Masterproef Dubaere Barbara

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1 Masterproef Dubaere Barbara Stage NTGent From the ground up; a communication strategy for a cultural product. Case study: the theatre production Aïda* by NTGent. Meertalige bedrijfscommunicatie Academiejaar Prof. G. Jacobs 1

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3 TABEL MET DE BESCHRIJVING VAN DE STAGE Bedrijf Naam : NTGent Straat : Sint-Baafsplein 17 Postnummer + Gemeente : 9000 Gent Telefoon : 09/ Stagebegeleider Matthias Dusesoi Hoofd communicatie Afdeling Dienst communicatie Taken Communicatiestrategie voor de nieuwe productie uitwerken (zie theoretisch kader) Bedrijfsbrochure maken Persmap samenstellen Meehelpen met de invulling van de nieuwe website Digitale nieuwsbrieven samenstellen Opvolging externe communicatie m.b.t. de productie Brief aan mijn rechter (contactadressen verzamelen en informeren over de distributie van promotiemateriaal) Wekelijks notuleren van de teamvergadering Een greep uit de pers Talen tijdens de stage Nederlands en Frans Stageperiode 24 april juni 2010 (9 weken) 1

4 DANKWOORD Voor de totstandkoming van deze thesis, wil ik enkele mensen bedanken. Eerst en vooral de medewerkers van NTGent. Matthias Dusesoi wil ik van harte bedanken om mij de kans te geven stage te lopen bij NTGent. Ook tijdens de stage maakte hij veel tijd voor me vrij. Vragen, twijfels, bekommernissen. Voor alles kon ik bij hem terecht. Ook de andere collega s van de dienst communicatie wil ik hartelijk danken. Benny, die me op sleeptouw nam tijdens de eerste weken. Ons bezoekje aan de VRT was een aangename afwisseling. Dank ook aan Chantal, Katleen, Nele, Koen en Christelle. Van de antwoorden op mijn vele vragen tot de babbels en het lachen tussendoor. Ik wens hen allemaal nog mooie tijden bij NTGent en daarbuiten. Tenslotte wil ik ook mijn familie en vriend bedanken. Een extra jaar na een reeds voltooide opleiding, is niet altijd vanzelfsprekend. De vruchten van jullie steun draag ik aan jullie op! 2

5 CONTENT Tabel met de beschrijving van de stage... 1 Dankwoord... 2 Content... 3 Preface... 5 I. Presentation NTGent History Turbulent times From KNS, over NTG and Publiekstheater, to NTGent The future, a challenge for the department of communication Structure Corporate Identity Core business Mission statement and vision Strategy Client profile Competition SWOT analysis II. Theoretical frame Motivation Theories of communication Lasswell Maletzke Conclusion Creating a communication strategy The product Defining the mission Defining the target group

6 3.4. Formulating the message Planning and organization Budget Implementation and evaluation III. Content of the internship Creating a communication strategy Creating a press kit Context What is a press kit? Evaluation Composing a company brochure Context What is a company brochure? Evaluation Other Data input for the new website and creating digital newsletters Taking the minutes Scanning the daily press Going to the theatre IV. Final conclusion V. Bibliography VI. Annex... I 1. Content... I 2. Abstract of the content of my internship... II 3. Press kit Lettre à mon juge... V 4. Company brochure... XIV 4

