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Communicating with target audiences in the digital age


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9 hours ago, Emeralds said:

Marketing and word of mouth are so important. The opening night of the mixed bill with Hofesh Schecter’s Untouchable wasn’t  just well attended as you’d expect first nights to be (critics attending, friends and family supporting) but packed out. Initially I wondered who they’d all come to see. After Untouchable ended, the audience (especially in the amphitheatre and balcony tiers) went wild. Somehow the word had got around to his fan base. It was the same for Akram Khan’s Dust-every performance that he was dancing in sold out very quickly.

 

I think, as our culture, as well as our society, becomes increasingly fragmented, it must be getting harder and harder to hit your target audience, which helps nobody.  I mean, if you're posting on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and TikTok (is that a viable option in this case?) AND at the same time trying to catch the attention of those who still read hard-copy newspapers / travel on the London Underground / listen to Radio 3 / [insert other favoured mode of communication here] you must be spreading yourself very thinly, and at no doubt considerable cost. 

Those electronic methods are all very well, but presumably are ring-fenced to those who have effectively signed up to them: if you've chosen to follow an organisation on social media, that's one thing, but how does that organisation reach out beyond that to potentially-interested audiences?  What effect has GDPR had on organisations' ability to communicate with the general public?  Badly-thought-out cookie permission pages which just leave you so frustrated at your inability to tailor them to your real requirements that you end up hitting "Reject All" because you can't be bothered trying to tiptoe through the minefield, and therefore mean that you don't get shown adverts that might be of interest?  Frustratingly-designed websites which don't really fulfil their primary function of making it easy to find information ...

And then there are the venues which hold the marketing data but don't necessarily share it with the performing organisation (are they even allowed to these days?)  I was quite surprised recently to find an email from one of said organisations dangling a carrot in front of me to try and persuade me to come to one of their performances because I apparently hadn't returned to them since the pandemic.  Except ... I had.  Probably several times.  But how were they to know, given that I'd booked in person at the venue (thus avoiding the booking fee)?  I may even have been classed as a walk-up, and my details not taken at all.  It's all very difficult.

 

On the printed-matter side, well, we know the Royal Opera House has gone paperless (although I did notice a physical poster for Mayerling on the Tube.  Sadler's Wells, I suspect, may be heading in that direction: its "season brochure" is now 2 sides of a piece of card which literally just tells you title, artists and dates, but nothing more that might tempt you - and the Peacock Theatre, although having numerous leaflet holders, had no leaflets in them during The Trocks' recent season.  I picked up a copy of the London Planner from my local library: it seems to cover West End shows but not, as far as I could see, dance, opera and classical music.  Time Out has bitten the dust - although it hadn't been a reliable source of entertainment information for years anyway.  At least one member of the weekend "quality" press which used to provide reasonable information about what was on arts-wise around the country is acting as though we're still mid-lockdown and barely publishing anything ... I could go on, but won't, as it's too depressing, but it must be losing the arts organisations a significant number of their patrons who don't primarily look online for their information.

Edited by alison
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@alisonThat is a great summary on the topic of publicity.  The only form of social media I use on a regular basis is Facebook, and I don't think I have ever seen anything about performances at the Royal Opera House on my link.  I do get emails, however, which are quite helpful, but again, only because I have signed up for them. Surely social media is incredibly limited in the amount of information it can convey, and the stuff I have seen on FB about, say, a new film or play, tends to be along the lines of "its incredible/fantastic/wonderful" by critics, all with 4 or 5 star ratings.  Nothing about the content, and obviously nothing that might be less than gushing praise. 

 

I still think posters prominently displayed are one of the best forms of communication, plastered in various location where they will catch the eye of the maximum amount of people passing by.  However, as I said before, in recent years these have tended towards the general rather than the particular.  In fact, the only posters I can recall over the past few years that are very specific are ones such as those presented by Raymond Gubbay, which give clear details of the event, together with dates, times and venue.  Admittedly it is easier to advertise a Christmas carol concert than a triple bill of ballet, as everyone is familiar with the former.  However, publicity I have seen for the ROH seems to be concentrating on their restaurants rather than their performances.  Ok, getting people in to spend their money in the opera house is good, but I am not convinced that people being lured in like this are then going to find themselves wanting to buy a ticket for the opera or ballet.  Especially when there are no leaflets around to attract their attention. 

