Guest Blog: The Fun Club On How To Find An Audience for [Working Title]

The Fun Club talk about the challenges and discoveries in learning how to “find your audience” and market your first show out of uni. 

[Working Title] arrives at CPT on Dec 6-7, get your tickets here

So, what do you do when you see the sales report one week before your show and there are just 2 tickets sold?

Panic? Cry? Laugh?! Maniacally… like the villain in an 80’s cartoon. It is certainly an option.

Hello, my name is Franny. I am one third of the three performers rep’ing for The Fun Club (and one quarter of the company entire). In the words of someone far greater than me “we likely haven’t met, but I’m glad you’re around”. I wish those were my words, because they are true.

I’m here to tell you a bit about us. This is The Fun Club’s first venture out into the real world post-graduation (aaaargh! we’re not students anymore, BUT aaaargh! we WERE students) and we’re currently riding on the beautifully honed coat tails of the Camden People’s Theatre. I can’t tell you how this all happened, or at least not in a concise way. Get me drunk at the bar and I’ll wax lyrical about ‘finding your tribe’, but for now, suffice to say ‘this is where we are at’.

Our show is called [Working Title], pretentious parentheses and all.

I think our show is funny; I feel a lot of heart and endeavour in our show; I know the crazy amount of work that has gone into creating this show, and I have been the one listening with wide eyed amazement as friends and family joyfully dissect the moments of laughter, and warmth amongst the bickering, and under cutting improv during our work-in-progress shows.

But what does it matter what I think? This is the real world now. I’m not buying tickets. You are… hopefully.

It probably won’t surprise you to know that a question we get asked a lot is ‘who is your audience?’ My honest reaction is “I don’t know”. And I don’t think we’re alone in this, when making devised work. Who is our audience? Who…is… our… audience? This question is asked sometimes out of curiosity, but the question is more often than not rooted in marketing – a thing akin to witchcraft, frankly.

How do you market a show that is about the human condition of failing to succeed. Who is the audience who pleasures in endeavour, and the quest to create something original? Who are the people you sell a ticket to because they have a need to understand the connections we make with each other through failure? Who walks into a theatre foyer in search of a show about all of those things? And the questions keep coming.

As we fast approach our professional debut (little bit of nervous vomit just surfaced) I look around auditoriums and try to understand ‘who’ the audience is in an effort to understand who ours might be. In the spirit of marketing speak: a sample for you.

One evening I sit amongst a sold out audience in our largest theatre by the river. They are alive with gossip about the leading man. The leading man who is arguably more famous than the play itself.

None of The Fun Club are famous. That’s not our audience.

Another day I am sat dressed in all black, wearing a lanyard with my name on it, and watching as an audience files into the auditorium I am tasked with attending. Every possible age is present, a variety of languages can be heard, and the ticket stubs are a collage of West End ticketing agencies. The music starts and the audience are enthralled with a cult B-movie favourite.

Our show is not a musical, or based on a cult B-movie film, or onsale with a variety of ticketing agencies. That’s not our audience either.

More recently, above a pub, and I am surrounded by people I recognise and who recognise me. We are friends.

Hey, now, our show definitely has friends! Perhaps that’s our audience!

But, wait. We can’t say our audience are just friends. As brilliant as having friends is, we have to survive in the real world, and the real world is full of strangers. So, here is the thing, we made a show about the human condition; about not knowing the answer; about fear; about recognising the need and urgency to tell stories. We made a show to bring humans together in a room to share in these.

There may always be a question about who our audience is, whether it’s for this show or the next, and that’s only fair to ask. We have made work for an audience. But maybe our audience just doesn’t know us yet. So, to the 2 people who have bought tickets I greet you with “we likely haven’t met, but I’m glad you’re around”. Because we owe you the same show as if there were 50 of you!

The Fun Club

Ps. In the time it took to write this our sales report has leapt up to 31, imagine how many more might have been tempted to try us out in the time it took you to read this… see you there?