Future of Theatre event
The Future of Theatre conference
A three-day extravaganza of keynotes, panels, interviews, deep-dives and showcases exploring what lies ahead for the sector, featuring the most innovative people and projects in theatre.
The digital conference took place on Wednesday, June 16 to Friday, June 18 on an interactive website where you can watch presentations, chat to fellow attendees and have the opportunity to pose questions to panellists.
On demand tickets are still available
Click here to book your three-month access and you’ll be able to watch the entire packed programme when it is live on The Stage website next week.
The agenda is live!
Get the latest straight to your inbox
For all the latest news about Future of Theatre, sign up to our mailing list.
What is Future of Theatre?
Future of Theatre is a three-day, online conference.
Over the three days you 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. Topic areas include
- Community & Audience
- Shows & Artistic Practice
- Money & Finance
- The Built Environment
- The Workforce
There will be opportunities to engage in conversation as well as access to key industry leaders, innovators and suppliers.
You will be engaged, challenged and inspired by a varied programme featuring exclusive interviews, thought-provoking panel discussions and insightful presentations on the digital main stage.
The Future of Theatre conference took place online on Wednesday, June 16 to Friday, June 18, from 10am to 6pm daily.
What can I expect from this conference?
Come together with the wider industry 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.
Be challenged about why theatre operates the way it does and engage in discussions about what the future could and should look like, and what practical steps we can take to make that change happen.
Hear directly from leaders from across the industry to discover their thoughts on subjects including: ticket pricing, financing shows, running buildings, maintaining and developing the workforce and reaching new audiences and communities.
Education and hope
Find out about the latest innovations, best practice and how theatremakers are continuing to thrive, despite the huge challenges they face. Get inspired and pick up practical tips that can be translated and implemented in your own work.
Showcase your brand and expertise alongside key industry figures from across the arts industry by becoming a sponsor. Please take a look at the sponsorship packages on offer here and email email@example.com to find out more.
Got a question?
For all event enquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For media enquiries contact email@example.com
Support the freelancers ticket scheme
If you are interested in financially supporting the free tickets for freelancers scheme to enable us to extend this further, we would love to have that conversation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Be part of the discussion
Share your thoughts online before, during and after the panel discussions and conference using #FutureofTheatre. Don't forget to tag @TheStage so we can share your messages.
Featured Speakers View All
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Dr Dave O'Brien
Purchase on demand access to every talk from the Future of Theatre conference
Purchase on demand access to the Future of Theatre conference videos
The Future of Theatre conference was a three-day extravaganza of keynotes, panels, interviews, deep-dives and showcases featuring the most innovative people and projects in theatre.
To purchase your pass to the on demand videos, simply click on the blue 'Add to Basket' button in the bottom right side of your screen and fill in your details
Exclusive access to the content of the Future of Theatre conference (only available to ticket-holders)
21+ hours of exclusive sessions including:
- Keynote speakers
- Panel discussions
- Data led presentations
- Q&As with key industry leaders, innovators and suppliers
How are the tickets priced?
We wanted to use the Future of Theatre Conference as a way of bringing people from across the entire industry together to assist in its recovery and discuss where we go from here. An important part of that has been making tickets to the event as affordable as possible, while also covering the costs of producing the conference and paying freelancers and panel chairs who are taking part.
Who is the conference for?
Everyone. Theatremakers from all areas of the industry should find something to light a fire and inspire them. Stage managers, lighting designers, students, marketers, theatre owners, agents, actors and everyone in between should find discussions and presentations which will challenge, encourage and educate. Future of Theatre will speak to all areas of the theatre sector including subsidised and commercial theatre and to onstage and offstage professionals.
Free tickets available for freelancers
We have launched a scheme for freelancers, supported by Arts Council England, providing three-day passes for theatre freelancers to attend the conference for free.
The freelancer ticket scheme opened on Friday, April 23. If you are a theatre freelancer and would like to request a free pass, please contact email@example.com for more details. Passes will be given on a first come, first serve basis.
