Guest blog: Families at Hertford Theatre

In our latest blog we hear from Rebecca Butcher of Hertford Theatre, who has been exploring how best to engage with families at their venue.

 

Families at Hertford Theatre

We always feel incredibly lucky to have such wonderful support from our audience, particularly those of you who come to our cinema and comedy shows regularly.

On the 11th March, I attended the second instalment of the Family Arts Festival – the chance for arts venues around the country to get together and celebrate the great work, events and shows that are being put on to encourage families of all shapes and sizes to engage with the arts. Museums, galleries, theatres and individual arts companies were all there, sharing ideas and discussing problems in attracting a family audience.

Whilst listening to other venues talk about what they do with families, I was inspired to try some of their exciting ideas but, I was also reminded that we are lucky to have a great audience for our child-friendly shows.

One of the main things that was spoken about was how lots of things that are branded as ‘family friendly’ are really just enjoyed by younger children and that older children and parents didn’t engage with the activity. A real family-friendly event had to include something for everyone. You might be interested to know that on our website, we have developed a Families page. We have included information about where to leave pushchairs, how to get a babes in arms ticket for shows and lots of other things.  We have also started to add information about age suitability, duration and whether shows have strobe lighting or loud bangs to our new season shows.

However, we do rely on our family audience telling us what they feel is important and what you need to take into account to make sure your family has a wonderful afternoon or day out, which is why we’re always open to them getting in touch ahead of their visit so we can help with their planning.

Most of our shows also have family tickets available. A family ticket is 2 adults, 2 children, but we don’t stipulate that the group have to be related to be eligible. As long as the group is 2 people over the age of 16 and 2 people under 16, that suits us! We also offer family films, priced at £3 each. These are normally a few Saturday mornings a month, at 10am and in school holidays, either at 10am or 2pm.

Of course, we’re always looking to make the best offering to our family audience, and therefore are open to any suggestions and learning from other venues. Go ahead and get in touch rebecca.butcher@eastherts.gov.uk.