From the beginning of 2013 to the end of 2015 Fuel undertook a research project called New Theatre in your Neighbourhood which sought to improve the way contemporary performance tours the UK. Local Engagement Specialists (LESs) were employed in each location the research focused on; in Colchester, Malvern, Margate, Poole, Preston and Stockton. A version of the LES role exists in many other guises (local ambassadors or champions for example).
For Fuel they are the local people on the ground with eyes and ears open to local opportunities and with lots of local knowledge. The role arose from a desire to deepen the levels of engagement when we (and ultimately all contemporary performance makers) tour work to venues and to assist often overstretched marketing teams. They are people who understand the local area, have or can develop specific contacts with groups we are aiming to reach, and are really good at talking to people about new theatre.
The Local Engagement Specialist Handbook is an offer to you to learn from what we have done and use the best bits to adapt for your own practice. We hope you find it useful.
The Neighbourhood Watch: Theatre, Audiences and the Good Night Out is an essay by Maddy Costa who conducted the New Theatre in Your Neighbourhood touring research project. Maddy Costa is a theatre and music writer who worked with Fuel over three years, from 2013-2015, to develop an alternative to the post-show Q&A and open up space for audience discussion around the work Fuel toured during that period.
New Theatre In Your Neighbourhood is the blog that Maddy Costa kept throughout the project which forms a public record of the New Theatre in Your Neighbourhood touring research project.