If you would like to support this scheme by purchasing an allocation of tickets so that more freelancers can attend for free, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Attend with your team and get a group discount
Bring the rest of your team along and benefit from a group discount. To book a group pass for 6 or more people please send your enquiry to Rachel at email@example.com.
On Demand Access
The Future of Theatre conference took place from June 16-18, 2021.
The event brought together 59 speakers across 28 sessions.
All the content from Future of Theatre is available, exclusively to ticketholders, on demand until October 1, 2021.
To view the videos on demand, simply click the relevant session on the agenda link below.
On demand tickets are available for £39. Simply purchase via the ticket link in the bar below.
Sessions you can watch on demand include...
- Athena Stevens, Paule Constable and Freelancer Friends
Writer, performer, director and social activist, Athena Stevens and Olivier award-winning lighting designer Paule Constable will be joined by freelancer friends to open our conference.
- Matthew Xia on the illusion of change
Actors Touring Company artistic director Matthew Xia, the self-taught theatre director, DJ, composer and journalist, delivers the second of our two keynote speeches.
Panel discussions with live Q&As:
- How do we make the casting process kinder?
- What will theatre buildings look like in 2040?
- How can streaming make financial sense for theatres and theatremakers?
- How do we make theatre careers sustainable for all?
- Can theatre become as important as the NHS?
- What is the future for British theatre internationally?
In a focus on the theatre workforce, we ask:
Did Fatima really retrain in cyber?
Dr Dave O'Brien presents new research on the impact of the pandemic on the workforce, discussing trends in numbers of jobs, hours worked, and workers' responses. What damage was done to the sector and how can it ‘build back better’?
Expert presentations on the latest developments:
- What's selling where? Box office data as theatres around the UK reopen.
- A spotlight on virtual reality for theatremakers with Toby Coffey, head of digital development at the National Theatre.
- How do audiences rate the return to live theatre? The latest audience survey data as theatregoers return.
Interviews with key decision-makers:
- Shona McCarthy - Chief Executive at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
- Andrew Lloyd Webber - Composer and theatre owner
- Nica Burns - Chief Executive, Nimax Theatres
The Future of Theatre Conference has 5 key topics that we're focusing on throughout the three-day event.
Community & Audience
How does theatre cement its position within its local community as a core civic service? How do theatre companies deepen their relationships with audiences? How does an audience become a community?
In these insightful sessions we will evaluate how theatres can develop artistic programmes that are more reflective of the communities they serve and examine the role theatres play in engaging, entertaining and supporting their local communities. We will also cover the importance of producing community theatre, stimulating rich conversations around how theatremakers can build a community around a show.
Shows & Artistic Practice
What will ‘new work’ look like? What genres and subjects will audiences want to engage with post-pandemic? What is the future of the live experience in a post-pandemic world?
Join us as we delve into what shows could look like in the future and how producers can future proof them. We will spark informative debate around how productions will engage audiences and encourage them to return. We will explore how commissioning new work may change and how the use of digital could change the way audiences experience live theatre.
Money & Finance
Will ticket prices fall as we enter a global recession? How will we fund future productions? What is the future of government support for theatre?
Together, we will explore opportunities that might be available to fund arts organisations in the future. We will also provide you with valuable tips and advice on audience development, driving audience sales beyond tickets as well as developing cost-effective ticket pricing models, fundraising initiatives and donor schemes.
The Built Environment
What does a 21st century theatre building look like? How can theatres become more sustainable? Should theatre buildings be used for more than putting on shows?
Our panel of experts will provide you with insight into how theatre buildings could look in the future with a focus on reconfiguring auditoriums and developing green, environmental policies. We will also cover how theatres can best utilise their spaces and facilities, from maximising their services to the wider community to identifying new revenue streams beyond staging productions.
How has the workforce been impacted by Covid? Are pay levels sufficient to keep skilled workers and attract a diverse and talented future workforce? How does theatre balance employee welfare with the high-pressure nature of the business?
