Audience Development & Engagement Officer Recruitment Pack

Audience Development & Engagement Officer Recruitment Pack


December 2017


'Pentabus are one of British Theatre's many unsung treasures; not flashy or fashionable but quietly nurturing a steady stream of talented writers and directors, and offering rural audiences superb touring shows.' Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, April 2016


Brilliant new theatre, made in the countryside.

Your local rural theatre company, wherever you are.


We are the nation’s rural theatre company. We tour new plays to new audiences in village halls, fields, festivals and theatres - telling stories with local relevance and national impact.

Over four decades Pentabus has produced over 160 new plays, supported more than 120 playwrights and reached a million audience members. We’ve toured to hundreds of places, won awards and created lasting relationships with artists, venues and audiences across the country.Over the last five years the company has developed a bold new vision to become the nation's rural theatre company, creating new plays about the modern rural world for audiences all over the UK.

This increase in the company's activities and reach has meant we have made powerful new work in theatres, fields and village halls, unique in our ambitious far-reaching theatre about, informed by and made for, rural audiences. Alongside this has been an initiative to nurture young writers from rural backgrounds, being a voice on the national stage for rural issues and pioneering work in digital fields to increase access and opportunity. The company now tours several productions a year, is a leading force in green theatre practice and plays an important role in the national theatre ecology, discovering and supporting new and emerging playwrights; a champion for the modern rural world.

Formed in 1974, Pentabus is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. The formation of the company was a deliberate intervention in response to a lack of quality arts provision in the West Midlands, as identified by the then West Midlands Arts Board. Based on a farm in rural Shropshire, the company retains a Midlands presence but its reach is now truly national and occasionally international. Our work tours as far afield as Cornwall, Orkney, Coleraine and Kent and has been seen off-Broadway, across Europe, in India, Australia and New Zealand.

We are a National Portfolio Organisation supported by the Arts Council. In the last few years the company has secured funding from major Trusts and Foundations including the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Monument Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Millichope Foundationall offering continued support towards our ambitious vision. In addition, we earn income through ticket sales, partnerships, individual donations and business support.

Pentabus is governed by a board of trustees, led by our Chair, Ros Robins. They have a range of skills including artistic, fundraising and business expertise. Board members’ full biogs are on our website.


Role Overview
In 2015 we set out a bold new vision, to become the nation’s rural theatre company. Over the last three years we have increased our reach significantly in-line with this vision, building our audience numbers by 40% and touring as far afield as Norfolk, Devon and the Borders.Over the next four years our focus will be on developing and embedding this new national approach, building on these foundations to deepen engagement and diversify our audience. This Audience Development Officer post is a new and crucial role with responsibility for the development and delivery of our growing audience development and engagement strand. This is an exciting opportunity to help shape the way the company works over the next 3 to 4 years.

Reports to: Managing Director

Audience Development

To deepen engagement with existing audiences. To devise and deliver wrap around projects and activities to embed the company’s work, build new audiences and reach people of least engagement, working within available resources, including;

  • Supporting the Artistic Director and Producer in the development of our ‘Theatre in Surprising Places’ strand of work – working with communities to develop projects that tell their stories
  • Supporting the Artistic Director in identifying and engaging with communities of place and interest for new projects and ideas.
  • Devising wider engagement initiatives to provide opportunities for new audiences to see our work
  • Working with the wider team to devise and deliver wrap around events including talks, debates and discussions
  • Using company data and audience development tools to support the Artistic Director and Producer in ensuring that the company’s work reaches local and national areas of least engagement with the arts.
  • Engaging community and special interest groups and facilitating engagement activities linked to the artistic programme
  • Building relationships with schools and colleges, engaging young people in the company’s programme of work
  • Acting as an ambassador for the company and its work

Young People

To be responsible for the Pentabus Young Company including;

  • Assisting the Artistic Director in the planning and delivery of Pentabus Young Company and building its’ membership.
  • Assisting the Artistic Director and Young Writers Tutor in the planning and delivery of the Pentabus Young Company Writers’ Group
  • Liaising with Young Company Writers’ Group Partners and coordinating workshops
  • Liaising with Young Company Members and facilitating their participation in Young Writers’
  • Working with the Producer to promote the free ticketing scheme to venues

Website and Social Media

To be responsible for maintaining the company website and social media accounts including;

  • Working with wider team to ensure that the website is up to date with production content
  • Creating and developing content for the website and social media accounts, ensuring that they are vibrant and active for maximum web-traffic
  • Working with web developers as required
  • Overseeing the company’s social media strategy and managing the social media accounts
  • Utilisinganalytic tools i.e Google Analytics to understand user behaviours
  • In all cases, to comply with the data protection act (supported by the Managing Director)