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3 minutes ago, Fonty said:

However, publicity I have seen for the ROH seems to be concentrating on their restaurants rather than their performances. 

 

Moving around London over the last couple of weeks I have seen posters for Aida, Salome, Don Giovanni and Mayerling.  I'm not entirely sure the images used are the best, mind.

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2 minutes ago, bangorballetboy said:

 

Moving around London over the last couple of weeks I have seen posters for Aida, Salome, Don Giovanni and Mayerling.  I'm not entirely sure the images used are the best, mind.

 

I am not in the UK at the moment, so my comments were based on past experience.  However, as someone who knows nothing about opera, would I be tempted to explore further based on those posters?  

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44 minutes ago, Fonty said:

Ok, getting people in to spend their money in the opera house is good, but I am not convinced that people being lured in like this are then going to find themselves wanting to buy a ticket for the opera or ballet.  Especially when there are no leaflets around to attract their attention. 

 

And also, I think, no film being projected on the wall along the box office / exit ramp side?  There used to be, but I don't think positioning was ideal, given where the staircase is, as the view was too blocked and it couldn't be seen well from the cafe area.  I think there's still film being projected on the wall above the steps down to the shop, but as far as I can tell that's merely generic ROH stuff rather than anything production-specific.  If there's anything being shown on the screen behind the cafe tills I haven't registered it.

 

The Mayerling poster I've seen was the "final" scene, Rudolf on his knees, Mary curled in his lap, and them kissing in desperation.  Might be quite intriguing, although in that case I'd probably have used a shot from the "upside-down" kiss from virtually the end of Act II.  Oh, and I also passed an electronic film "poster" on the underground somewhere, but didn't really stop to register exactly what it was showing.

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On 25/09/2022 at 23:55, alison said:

 

I think, as our culture, as well as our society, becomes increasingly fragmented, it must be getting harder and harder to hit your target audience, which helps nobody.  I mean, if you're posting on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and TikTok (is that a viable option in this case?) AND at the same time trying to catch the attention of those who still read hard-copy newspapers / travel on the London Underground / listen to Radio 3 / [insert other favoured mode of communication here] you must be spreading yourself very thinly, and at no doubt considerable cost. 

Those electronic methods are all very well, but presumably are ring-fenced to those who have effectively signed up to them: if you've chosen to follow an organisation on social media, that's one thing, but how does that organisation reach out beyond that to potentially-interested audiences?  What effect has GDPR had on organisations' ability to communicate with the general public?  Badly-thought-out cookie permission pages which just leave you so frustrated at your inability to tailor them to your real requirements that you end up hitting "Reject All" because you can't be bothered trying to tiptoe through the minefield, and therefore mean that you don't get shown adverts that might be of interest?  Frustratingly-designed websites which don't really fulfil their primary function of making it easy to find information ...

And then there are the venues which hold the marketing data but don't necessarily share it with the performing organisation (are they even allowed to these days?)  I was quite surprised recently to find an email from one of said organisations dangling a carrot in front of me to try and persuade me to come to one of their performances because I apparently hadn't returned to them since the pandemic.  Except ... I had.  Probably several times.  But how were they to know, given that I'd booked in person at the venue (thus avoiding the booking fee)?  I may even have been classed as a walk-up, and my details not taken at all.  It's all very difficult.

 

On the printed-matter side, well, we know the Royal Opera House has gone paperless (although I did notice a physical poster for Mayerling on the Tube.  Sadler's Wells, I suspect, may be heading in that direction: its "season brochure" is now 2 sides of a piece of card which literally just tells you title, artists and dates, but nothing more that might tempt you - and the Peacock Theatre, although having numerous leaflet holders, had no leaflets in them during The Trocks' recent season.  I picked up a copy of the London Planner from my local library: it seems to cover West End shows but not, as far as I could see, dance, opera and classical music.  Time Out has bitten the dust - although it hadn't been a reliable source of entertainment information for years anyway.  At least one member of the weekend "quality" press which used to provide reasonable information about what was on arts-wise around the country is acting as though we're still mid-lockdown and barely publishing anything ... I could go on, but won't, as it's too depressing, but it must be losing the arts organisations a significant number of their patrons who don't primarily look online for their information.

Alison, if you get offered a carrot (eg discount, free drink, etc) definitely take it up! I’m more than happy to be mistaken for not having returned and to get discounts or freebies 😁. I’ve also noticed that some organisations know I’ve been recently but still send me special offers as it’s easier to email everybody at once than to try to sift out those who have attended in the last month/2 months/etc. Plus, as a regular I’d be offended if non-attendees who hadn’t bothered to come back  are being offered special deals while regulars are left out.

