Arts Professional – Growing audiences at the Mercury Theatre

Arts Professional have covered the growth in audiences and income at the Mercury.

“Adopting a data-led approach to marketing, and using its technology investments to enter new markets, has had a dramatic impact on the theatre’s fortunes”

There is a small inaccuracy in the article – it was my predecessor who opted to install the Spektrix CRM – but the rest is all good.

A few minutes with… the Essex Digital Awards

Earlier this year I did a quick interview for the Essex Digital Awards on, among other things, the Mercury Theatre’s social media strategy

“We’ve put a lot of effort into growing our social media connections over the last year, including quite a significant spend on boosted and promoted posts in order to grow ahead of the organic ‘curve’.”

You can find the rest of the article here.

The Bard in The Bog

Sometimes it’s the little campaigns that tickle my toes – and I really enjoyed coming up with The Bard in The Bog!

“Colchester’s Mercury Theatre have come up with a unique way of helping prepare audiences for their forthcoming production of Macbeth.

For those who struggle with Shakespeare’s language the venue have launched The Bard in The Bog. Every toilet stall in the theatre has been taken over with displays suggesting Shakespearian ways of saying everyday phrases.”

More on The Reviews Hub

Ferry from Santa Maria di Castellebate / San Marco to Amalfi

On holiday in Castellebate, we chanced on a Ferry to Amalfi. It doesn’t appear on Tripadvisor (or on the web at all much!) so here is a bit more information for fellow holiday-goers to this lovely village in southern Italy.

The Travelmar ferry runs once a day in Summer. In 2014 the ferry runs from 5 June to 31 August.

We parked our car in the car park in the centre of San Marco and walked down the pedestrianised street (the only one!) directly to the port.

It leaves Agropoli at 8.30am, and calls at the port of San Marco, a couple of miles down the coast from Santa Maria di Castellebate, where we boarded it. It arrives at and leaves San Marco at around 8.45am.

From San Marco, the ferry travels directly to Amalfi. The journey time is 1 hour and 15 minutes, and the cost is €15 each way.

A Travelmar representative arrives at San Marco at 8.15am to sell tickets at a desk by the harbour.  We paid €30 return each. After buying tickets, it is a short walk along the harbour to where the ferry docks.

Once in Amalfi, we used a CityTours bus to travel to Positano, then another ferry to return from Positano to Amalfi.  The Travelmar staff at the Amalfi end speak excellent English.

The ferry departs Amalfi at 5pm from the same pier that it arrived at, and again takes 1hr 15 minutes to return to San Marco at 6.15pm.

The Travelmar website link is above, and their phone number is 089 872950.

New Video – You Can Always Hand Them Back

The Mercury Theatre Colchester’s latest in-house production is now in rehearsal. It’s the UK premiere of a comedy of songs and stories all about the heroes of any family – the grandparents!

As ever it was a joy to work with Swainson Productions on the video trailer for You Can Always Hand Them Back, and Kate and Paul did a cracking job allowing the cameras in on day 3 of rehearsals. There’s lovely music in the show from Peter Skellern.

Mentors and role models – North Stars for your career

Sitting on the terrace of the RIBA restaurant (above) on a warm summer day a few years ago, I was asked “who are your professional role models?”. I was floored, not least because I have only two – and one of them was asking the question.

I first thought of writing this blog on International Women’s day, as both of my mentors, coaches, role models – call them what you will – happen to be women who have achieved great success in their chosen fields.

Janice Maiman is Senior Vice President of Communications, Media, News & Professional Pathways at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Dr Mairi Mclean is a former chief executive of Waveney District Council and Northampton Borough Council respectively, and is now a full-time management development consultant – it was Mairi who asked me to ‘out’ my role models. I fear I dodged the question at the time!

Janice was a senior manager on a joint venture I worked on, and Mairi was employed as a management coach by a previous employer. It’s true to say that Janice and Mairi are both North Stars – a guide or reference point by which I try to navigate my own career.

If you don’t have challenging moments in a management career, you’re not doing it right. It’s impossible to please everyone all the time, and as a pleaser, that displeases me no end. Both Mairi and Janice have supported me through challenging moments – some experiences they passed on intentionally, sometimes they coached me to reach important conclusions alone, and frequently they instructed me on how to be a better manager just by being themselves.

Mairi is unparalleled in understanding how a business functions holistically. Janice has an amazing knack for building a shared vision and keeping everyone striving towards it. Both deliver insights by valuing people, truly understanding their nuances, and managing with complete integrity. Through this they achieve respect and great loyalty.

So here’s to mentors. The Americans have a  Thank Your Mentor Day – a marvellous idea which the UK should adopt. And to Janice and Mairi, a huge thank you!