This strand will explore what theatre needs to continue to build a resilient, diverse workforce equipped for the challenges and opportunities we will soon face. We will explore the need for workforce diversity and discuss the ways the industry can act to prevent exacerbating the workforce issues it was already facing. We will explore the challenges in retaining a talented workforce and identify the support workers require for a healthier work-life balance.
The Future of Theatre conference could not happen without the generous support from our sponsors
About our sponsors
Moore Kingston Smith
Moore Kingston Smith are the go-to accountants and advisers for theatre, both West End and regional, and hub for Broadway producers transferring shows to the UK. The specialist team is immersed in the sector, delivering advice tailored to the unique demands of the industry.
Moore Kingston Smith are experts in theatre tax credits and have been involved right from the start, working with the industry to design a scheme that has become a vital part of the funding mix. With the team exclusively working in the sector, they fully understand the pressure points of production and can help, not only with tax credits, but also with accounts, tax structuring, payroll, furlough queries and business strategy.
Charcoalblue delivers specialist design services for performance and creative spaces. Their work ranges from theatres of historic significance through to contemporary workplaces; from permanent buildings to temporary spaces; and from the physical through to the digital world. Charcoalblue provide a full spectrum of consultancy services from strategic analysis and creative concept generation through to detailed design and full project leadership. Their services integrate world-class acoustic, technical, and digital design solutions from the outset. Collaboration is at the heart of everything they do, resulting in unique, innovative solutions that draw the best out of every space.
Substrakt is a digital agency that works in the Arts and Culture sector. They partner with cultural organisations around the world to deliver work that gives everyone simple and immediate access to inspiration, discovery and joy through cultural experiences. Substrakt design and build websites and digital products alongside providing strategic consultancy, training and support services. Their work matches elegant design with carefully considered technical solutions to create meaningful connections between cultural organisations and their audiences. Substrakt care about making a positive, sustainable and impactful difference for the sector, their clients, their team and their communities, which is shown through initiatives such as their Tech in Culture EDI Alliance and journey towards becoming a BCorp.
Theatreplan is a specialist theatre design consultancy that has been helping clients create extraordinary spaces for performance, for over 30 years. Their pioneering work around the world includes the design of new, innovative performance spaces, ranging from small, bespoke spaces like Tara Theatre in London, to international venues like Copenhagen Opera House.
They are experts in the renovation of historic theatres and are the consultants of choice some of the world’s major performance venues, undertaking complex technical upgrading projects. Theatreplan puts the client’s vision at the heart of every solution.
Preevue is a leading provider of LiDAR laser scanning and 3D CAD visualisation for the theatre industry. Their services include laser scan surveying, 3D CAD modelling of existing venues and proposed new builds, and consulting with producers to visualise upcoming shows.
Preevue create and deliver architecturally and visually accurate CAD models that enable creative and production teams to work in a virtual replica of a venue, minimising time needed on-site and reducing the need for travel. Following its formation in 2016, Preevue has provided its services to clients such as ATG, LW Theatres, the National Theatre, Barbican, and the RSC, and has worked on productions including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Bat Out of Hell, and Moulin Rouge.
Marquee TV is the global streaming TV service for dance, opera and theatre. Based in London and New York, available around the world, it is the platform for the best of arts and culture. Curating a rich mix of dance, ballet, opera, theatre and documentaries – the world's greatest artists in their greatest performances from the contemporary and cutting-edge to the classics. Available direct from app stores and also on the best TV platforms, Marquee TV is the world's leading arts streaming service.
Described by both Dance Magazine and the Financial Times as “the new Netflix for the arts”, Marquee TV brings arts & culture to new platforms, delivers new audiences and will help the performing arts sector transition from a live only model to a live and digital future.
Bird College is an outstanding Musical Theatre Conservatoire in London providing first class professional vocational training that is validated by leading educational institutions. The College is committed to enabling young talented artists to identify and develop their individual set of specialised skills.