 

The posters and so on are standard work for what a marketing department has to do, but the companies have to pay to have the posters in rail or tube stations, bus stops etc. Social media advertising is free; posting twice a day costs them no more than posting once every two weeks.

 

Sadler’s Wells, oddly, has this habit now of posting only once about an upcoming show and unless it’s one of their themes that they are campaigning about, won’t get any other mention. For example, when Scottish Ballet were performing there, they posted daily about another event that wasn’t due for weeks, but only posted once about SB about a month before their visit. Not a single thread about SB while they were actually performing there, which definitely had an adverse effect on their ticket sales. SB were valiantly posting great threads every day, but unless you were already following them, you wouldn’t know they were in London. A really strange and own goal strategy when SW audiences are probably the most avid users and readers of social media out of all the audiences from every dance venue in London. They did the same for BRB, but as BRB has a core audience in London and the southeast who know BRB tour to London every year, that audience is already following them on social media. (BRB’s social media output is very effective and of high quality.) 

 

GDPR applies to posters and newspaper ads just as much as social media. I think the posters are good for getting the attention of the general public who don’t know much about ballet, but it has to be succinct, obvious and show exactly what the show is about. The trendy, arty and “groundbreaking” ad images that ROH and many companies now like to go for may win lots of advertising industry awards but are pretty rubbish at fulfilling their brief, which is to inform potential customers your show is coming/already here and to encourage them to book. The traditional ads were the best- eg if Darcey Bussell is dancing Swan Lake, a photo of Bussell in Odette or Odile’s tutu told the viewers  “please come and see this ballet”- and they did.

 

Nowadays, the vague, unhelpful fuzzy images that don’t even show a dancer or the production designs are counterproductive and baffling. An advertising boss of a very successful agency abroad once said, the ads that win awards for their artistic approach and originality don’t necessary sell the product, and the ones that sell the product best aren’t always artistic, groundbreaking or original - sometimes you get ads that achieve both but the two don’t necessarily go together.

 

I think the arts organisations nowadays like to feel they are on the cutting edge of everything in every department, which results in the advertising being trendy and impressive to look at, but hopeless at selling. The number of times I’ve looked at a Royal Opera ad and wondered what in the world it tells me about the production (answer: nothing) - that’s now true for every production. I end up looking at the casting and the director’s name, their social media posts and any pictures of the production from old reviews online. So the company has paid the salaries of marketing staff whose output has failed to do the job, and basically the show has been sold by the artists themselves. That begs the question, if the singers and dancers who are rehearsing in the day and performing at night, or sometimes twice in one day, have the time and energy to produce an attractive, informative and effective post on social media, why can’t the marketing staff do the same when they have no performing and rehearsing to do....? (ie why are we paying them.....?) 

Edited by Emeralds
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1 hour ago, Emeralds said:

GDPR applies to posters and newspaper ads just as much as social media. I think the posters are good for getting the attention of the general public who don’t know much about ballet, but it has to be succinct, obvious and show exactly what the show is about. The trendy, arty and “groundbreaking” ad images that ROH and many companies now like to go for may win lots of advertising industry awards but are pretty rubbish at fulfilling their brief, which is to inform potential customers your show is coming/already here and to encourage them to book. The traditional ads were the best- eg if Darcey Bussell is dancing Swan Lake, a photo of Bussell in Odette or Odile’s tutu told the viewers  “please come and see this ballet”- and they did.

 

It's not entirely a new phenomenon, though.  Remember when London Festival Ballet changed its name to English National Ballet?  The posters on the bus stops back then had no pictures, just the words "English National Ballet".  I can't remember whether it was the 1989 season or a year later, but I don't think the tickets sold that well, either way.  Pictures are an easy and clear way of showing the reader what something is about - "look, it's okay, this (relatively unknown) ballet has tutus - it's safe" 🙂  Admittedly, not everyone these days will be looking for tutu ballets, but a lot of people still will, I think.

