How might we create a 21st Century theatre-going experience?

Inspirational Insight | Brand Marketers | Consumer Insights Teams

National Theatre case study post it

National Theatre attendance grew by 24.76%


The Challenge

In a world where culture has become highly competitive, the National Theatre faced the challenge of capturing people’s time and attention amidst the increasing options available.

Budget airlines, cinemas, and department stores compete with art galleries, theatres, and clubs for the limited leisure time of individuals. To propel itself into the 21st Century and thrive in this landscape, the National Theatre needed to engage a younger audience.

The National Theatre Executive Director engaged Sense Worldwide to develop a plan for the future.


Our Approach

We began by gaining a contextual understanding of people’s attitudes towards contemporary culture in the UK and their behaviors and experiences in consuming cultural products. Reviewing existing audience research, conducting extensive desk research, and media scanning provided a foundational understanding of the business and the external factors shaping cultural experiences.

Collaborating with The Sense Network, we delved into the immediate and adjacent factors influencing the cultural industry and the consumer perspective of the entertainment landscape. Members of The Sense Network were invited to visit the theatre, attend performances, and experience the facilities firsthand. This allowed us to gain insights into the realities of cultural consumption and the utilization of the National Theatre’s building and environment.


National Theatre Exterior


The Result

The strategic plan included operational and marketing recommendations, ranging from brand identity and signage to catering, merchandise, and marketing strategies. The plan’s insights and recommendations were presented to the Board, influencing their future development initiatives and inspiring their decision-making.

As a result, the National Theatre experienced a remarkable 24.76% increase in annual attendance between 2012 and 2015, from 2,347,000 to 2,928,000. The National Theatre’s commitment to innovation and strategic transformation enabled them to thrive in a competitive cultural landscape, ensuring their continued success and relevance.

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