Bird College attracts a diverse and international student body and has an exceptional faculty with a unique breadth of industry experience. Students have the opportunity to work with esteemed guest directors, musical directors and choreographers.
The College has an outstanding national and international reputation with graduates who have a strong presence in West End Theatres, Broadway and beyond.
Battersea Arts Centre
Battersea Arts Centre is a home for radical artistic ideas. In 2019 we became the world’s first Relaxed Venue in partnership with Touretteshero, dismantling some of the barriers faced by disabled people and striving to embed access and inclusivity across all our activities.
In March 2021 we introduced a universal Pay What You Can pricing model across the entire artistic programme, making our work financially accessible to everyone. We believe in the power of performance and collective imagination to spark positive change.
Find out more about Pay What You Can at bac.org.uk/pay-what-you-can
Concord Theatricals Ltd is the UK home of R&H Theatricals, Samuel French Ltd and Tams-Witmark. Our unparalleled roster includes the work of Irving Berlin, Agatha Christie, George & Ira Gershwin, Marvin Hamlisch, Lorraine Hansberry, Kander & Ebb, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Harold Pinter, Cole Porter, Terrence Rattigan, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Thornton Wilder and August Wilson. We are the only firm providing truly comprehensive services to the creators and producers of plays and musicals, including theatrical licensing, music publishing, script publishing, cast recording and first-class production.
Mountview has been training performance artists since 1945 and was the first UK institution to offer a specialist three-year musical theatre course. They train students at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level as well as running dynamic evening, weekend and holiday short courses for all ages, and outreach programmes with schools and community groups. In September 2018 Mountview moved to purpose-built premises in the heart of Peckham, rooting themselves in one of London’s most vibrant creative communities. Alumni include Olivier Award winner Giles Terera (Hamilton), Noah Thomas (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) and Evening Standard Future Theatre Award winners Beth Hinton-Lever and Emily Aboud.
Race Furniture is the leader in creating bespoke, innovative seating solutions for world leading venues.
Every Race Furniture project, from the smallest space to the largest concert hall, is driven by our dedication to the highest standards of craftsmanship, product durability, innovation, and design excellence. We are committed to making comfortable, elegant and expertly engineered seating that will complement and enhance your space, while meeting your every need. Ergonomics, space planning, acoustic analysis, engineering, and testing are all part of our comprehensive service. Maximising comfort, optimising space… Race are here to build the seat of your dreams!
ArtsEd is a Conservatoire Drama School offering exceptional performing arts training; rigorous, triple-threat tuition in Musical Theatre (BA & Foundation Degrees) and detailed, contemporary Acting training for stage, film, television and audio (BA, Foundation & MA Degrees). ArtsEd’s Independent Day School and Sixth Form is consistently the UK’s most academically successful performing arts school, providing an exciting and dynamic environment in which to study GCSE, A-Level, and BTEC subjects. ArtsEd EXTRA provides hugely popular Weekend and Holiday courses, masterclasses, and workshops. Alumni work across the theatre and performing arts industry in the UK and overseas, and the school takes a modern, forward-thinking approach to its curriculum, vocational training, and practices.
ICTheatre is at the cutting edge of creative industries training, offering diploma and degree level courses in Contemporary Musical Theatre, Acting for the 21st Century and Hip Hop Artistry, and BA (Hons) in Production Management and Entrepreneurship.
Industry connections, outstanding faculty and affordable training underpinned by mental resilience create the foundations of ICTheatre’s ethos. With campuses in Brighton and Manchester, ICTheatre’s innovative approach is making real inroads into this traditional marketplace and looking ahead to what is relevant to the performer of the 21st Century. Your future is created by what you do today!
Baker Richards is a leading international provider of consulting services and software for the cultural sector. A globally recognised authority on admissions pricing for arts and culture, areas of expertise also include segmentation, loyalty, subscriptions and donations, sales forecasting and primary research. Organisations including the RSC, Birmingham Hippodrome, The Kennedy Center and the The Metropolitan Opera used Baker Richards’ software for audience segmentation. Based in Cambridge, in early 2020 the company became part of an employee-ownership trust.