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7 hours ago, Emeralds said:

Sadler’s Wells, oddly, has this habit now of posting only once about an upcoming show and unless it’s one of their themes that they are campaigning about, won’t get any other mention. For example, when Scottish Ballet were performing there, they posted daily about another event that wasn’t due for weeks, but only posted once about SB about a month before their visit. Not a single thread about SB while they were actually performing there, which definitely had an adverse effect on their ticket sales. SB were valiantly posting great threads every day, but unless you were already following them, you wouldn’t know they were in London. A really strange and own goal strategy when SW audiences are probably the most avid users and readers of social media out of all the audiences from every dance venue in London. They did the same for BRB, but as BRB has a core audience in London and the southeast who know BRB tour to London every year, that audience is already following them on social media. (BRB’s social media output is very effective and of high quality.) 

 

GDPR applies to posters and newspaper ads just as much as social media. I think the posters are good for getting the attention of the general public who don’t know much about ballet, but it has to be succinct, obvious and show exactly what the show is about. The trendy, arty and “groundbreaking” ad images that ROH and many companies now like to go for may win lots of advertising industry awards but are pretty rubbish at fulfilling their brief, which is to inform potential customers your show is coming/already here and to encourage them to book. The traditional ads were the best- eg if Darcey Bussell is dancing Swan Lake, a photo of Bussell in Odette or Odile’s tutu told the viewers  “please come and see this ballet”- and they did.

 

Nowadays, the vague, unhelpful fuzzy images that don’t even show a dancer or the production designs are counterproductive and baffling. An advertising boss of a very successful agency abroad once said, the ads that win awards for their artistic approach and originality don’t necessary sell the product, and the ones that sell the product best aren’t always artistic, groundbreaking or original - sometimes you get ads that achieve both but the two don’t necessarily go together.

 

I think the arts organisations nowadays like to feel they are on the cutting edge of everything in every department, which results in the advertising being trendy and impressive to look at, but hopeless at selling. 

  

I always get the impression that SW is faintly embarrassed by the fact that it's offering classical ballet and prefers to promote its contemporary and non-dance productions.

 

Completely agree about posters. That must affect shop sales too; I used to buy ballet posters when they actually showed the dancer/s whereas there's no point buying most of the posters now since you wouldn't even know they are for ballet most of the time. (It's like architects who design buildings that win prizes but most people wouldn't want to live or work in.)

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I think much of the problem might be that many people in advertising/marketing are young and trendy, and might not have a lot of understanding (in the case of some of the arts) of what exactly it is that they are advertising nor what they are trying to achieve from it (ticket sales, surely).  Arts institutions are also constantly under pressure from ACE to be more 'relevant' and attract 'younger' audiences...so I guess the funky style of advertising is gearing towards that.

 

Just my own opinion...I am not presuming to speak for anyone else nor appear superior.  :)

 

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  • alison changed the title to Communicating with target audiences in the digital age

Hasn't this creative, prize-winning output versus identification of the product and resulting sales always been  problem with advertising, whatever the genre? For those old enough to remember, cast your minds back a number of decades to the Joan Collins/ Leonard Rossiter ads for ... something or other (and countless others around the same time). People tuned in to the ads purely for their entertainment value without having a clue what was being sold.

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5 minutes ago, Scheherezade said:

Hasn't this creative, prize-winning output versus identification of the product and resulting sales always been  problem with advertising, whatever the genre? For those old enough to remember, cast your minds back a number of decades to the Joan Collins/ Leonard Rossiter ads for ... something or other (and countless others around the same time). People tuned in to the ads purely for their entertainment value without having a clue what was being sold.

 

Not sure about that - I do remember what the JL/LR ads were for (and I never buy Cinzano!) and I think the best ads have communicated what the product is. (The Lady Loves Milk Tray; R White lemonade; etc!). Mind you I never watch ads nowadays (except when I'm a captive audience in a cinema) so I don't really know what goes on now.

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On 26/09/2022 at 09:12, Fonty said:

.... The only form of social media I use on a regular basis is Facebook, and I don't think I have ever seen anything about performances at the Royal Opera House on my link ....

 

I get loads of ROH ads on my Facebook timeline - mostly for opera - at least one every time I look (once or twice per day).  I suppose I must fit the algorhithms, either because of what I have listed as my interests on my profile, or from posts after I have been to a performance.  I assume you haven't included this information and therefore don't get the ads?

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23 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

Not sure about that - I do remember what the JL/LR ads were for (and I never buy Cinzano!) and I think the best ads have communicated what the product is. (The Lady Loves Milk Tray; R White lemonade; etc!). Mind you I never watch ads nowadays (except when I'm a captive audience in a cinema) so I don't really know what goes on now.

