Audience members old and young watch a performance
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The Garage engages children and young people in Norfolk

Posted on 30 August 2013

From art classes to live performances, The Garage is constantly searching for new ways to get young people involved in the arts. It’s not always easy. To find out what engaged them, The Garage recruited a team of teenage consultants. With their input and our funding, The Garage used pizzas and social media to draw young people in.

Everyone deserves access to great art and culture. In the remote village of the Fens, The Garage provides people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to engage in the arts – especially young people. Inspiring the newest generation can be a challenge, so The Garage went to the millennials themselves.

They began a consulting project to encourage young people to get involved. They built up a team of young consultants who didn’t just bring in their opinions, but the thoughts of 90 peers. All this information didn’t go to waste as they built the new-year’s programme with their input.

Three performers in boiler suits and hard hats appear on a stage, surrounded by technology.
Statik at The Garage, Norwich. Photo © Benjamin Mathers / The Garage, Norwich

How our funding helped

Grants for the Arts support organisations in providing increased access to arts and culture. The Garage’s grant helped to fund their consulting project, which helped bring a new audience to its activity.

Darren Grice, Director of The Garage, said, "We have had the opportunity to try out new ways to engage our audiences, such as our pizza and a show initiative. We have also been able to experiment much more with social media.”

The Garage was the first UK venue to offer 'tweetseats' to all 2013 performances. The campaign gives away a limited number of tickets to young theatre-goers on the condition that they review their experience live on Twitter. Not only does the campaign fill up seats, it also gets the conversation live on social media.

One audience member with a free seat tweeted: "Think I am really getting into new theatre and new shows being created. Thanks @_TheGarage!"

Audience members old and young watch a performance
Audience for Statik at The Garage, Norwich. Photo © Benjamin Mathers / The Garage, Norwich

Results

The young people who took part in the consultation saw improvements in communication skills (87.5%), self-confidence (87.5%) and team working (75%), with all participants becoming more involved with The Garage as a result. They were nominated for five Arts Awards thanks to the programme.

A total of 960 people attended the shows, and audience feedback was extremely positive.