As part of the Insights Alliance, Baker Richards has tracked cultural audience sentiment during Covid-19 through a series of large-scale national audience surveys.
Indigo Ltd provides smart, sensible and practical consultancy for the cultural sector. Indigo’s Co-Founder and Partner Katy Raines is regarded as one of the UK’s leading consultants on CRM and segmentation for the arts, and as such has developed and led research and implementation programmes for large and middle scale organizations throughout the UK. She has a particular passion for using audience data to effect change, and drive an audience-led approach to marketing for any arts organisation.
As part of the Insights Alliance, Indigo Ltd has tracked cultural audience sentiment during Covid-19 through a series of large-scale national audience surveys.
One Further is a digital analytics and user research consultancy based around London and working internationally. One Further’s CEO and founder Chris Unitt is co-chair of the Museum Computer Network’s Data & Insights Group, and is often invited to write and speak about digital analytics and user experience. He’s spoken at events for the Arts Marketing Association, Museums Association, Ticketing Professionals Conference, Spektrix, and MuseumNext.
As part of the Insights Alliance, One Further has tracked cultural audience sentiment during Covid-19 through a series of large-scale national audience surveys.
Thank you for your interest in our Future of Theatre conference. We hope you will join us as we explore what lies ahead for the sector.
These FAQs should answer the questions you have but if you have any other queries please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
When does the Future of Theatre conference take place?
Wednesday, June 16 to Friday, June 18 from 10am to 6pm each day.
How do I access the event?
Future of Theatre will be live here: hopin.com/events/future-of-theatre-conference
Once you have purchased your pass, you will receive an email on how to complete your registration and access the online event platform.
- You need to be registered on Hopin here: Create an account (hopin.com)
- Then you need to claim your ticket you will have received by email
- You can then login to the event: Future of Theatre conference - Jun 16 | Hopin
If you do not receive an email with these instructions after purchasing a ticket, please contact email@example.com and we'll be happy to help you.
If I miss a session, will it be available afterwards?
Yes of course. Everybody is busy and we know that three days of your time is precious. So while we would love to see you there and for you to be able to interact with our live panellists and share ideas with other attendees, if you can’t catch the event live your ticket will give you on demand access to every panel for up to eight weeks following the conference. This will be a unique library of engaging, educational and challenging content from the most inspiring people in the theatre industry today.
Will the conference be captioned?
Yes. Captions will be prepared for all pre-recorded sessions in advance of the conference. For live panel discussions, captions will be automated at the time of transmission. Captions will appear on screen throughout the duration of the conference.
Will I appear on camera as an attendee?
No, only those involved in speaking at the conference will appear on camera. We would love for you to participate and share your views as an attendee throughout the conference using the live chat function.
What is the difference between the main programme and sponsored content?
The main conference programme is editorially independent and is programmed by The Stage's editorial team. Decisions on who appears on the panels and presents sessions are made by The Stage's editorial team. If any sponsors appear within the main programme, they have been invited to appear independently of any sponsorship deals. Any content that is programmed as part of a sponsor's support for the event will be clearly flagged as sponsored content. This is content that is financially supported and created by event sponsors and is not curated by The Stage's editorial team.
Will all the sessions be live or pre-recorded?
The conference will include a mixture of live and pre-recorded content. The daily schedule will confirm which sessions are live and which ones are pre-recorded.
How will the live Q&As work?
As an attendee, you will have the opportunity to pose questions to panellists about certain topics, or even ask a question to an industry professional that you might never normally get the chance to. These Q&A sessions will be available during the live panel discussions only. You will be notified at the start of the discussion when a Q&A session will be taking place. To participate, simply write in your question using the chat function during the panel discussion, and we will pose the question to the panel. There will be 15 minutes allocated at the event of the discussion to address audience questions. Depending on how many people submit questions, we cannot guarantee all questions will be asked.