7 PREFACE July Exactly one year ago, I chose to do MTB instead of cultural management. My motivation had its roots in the thought that I would be able to combine a more professional, economical education with my own input regarding culture. One year later, I think I managed to make this goal a reality; I did some research for the department of culture of the province East-Flanders, dedicated my time to create a marketing communication plan for a city beer and did my internship at the city theatre NTGent. The choice to do my internship at a theatre was certainly not a random one. I wanted to learn more about the communication of a cultural organization. After doing some research, I had two options. Either joining the department of communication of Flagey in Brussels, an organization that offers a mainly musical repertoire or joining the team of NTGent in Ghent. I chose the latter because I preferred the product of NTGent. Theatre has always been a part of my life. Since I was a little girl I attended my local academy to study theatre. Later I joined the student theatre Matrak and today I still enjoy this art form in a passive way. This internship was a great opportunity to learn all about the management of communication of a theatre. When I arrived at NTGent, the people working at the department of communication were very friendly. They immediately made me feel at ease and trusted me with some tasks. Some of the assignments were short-term, other would prove to last during my entire internship. I am glad to say I was given a lot of responsibilities. However my colleagues were always happy to answer my questions, they also granted me with time and patience so I could do my job. This thesis is a review and analysis of the past nine weeks. This document is conceived in three parts. First of all, I give a presentation of the company NTGent. A synopsis of the theatre s past will give us more comprehension about the evolution to what the company stands for today and what the future might hold. Next to that, I will explain the structure of NTGent. How is this theatre managed? The corporate identity will give us more information about the core business of the company, its mission and vision, its strategy, the client profile and the competition. Finally, the SWOT analysis will summarize this information into a clear overview of internal and external elements. The second chapter is dedicated to the theoretical frame. Firstly, I will motivate my choice to do some research about the communication strategy of a cultural product. Secondly, by way of introduction to the matter, I present two of the most relevant theories of communication. The models created by Laswell and Maletzke prove to be a good foundation for any study on communication. Of course, every theory is linked to the specificities of the cultural sector. Thirdly, the real work start, namely the creation of a communication strategy. To do so, one must consider the product with its complex nature, the mission, the target group, the formulation of the message, the planning and organization, the budget with its limits and the implementation and evaluation. Step by step I will explain how the theory can be applied to the specific case-study of the new production Aïda*. It was a real advantage to link the theory to the practice. The third and last chapter handles the content of the internship. The main assignment was perceived as a case study to illustrate the theoretical frame and will therefore not be repeated in this part. 5

8 However, the creation of a communication strategy for the new production, was not the only assignment I was trusted with. Particular challenges consisted of creating a press kit in French and composing the new company brochure. Additionally I will also present some of my smaller responsibilities. To conclude I will investigate what I have learned professionally on the one hand and in human term on the other hand. It is also a feedback to MTB. A bibliography and appendix containing some examples of my assignments, complete this thesis. 6

9 I. PRESENTATION NTGENT 1. HISTORY 1.1. TURBULENT TIMES When I arrived at NTGent, on April 26 th 2010, a big structural change was in the offing. The artistic manager since five years, Johan Simons, was preparing his departure to manage the Münchner Kammerspiele in Germany. Meanwhile a successor was found in Wim Opbrouck. Needless to say, such an event calls for even more action from the department of communication. Busy times. Turbulent times. When looking back, it seems that, NTGent not only goes through a hectic period right now, the Theatre has had a turbulent history from the start FROM KNS, OVER NTG AND PUBLIEKSTHEATER, TO NTGENT The building located in the centre of Ghent, in a triangle formed by the cathedral, the belfry and the town hall, dates back to For a long time, this theatre was used as the second stage of the Antwerp KNS (Koninklijke Nederlandse Schouwburg). 1 The Belgian government had given KNS the task to manage the Flemish part of the National Theatre of Belgium. KNS was in charge of the budget, the content and the spreading of all Flemish companies covered by the National Theatre of Belgium. This is the reason why KNS took the lead of the Ghent theatre. In 1965 the National Theatre of Belgium was put to rest. The national task was divided into three independent task forces; KNS (Antwerp), KVS (Brussels) and NTG (Ghent). 2 Finally the theatre located in the center of Ghent, was run by a Ghent company and received the name NTG. Dré Poppe, who had been the manager of the Ghent theatre Arca for 15 years, became the new leader of NTG. Under his leadership and as a new repertory Theatre with a small and fairly young team, NTG succeeded quite quickly in gaining the sympathy of the Ghent audience. The start was promising, but the leadership would prove to be very inconsistent. After only two seasons, Dré Poppe was succeeded by the administrative director Albert Hanssens. Few years later, Walter Esselinck took over, followed by Jaak Van Schoor and many others. 3 1 <http://www.ntgent.be/index.php?id=36&l=3>, <http://www.felixarchief.be/unrestricted/folder.aspx?document_id=09041acf80000b55&format=pdf>,