And those hilarious ads for Hamlet cigars.  I never bought them, but even now I often watch one of their ads or two on YouTube when I need cheering up! So they definitely worked:  35 years later I still remember them, just as I do the Cinzano ads with Collins/Rossiter, Papa and Nicole, the 'will they won't they' of the Cointreau and Nescafe ads...those types of continuous campaigns don't seem to happen anymore...and more's the pity, for them and for us!

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11 hours ago, Emeralds said:

Sadler’s Wells, oddly, has this habit now of posting only once about an upcoming show and unless it’s one of their themes that they are campaigning about, won’t get any other mention. For example, when Scottish Ballet were performing there, they posted daily about another event that wasn’t due for weeks, but only posted once about SB about a month before their visit. Not a single thread about SB while they were actually performing there, which definitely had an adverse effect on their ticket sales.

I so agree.  Also the advertising on the exterior of SW theatre was about another show, and it wasn't easy to see that SB were currently performing The Crucible, which if it had been clearer might have attracted more people passing by that busy area.  It was such a wonderful production it really did deserve to be sold out.

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@maryrosesatonapin I use FB mainly to stay in contact with friends abroad.  I have as little personal information as possible on there, so have no interests at all listed there.  Having said that, I do get lots of tennis stuff because some of my friends are fans, so obviously it picks that up 

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I've got very fond memories of many of the adverts shown on television.  I used to love the ones for Hamlet cigars, and there was a series of adverts many years ago for Benson and Hedges Gold, which were hilarious, and featured stars such as Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan.  I think these were only shown at the cinema.  Then there are/were the beer adverts (Heineken, Castlemaine xxxx) etc.  Plus the ones that featured the same characters for years - who remembers the running sagas about Nescafe Gold Blend or Cointreau?   With the exception of Cointreau I don't think I was ever tempted to try any of those products, so obviously the adverts failed with me, but they must have hit the target audience because they ran for years.  Of course, nowadays, I record everything and fast forward through the adverts.

 

On the topic of advertising the arts, I am very wary about signing up to too much social media, as I firmly believe it can become addictive.  I had a specific reason for using FB, but I have seen so many people at the theatre switching their phones on and trawling through all these things as if they cannot bear to be off line for a second.  And it isn't just youngsters either.  Plus a person actually has to register their interest in the first place to get information.  If you know nothing about opera, ballet. or whatever, you are hardly likely to list it as an interest!

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37 minutes ago, bridiem said:

 

Not sure about that - I do remember what the JL/LR ads were for (and I never buy Cinzano!) and I think the best ads have communicated what the product is. (The Lady Loves Milk Tray; R White lemonade; etc!). Mind you I never watch ads nowadays (except when I'm a captive audience in a cinema) so I don't really know what goes on now.

 

13 minutes ago, Sim said:

And those hilarious ads for Hamlet cigars.  I never bought them, but even now I often watch one of their ads or two on YouTube when I need cheering up! So they definitely worked:  35 years later I still remember them, just as I do the Cinzano ads with Collins/Rossiter, Papa and Nicole, the 'will they won't they' of the Cointreau and Nescafe ads...those types of continuous campaigns don't seem to happen anymore...and more's the pity, for them and for us!

 

The best ads do stick in the memory, but only the best, and there were many creative and enjoyable ads that seemed to exhibit what was, at best, a tenuous link to the product that they were supposed to be selling. I seem to recall a growing body of criticism on the basis that sample audiences loved the ads but often couldn't identify the product, which is probably - and sadly - why they don't do them any more. And, like Fonty I can't recall having ever been tempted to try a product purely because I enjoyed the ad. Which comes back, of course, to the problem of the target audience.

 

Maryrosesatonapin, I do agree with your comment about algorithms. As well as Facebook, the Google feed on my phone gratuitously throws up ads galore for the arts, including posts from slippeddisc and similar, but these are not going to reach anyone who has not already demonstrated a keen interest in the arts. I have not, by the way, registered an interest in the arts as such but do click on anything that might be of interest that comes up.

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35 minutes ago, Sebastian said:

 
As you probably know Sim, these were the brainchild of Anthony Shaffer, later to write the West End and film hit Sleuth.

Which is one of the cleverest scripts/plots ever.  

