Coping with Coronavirus
Theatres were among the first organisations to face challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic and are likely to be some of the last organisations to feel the impact. The Barn Theatre has had to quickly adapt its operations in an attempt to offset the impacts of the pandemic.
At the beginning of the lockdown, The Barn Theatre calculated that it was set to lose a third of its annual income, which equates to £250,000, due to customers being unable to attend the theatre. As an organisation, the theatre was reliant predominantly on ticket revenue as well as refreshments and merchandise sales during events.
Save Our Barn Campaign
The theatre passionately wanted to continue to provide a service to its loyal supporters. Within one week of the theatre closing its doors, it had been adapted to a broadcasting suite so that performances could be recorded and streamed.
Local talent, friends, influencers and celebrities were contacted for help and the response was fantastic. A favourite from the local Giffords Circus, Tweedy The Clown, began producing a weekly show, Tweedy’s Lost & Found which has featured household names Helena Bonham-Carter, Hugh Bonneville and Jacqueline Jossa. The show has proven popular with children and adults, with some episodes attracting over 16,500 viewers – far in excess of the theatre’s 200-seat capacity.
Text Donations for Online Broadcasts
The show is free to watch, but supporters were asked to make a donation to the ‘Save our Barn’ campaign if they enjoyed the show. Initially donations were requested through the theatre’s online donation page, however there were not many donations due to the lengthy donation form.
“The donation page was annoying and difficult for supporters. We were spending more time dealing with people having issues with donations than actually getting donations.” – Iwan Lewis, Artistic Director
To ease the donation process, text giving was incorporated into the campaign and income skyrocketed as a result. The key word ‘TWEEDY’ has been used for Tweedy’s Lost and Found shows and ‘SAVEOURBARN’ has been used for other shows – there is no set donation amount, meaning supporters can choose how much they donate. At the start and end of each show, Tweedy or another performer explains how people can donate. To date, the two key words have raised £1,480 through text donations and this figure is increasing with each performance.