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Case Study: Little Angel Theatre Company’s digital strategy revamp

Marketing and Communications Manager, Sophie Waddy, talks us through the work Little Angel Theatre did with our Tech Champions. A case study from February 2021.

About the organisation

Little Angel Theatre is a children’s theatre dedicated to fuelling the imagination through the art of puppetry. Established in 1961, we are approaching our 60th birthday, and over the years have produced shows which have played in our venue in Islington and toured all around the UK and overseas. We also have an extensive community and education programme, working with local schools and community groups to ensure all children in our divided borough can access the arts.

I (Sophie Waddy) am the Marketing and Communications Manager at Little Angel Theatre, and my role involves promoting the many strands of work that we do across our website, social media channels, press, and partnerships.

What did you want to achieve?

Little Angel Theatre had begun experimenting with digital technology before the pandemic – creating a show that integrated an app; using micro-cinema technology; live-streaming a show; and creating a pilot digital short in partnership with Adastra and Bogglesox TV. We had created a digital strategy and discussed content creation with a digital mentor (funded by NESTA) and other creators of content for children on YouTube.

When theatres closed in March 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, we quickly pivoted to creating digital content, launching a range of resources for families homeschooling. This required our small team to pick up new digital skills on the job. I had to learn how to use video editing software, upload and schedule content on YouTube, and optimise videos – all within a week of the theatre first closing its doors.

What led you to contact the Digital Culture Network?

We received an email from the Arts Council letting us know about the Tech Champions, and I initially had a conversation with previous Tech Champion Roberta Beattie about our website, which led to further meetings with Peggy Naumann (previous Email Marketing Tech Champion) and Dean Shaw about emails and digital content.

How did you do it?

In such a busy period, it was helpful to take a step back and look at our digital strategy across all of these streams, and it was empowering to know we were already taking a lot of the right steps! Roberta helped me think through options for displaying our digital content in a user-friendly on the website, and Dean introduced us to useful software for tracking SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) on YouTube.

What happened?

Since launching our Watch, Make, Share digital stream back in March, we have created 170 videos that have had over one million views in 89 countries worldwide. We’ve been completely blown away by the response from families and teachers, and have even been featured on the BBC and in the New York Times.

Dean’s advice definitely led me to think more carefully about the discoverability of our videos, which has no doubt contributed to this level of views. We created a brand new section of our website for hosting our online shows and activities, which has had 195,000 hits. The next stage of our digital journey is (hopefully!) creating a brand new website, and I will be talking to Roberta about this as we progress with our plans.

What is your advice to others considering reaching out the Digital Culture Network?

You’ve got nothing to lose! The process of making an appointment is so easy, and it’s reassuring to be able to speak to experts in the field when you’re finding your way with something new, especially in the work-from-home vacuum!

The current Digital Culture Network Tech Champion for websites is Andy Leitch.

The current Digital Culture Network Tech Champion for Email Marketing is Jacqueline Ewers.

What’s next?

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up for our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

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