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Birmingham Royal Ballet have an exciting project on at the moment. Later this year you will have a chance to see David Bintley’s new production of Cinderella at the Birmingham Hippodrome. This promises to be an exciting new interpretaion of Prokofiev’s ballet with John Macfarlane’s designs providing a very dramatic backdrop.

One of the things I love about this new production is that you can follow the developments on the Creating Cinderella blog. Everything from the creation of prosthetic heads to the thinking behind the designs. What is revealing is David Bintley’s video diary so you can follow the development from his first intentions back at the start of 2010.

Video footage of the rehearsals and choreography make this a remarkable record of a highly creative process. So take a look at the blog and go and see the show. It’s on between November 24th and December 12th, so click here to book now.

Birmingham Royal Ballet published their planned productions for the Birmingham Hippodrome today and you can find the listing here.

What is great, for us, about this is that it shows some of the new features in Masque Repertoire (our content management system for the performing arts), allowing all the information about a production to appear on one page together with links to the booking pages on the theatres web site. Take a look at the Romeo and Juliet page to get the idea.
This is just the first phase in our redevelopment with lots more features being added. We have worked closely with BRB for several years to develop a system that is easy to use and quick to update when you have more information to impart.
From a technical point it has been a fascinating challenge to get the underlying database structure correct and then to build the web program to bring this all together into the web pages – depending on what’s coming up performance wise this might generate 1,500 pages or more – and is handling about 5,000 page views a day.

Segmentation is based on a principle: everyone is different; and a hope: but in certain aspects they are not that different – people can be grouped together based on some similarities and grouped in large enough bundles to make marketing cost effective. “Segmentation is a compromise between the homogenous mass and the single individual”1

Segmentation is at the heart of effective marketing. It is about understanding your customers. The goal has always been one-to-one marketing where each person is a segment and we talk to them as an individual. While technology has moved us in this direction, even printed material can now be customised based on the attributes of each recipient, it is still not cost effective to market on this basis wholesale and so breaking our audience down into manageable chunks makes sense.
Of course segmentation can be used in two ways: marketing more effectively to our existing customers and supporters – which involves profiling and analysing our existing customer database (“if you have one”, Katy Raines, p6 JAM issue 37 – if not contact me//shameless plug); or looking for new audiences – which really involves looking for a general profiling tool that can be used to identify those similar to existing audiences or represents the type of new audience you would like to attract.

The latest edition of JAM (Jan 2010) from the AMA looks at segmentation which was the subject of the very first JAM back in 2001. A long time between discussions and so a welcome addition to the JAM series. Interestingly we have contributions in both editions from Heather Maitland and Andrew McIntyre, so gives almost a history of the development in arts market segmentation over the last decade.
What is clearly illustrated is that although the marketing environment has changed dramatically, with the development of the Internet and computing power in particular, the concepts behind segmentation remain the same: as Maitland prefaced her original article “Marketing is a planned process that involves talking to the right people, about the right things, in the right way, and at the right time, to achieve your objectives”. Couldn’t have put it better myself.
1. Andrew McIntyre JAM March 2001

Yesterday I was visiting Birmingham Royal Ballet and was fortunate enough to catch a rehearsal of ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café. I have to confess I was amazed: The music was at times haunting others inspirational; the costumes were stunning; and the use of a simple but evocative sets and lighting set the whole thing ablaze.

So what’s it all about? Well to borrow the description from BRB:

Simon Jeffes and his Penguin Café Orchestra provided David Bintley’s inspiration for ‘Still Life’ at the Penguin Café, his witty and poignant look at man’s effect on the world around him. A morris-dancing flea, a ballroom-dancing ram, a sleepy rat and a woolly monkey are among the animals featured.”
A performance to experience. It is on at various locations throughout the UK as part of BRB’s Pomp and Circumstances suite – click here for more info.