  • Working with the team to devise and implement marketing and audience development strategies for the company
  • Working with the Producer and wider team to devise and implement show specific marketing and audience development plans in-line with the company strategy
  • Developing project-specific marketing campaigns alongside co-producing partners as required.
  • Ensuring consistent use of brand guidelines in all communications (internally and by partners and third parties)
  • Liaising with graphic designers to develop marketing collateral as required (show specific print is the responsibility of the Producer but this post holder will be required to support the process)
  • Responsibility for company e-shots, liaising with the team to prioritise content
  • Co-ordinating print production and distribution, creating and proof-reading copy as required
  • Overseeing the distribution ofprinted and digital marketing materials
  • Engaging with third-party marketing campaigns as appropriate
  • To maintain the company’s print, media and photography archive

Audience Surveys & Data Gathering

To be responsible for gathering, recording and monitoring audience feedback and data (complying with the data protection act) to inform the company’s marketing & audience development strategy including:

  • Regularly evaluating marketing and audience development activity and ensuring that this learning informs future campaigns
  • Designing and delivering the company’s annual survey, gathering and compiling data to inform the marketing & audience development strategy and as required by the wider team
  • Designing and administering show specific audience surveys and compiling corresponding data
  • Being the relationship holder with key audience development partners including the Audience Agency


To engage with the theatre, and wider arts marketing, industries including:

  • Keeping abreast of industry news and events
  • Ensuring an awareness of the latest social media and promotional channels being used both in theatre practise and the wider creative industries.
  • Attending events and engaging with actors and creative teams

Person Specification


  • A minimum 2years experienceof marketing and/or audience development roles (this can include education and training)
  • A track record in creating and managing marketing and/or audience development campaigns
  • Experience of social media and running successful engagement campaigns
  • Experience of creative engagement with non-arts community groups.
  • A strong understanding of the arts sector and an awareness of of sector developments and news
  • Confident networker with strong written and spoken communication skills
  • Excellent copywriting skills and creative thinking
  • An understanding of the importance of broadening access to theatre to the widest possible audiences.
  • The passion and confidence to creatively engage with new theatre audiences
  • The ability to adopt a variety of communication styles with a wide range of people
  • The ability to work under pressure and on own initiative
  • Excellent team working skills and leadership qualities
  • Flexibility to regularly work evenings and weekends and take an active role in the company’s life
  • A commitment to professional development
  • Ability to act as an advocate and spokesperson for Pentabus
  • Excellent IT skills
  • Driver with access to a car


  • Specific experience of working with marginalised or hard to reach groups of people
  • An understanding of and passion for the rural world
  • Experience of using Drupl or other content management programmes
  • Experience of using Mailchimp
  • Experience of working within project budgets
  • Experience of print design and production
  • Experience of working with a theatre company
  • Experience of a theatre rehearsal and development process.
  • An interest in dramaturgy


Contract type: Full time, 12 months fixed term (with a view to extending)

Salary: £20,000 per annum

Annual Holiday: 25 days per year plus bank holidays

Office Hours: 9.30am – 5.30pm, Monday – Friday, additional hours as required

The post holder will need to have flexibility to regularly work evenings and weekends and take an active role in the company’s life.

This role is based at the company offices in Bromfield, Shropshire and will include travel across the UK as needed to deliver the role

Pentabus recognises there are some specific challenges in rural touring for which prospective candidates may not have experience. We are committed to professional development in the sector and will provide focussed support in these areas if required.

Staff Benefits

  • Auto-enrolment in company pension scheme (employer contribution – 2%)
    Professional Development and training opportunities
  • Annual theatre ticket allowance
  • A free playtext for every Pentabus production
  • Complimentary tickets to each Pentabus production
  • We operate a TOIL policy

Application Process

Pentabus is committed to equality of opportunity in the arts. We value diversity and recognise that artistic excellence relies on the richness and innovation diversity brings. We welcome applications from people from diverse backgrounds.

In order to apply for the role of Audience Development and Engagement Officerplease send us:

  • A copy of your CV
  • A covering letter outlining your reasons for applying and the skills and experience that you would bring to the role (no more than 2 pages long)
  • A completed copy of our covering sheet and equal opportunities monitoring form

The deadline for applications is 12noon on Monday 8th January 2018to be sent

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 16thJanuary 2018 (at Bromfield)

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