How To Engage Working-Class Communities When Touring Theatre

Posted on: 23rd October 2019

As part of the Fringe Central Events Programme during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019, COMMON curated a panel discussion with experienced touring companies to explore how you can reach and engage working-class audiences when touring theatre across the UK.

They’ve compiled a list of the top recommendations from the panellists – including Fuel’s Director & Edinburgh Native, Kate McGrath – into a handy guide for building relationships with working-class communities when touring theatre across the UK.

Kate McGrath (Director – Fuel Theatre):

  • Work with trusted organisations who are already engaged with the communities that you are aiming to collaborate with, including – or perhaps especially – non-arts organisations.
  • Listen directly to the people you are trying to build relationships with, and ask open questions about what they would like from the relationship, as well as what they need to be in place to enable them to get involved.


Other recommendations on the list included:

Jimmy Fairhurst (Artistic Director – Not Too Tame):

  • Put your audience at the heart of the work and think of them throughout the creative process, not just at the end or as an “add-on”.


Louise Haggerty (Co-Director – Not Too Tame):

  • Take time to make real contact with audiences after each of the performances (possibly even before and during, depending on the show). Sit and have a pint with them. Ask them about their lives. Ask them about their experiences of theatre. It’s about becoming part of their community for that evening, and not solely about the performance itself.


For the full list, head over to COMMON to check it out.

Photography credits: Savannah Photographic