSC.
Online we emulate the print media conventions. Should we not be looking for different forms of criticism?
What role can and should PR play? SESSION 2
Session proposed by Amber Massie Blomfield
[AG: I did not catch this session from the start.]
The relationship between a company and their PR should be long term.
The relationship between an artist and a PR should be similar to that between a company and a venue.
Let people into the artistic process - blogs, multiple points of access into process.
The role of the PR could be to help artists interact with the process.
The media is changing very rapidly.
Funding is impacting the way that organisations are interacting with their audiences and being forced in some ways.
PRs are still very much behind the time when it comes to connecting artists to their potential audiences. Much because of their lack of interest in social media past the more traditional options.
The current rehearsal room blogs are very stayed. They need to be personal and not just one person told that they blogging, not having much choice in it and not adding any value.
The role of the PR should be to bridge the gap between artists and their audience.
Is the artistic process not the creation of the work? Sometimes you don't have the time / inclination to go and blog etc
[AG: I then walked away and came back so missed a chunk.]
Should the massed PR community have congregated around the funding crisis to try and vocalise the issues on behalf of the industry?
Should theatre PRs be training their practitioners to tackle issues-based questions?
Should PRs be talking to PRs across other industries to learn best practice?
PRs are totally under valued and underpaid. They should be better valued in their industries as they have the opportunities to be the life blood of their companies.
They are just seen as an extension of the marketing department.
PRs are able to share better the ideas if they are deeply involved in if they are involved in the rehearsal process.
AMB: PR is a very similar role to that of a dramaturg, it is about exploring the work from the perspective of the audience.
Artists who manage their own Twitter and social media accounts are doing a passable job of managing their own PR.
Lots of theatre companies are doing lots of the nuts and blots of social media, but few to none of them have managed to implement overarching strategy.
Creative led organisations should be able to create better and more sophisticated PR campaigns by their very nature and the people who are involved.
The same is true of fundraising., which should be done most creatively in the creative industries, but is often better executed in the more traditional commercial sector.
LG: A good PR is informed and passionate and should know the tastes of someone to whom they are pitching to.
AMB: A PR's greatest strength is their integrity.
It is very easy to forget that PRs seek to work in theatre because they love it.
Do the leaders of organisations hold back the work of their PRs? The organisation can't move forwards in the public's eyes because the PR is very low down in the hierarchy of the organisation.
There is a regional theatre PRs network and a West End theatre PRs network. Should an Off-West End network be created?
Agencies can be very difficult to convince to do pro bono work, or to convince to collaborate and jump in on project at the bottom, perhaps before there is any funding attached.