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32 minutes ago, Scheherezade said:

 

 

Maryrosesatonapin, I do agree with your comment about algorithms. As well as Facebook, the Google feed on my phone gratuitously throws up ads galore for the arts, including posts from slippeddisc and similar, but these are not going to reach anyone who has not already demonstrated a keen interest in the arts. I have not, by the way, registered an interest in the arts as such but do click on anything that might be of interest that comes up.

 

7 minutes ago, Jan McNulty said:

For the last couple of days I have been getting adverts for businesses in Michigan on my FB feed! 

Well there must be something amiss with my algorithms....I keep getting offers of a hot time with hot girls and guys!  The only other thing I get is ads for cruises (the maritime variety).  I must be getting old because the cruises are much more appealing!  😄

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2 minutes ago, Sim said:

 

Well there must be something amiss with my algorithms....I keep getting offers of a hot time with hot girls and guys!  The only other thing I get is ads for cruises (the maritime variety).  I must be getting old because the cruises are much more appealing!  😄

 

What can I say, Sim, they obviously have you down as a girl who likes a good time!

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On the topic of getting weird stuff on FB, a couple of days ago I had a conversation with someone about the topic of advertising on day time TV, where the products are clearly geared towards an older audience.  Now I keep getting info about Tena Lady Pads and tooth implants.  No, I don't have a fancy phone with voice recognition or whatever set up, so I find that a bit worrying....

 

Edited to add that on reflection I didn't even have my phone with me at the time!  

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And then, from The Mail Online, there are these extracts from what is a lengthy article, replete with historical background and photographs, which could certainly peak the curiosity of non-balletomanes and raise interest in seeing the performance but is it just me or does the headline and subsequent quote suggest that this is the first revival of Mayerling in a long, long time?

 

 

Disturbing story of how Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria's 'sexual and morbid obsessions led to a murder-suicide scandal with his Baroness mistress' in the 1880s is explored in a new Royal Ballet production of Mayerling

 

The tragic affair has since inspired numerous films, novels, ballets and plays - including choreographer Kenneth MacMillan's Royal Ballet classic Mayerling. 

To mark 30 years since the British choreographer's death, the theatre company are reviving the 1978 ballet from October 5 to November 30 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. 

 

A description of the The Royal Ballet's revival said: 'Inspired by dark and gripping real life events, this Royal Ballet classic depicts the sexual and morbid obsessions of Crown Prince Rudolf leading to the murder-suicide scandal with his mistress Mary Vetsera. 

'The oppressive glamour of the Austro-Hungarian court in the 1880s sets the scene for a suspenseful drama of psychological and political intrigue as Rudolf fixates on his mortality.

'Kenneth MacMillan's 1978 ballet remains a masterpiece of storytelling and this revival marks 30 years since the choreographer's death. 

'Expect to see the Company at its dramatic finest across potent ensemble scenes and some of the most daring and emotionally demanding pas de deux in the ballet repertory.

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4 minutes ago, Scheherezade said:

And then, from The Mail Online, there are these extracts from what is a lengthy article, replete with historical background and photographs, which could certainly peak the curiosity of non-balletomanes and raise interest in seeing the performance but is it just me or does the headline and subsequent quote suggest that this is the first revival of Mayerling in a long, long time?

 

 

Disturbing story of how Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria's 'sexual and morbid obsessions led to a murder-suicide scandal with his Baroness mistress' in the 1880s is explored in a new Royal Ballet production of Mayerling

 

The tragic affair has since inspired numerous films, novels, ballets and plays - including choreographer Kenneth MacMillan's Royal Ballet classic Mayerling. 

To mark 30 years since the British choreographer's death, the theatre company are reviving the 1978 ballet from October 5 to November 30 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. 

 

A description of the The Royal Ballet's revival said: 'Inspired by dark and gripping real life events, this Royal Ballet classic depicts the sexual and morbid obsessions of Crown Prince Rudolf leading to the murder-suicide scandal with his mistress Mary Vetsera. 

'The oppressive glamour of the Austro-Hungarian court in the 1880s sets the scene for a suspenseful drama of psychological and political intrigue as Rudolf fixates on his mortality.

'Kenneth MacMillan's 1978 ballet remains a masterpiece of storytelling and this revival marks 30 years since the choreographer's death. 

'Expect to see the Company at its dramatic finest across potent ensemble scenes and some of the most daring and emotionally demanding pas de deux in the ballet repertory.

 

Yes, it does imply that. ??

