The Stage launches Future of Theatre to explore what lies ahead for the sector


The Stage has today announced it will host a three-day, Future of Theatre conference from Wednesday, June 16 to Friday, June 18. The conference will be the first of its kind to bring together voices from across the whole UK theatre sector as the performing arts prepares to return post-pandemic.

Alistair Smith, editor of The Stage, said: “This has been an extraordinarily difficult year for theatre. It will have changed the performing arts dramatically, permanently and possibly in ways none of us realise yet.

“As an independent voice for the whole of the performing arts in the UK, The Stage is in the unique position of being able to bring together theatremakers of all different types from across the industry to discuss what the future of the sector could and should be. This is a vital conversation and a pivotal time for those of us who hope to help theatre bounce back even better than before.

While the past year has presented theatre with new challenges as well as highlighting existing problems facing the industry, theatremakers across the country have also used the closure of theatres to find new ways to create, play with digital formats and increase focus on the communities they serve.

The Future of Theatre conference will:

Bring the wider industry together to share in a conversation and reflect on what works well, what could be better and the practical ways theatremakers and organisations can move towards a more successful, creative and resilient future.

Provide leaders with a platform to share their thoughts on subjects including: ticket pricing, financing shows, running buildings, maintaining and developing the workforce and reaching new audiences and communities.

Challenge why the theatre operates the way it does and initiate discussions about what the future of the industry could and should look like, and what practical steps theatremakers can take to make that change happen.

Showcase the latest innovations, best practice and how theatremakers are continuing to thrive, despite the huge challenges they face.

Inspire theatremakers and offer practical tips that can be translated and implemented into their own work.

Over the three days, ticket holders will hear from a diverse range of theatre experts including well-known names but also those who wouldn’t normally be in the spotlight. The conversations will address onstage and offstage topics across commercial, subsidised and not-for-profit theatre.

Five topics will form the framework for the conference line up: Community and Audience, Shows and Artistic Practice, Money and Finance, The Built Environment and The Workforce. There will also be opportunities for attendees to engage in conversation and gain access to key industry leaders, innovators and suppliers.

The conference is suitable for any industry professional working within the theatre sector. More information about who will be speaking at the conference, which topics will be covered and how to purchase tickets will be announced soon.

Future of Theatre panel discussions

To initiate key conversations about the future of theatre, The Stage is hosting a series of digital panel discussions in the weeks leading up to the conference. Each discussion will be chaired by a senior journalist and will feature three panelists drawn from across the performing arts sector. A varied programme of engaging and thought-provoking discussions will take place every two weeks, starting on Tuesday, February 23. These online discussions will be free for The Stage subscribers to access.

The series begins with the topic: What have we learned about audiences over the past year? The panel will be chaired by Alistair Smith, editor of The Stage, and joining him are David Brownlee, (Managing director, Purple Seven), Ben Park (Global head of marketing and communications, Spektrix) and Caroline Routh (Executive director and joint chief executive, Stephen Joseph Theatre).

More information about upcoming panelists and conversation topics will be announced in the coming weeks.

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