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17 hours ago, alison said:

 

It's not entirely a new phenomenon, though.  Remember when London Festival Ballet changed its name to English National Ballet?  The posters on the bus stops back then had no pictures, just the words "English National Ballet".  I can't remember whether it was the 1989 season or a year later, but I don't think the tickets sold that well, either way.  Pictures are an easy and clear way of showing the reader what something is about - "look, it's okay, this (relatively unknown) ballet has tutus - it's safe" 🙂  Admittedly, not everyone these days will be looking for tutu ballets, but a lot of people still will, I think.

I know this is bad, Alison, but I am still nostalgic for the name London Festival Ballet and would celebrate it they switched back. But am ok to go with the flow and use English National Ballet - am more interested in what they do on stage than the name on the programmes and tickets. I do feel as though I have to explain the name to non-ballet fan friends whereas I didn’t feel I had to with LFB? (Actually, most of the time I don’t say the company name any more- I just say the ballet name, date, venue and time.....lol). 

I do remember that season - Napoli at the Dominion Theatre, possibly some mixed bills at the Coliseum, and there was also Makarova’s controversial Swan Lake (bless her but thank goodness they now do Deane’s versions instead!) and I think they had the August long run of Hynd’s Coppelia, Ashton’s R&J at Royal Festival Hall, etc which sold a bit better than the others.  

 

A pity about the ticket sales for the Dominion as Napoli (Schaufuss’s version which he had done for National Ballet of Canada) was really good, and nobody else appears to have presented the full Napoli in the U.K. since. But the Dominion is always difficult to sell ballet in. The first few rows cut off the feet so either you remove those rows or discount them significantly. The general public either doesn’t know the venue presents ballet or many patrons/parents with children won’t set foot in the area at night or at all (I know many who won’t go because of the location), or both. Wheeldon’s gorgeous An American in Paris also suffered from being at the Dominion, although their ticket sales were good (if not 100% sold out) during the run with the first cast. 

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6 hours ago, Scheherezade said:

And then, from The Mail Online, there are these extracts from what is a lengthy article, replete with historical background and photographs, which could certainly peak the curiosity of non-balletomanes and raise interest in seeing the performance but is it just me or does the headline and subsequent quote suggest that this is the first revival of Mayerling in a long, long time?

 

 

Disturbing story of how Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria's 'sexual and morbid obsessions led to a murder-suicide scandal with his Baroness mistress' in the 1880s is explored in a new Royal Ballet production of Mayerling

 

The tragic affair has since inspired numerous films, novels, ballets and plays - including choreographer Kenneth MacMillan's Royal Ballet classic Mayerling. 

To mark 30 years since the British choreographer's death, the theatre company are reviving the 1978 ballet from October 5 to November 30 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. 

 

A description of the The Royal Ballet's revival said: 'Inspired by dark and gripping real life events, this Royal Ballet classic depicts the sexual and morbid obsessions of Crown Prince Rudolf leading to the murder-suicide scandal with his mistress Mary Vetsera. 

'The oppressive glamour of the Austro-Hungarian court in the 1880s sets the scene for a suspenseful drama of psychological and political intrigue as Rudolf fixates on his mortality.

'Kenneth MacMillan's 1978 ballet remains a masterpiece of storytelling and this revival marks 30 years since the choreographer's death. 

'Expect to see the Company at its dramatic finest across potent ensemble scenes and some of the most daring and emotionally demanding pas de deux in the ballet repertory.

I find the Mail articles consistently struggle with accuracy in relation to articles about ballet, and a good number of other topics. Good photos though. 

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4 hours ago, Emeralds said:

A pity about the ticket sales for the Dominion as Napoli (Schaufuss’s version which he had done for National Ballet of Canada) was really good, and nobody else appears to have presented the full Napoli in the U.K. since. 

 

Indeed: it was very early in my balletgoing career, but I really enjoyed it.  (In 30° temperatures!  In my inexperience back then, I did vaguely wonder if the dancer performing Gennaro had flatly refused to perform in conventional ballet costume and insisted on shorts instead :)I gather there were some caveats about Act II, though. 

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1 minute ago, FionaE said:

On the subject of advertising posters … I do think the current ENB Swan Lake poster is good … 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Cge33x4KjUG/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

 

 

Yes, very good - as ENB posters frequently are.

 

I don't think the ROH is as complacent as it was a few years ago - it seemed to me that the digital only strategy was partly a symptom of the belief that the ROH sold itself - but maybe the design choices that resulted from such an attitude persist.

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