10 In 1997, Jean-Pierre De Decker became the artistic leader. With De Decker as leader, NTG tried to attract a larger audience. De Decker put together a new team of actors and planned not only classic, contemporary and experimental theatre, but also children s theatre and youth theatre. The public found the way to the theatre again. 4 In 2001 NTG merged with Arca Theatre and was renamed Publiekstheater. After the death of De Decker, financial manager Dirk De Corte got the final responsibility and started looking for a new artistic leader. In 2005, he found an artistic manager in the person of Johan Simons. Simons changed the name to NTGent, to break with the past, to link the theatre to the city and to assure the artistic continuity THE FUTURE, A CHALLENGE FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION Artistic director Johan Simons has left NTGent in the spring of He will be succeeded by Wim Opbrouck. Opbrouck is part of the actors ensemble and will combine his function as artistic leader with acting. A wind of change is blowing through the Theatre. These are exciting times for the whole staff. Everyone must participate in making this transition a fluid one. At the department of communication, the employees have to make clever choices. Their job is to communicate about the structural change, without overshadowing the theatrical season. The communication strategy for next season is embedded in a new corporate image. Wim Opbrouck wants to step away from the heavy politically engaged theatre and wants to put forward a homely atmosphere by integrating more music, poetry, dance, imagination and some new, young actors. The department of communication has to incorporate that image in the communication mix. This mix is very broad and consists of the interior of the theatre ( a new bar, new decorations), the publications, the flyers, the website and every other promotional instrument. The department will also have to invest in thoroughly conducted marketing research. Because the new artistic leader wants to integrate a number of new disciplines (photo theatre, dance, music theatre and graphic arts), NTGent will have to find a new audience while keeping the loyalty of the current public. That is why a long term communication strategy will be a must. This internal switch will definitely be a challenge for the department of communication. But a well developed communication strategy is ready to be put in place. 6 3 For a complete list, go to <http://depot.vti.be/dspace/bitstream/2147/393/3/isad_ntg.pdf>, <http://depot.vti.be/dspace/bitstream/2147/393/3/isad_ntg.pdf>, <http://www.ntgent.be/index.php?id=36&l=3> and <http://depot.vti.be/dspace/bitstream/2147/393/3/isad_ntg.pdf> Internal document Communicatiestrategie naar aanleiding van de artistieke wissel (overgang Johan Simons Wim Opbrouck)., p. 1. 8

11 2. STRUCTURE NTGent is a highly productive theatre due to its motivated supporting staff. This is a top-down presentation of the company. 7 NTGent does not have a general assembly, but a counsel. The composition of the counsel is determined by the three founders and the co-opted. A total of 19 board members were assigned by the city of Ghent, the province of East-Flanders, the Flemish community and the ex-arca Group. The head of the counsel is Luc Van den Bossche. 8 The counsel has to approve of the budget and appoints both the artistic (Wim Opbrouck) and the business manager (Kurt Melens). The counsel also includes an executive board, that consists of a chairman (Luc Van den Bossche), a vice-chairman (Guy Reyniers), a treasurer ( Luc Coppens) and a secretary (Freddy Decreus). Graph 1: The structure of NTGent Counsil Executive Board General Management Finance and HR Dramaturgie External relations Artistic planning Technique and logistics The general management of the company is responsible for the daily management of the theatre. It consists of the managers of the different departments; dramaturgy, external relations, artistic planning and technique and logistics. 7 Internal document Algemene bedrijfspresentatie F:\1. communicatie\1.1 algemeen\1.1.1 allerlei\bedrijfsbezoeken 8 For a complete list of the counsel, go to <http://www.ntgent.be/wie-wie>,

12 In 2009 an average of 83 full time equivalents 9 worked at NTGent. 10 After a few years of restructuring, the company regained financial stability in The theatre took this opportunity to recruit new employees. At the end of 2009, the staff foundation was solid enough to continue an optimal productivity. Graph 2: Fulltime equivalents In 2009, 44 men and 39 women worked at NTGent. Almost half of the women seem to prefer working part time (18 people), whereas men rarely choose this option (only 4 people). NTGent is a young company when it comes to its staff. 47% of all staff members are younger than % is older than 52. Of course, one group can not be overlooked when presenting the staff of NTGent. As a company making its own productions, NTGent employs an ensemble of actors. Wim Opbrouck, the artistic leader, is one of them. The others are Elsie de Brauw, Els Dottermans, Frank Focketyn, Servé Hermans, An Miller, Julie Van den Berghe (producer), Oscar Van Rompay, Steven Van Watermeulen, Peter Verhelst (producer) and Lien Wildemeersch A full time equivalent is a calculation to express the average amount of employees working for NTGent in terms of full time schedules. 10 For a complete list of the staff, go to <http://www.ntgent.be/wie-wie>, <http://www.ntgent.be/ensemble>,

13 3. CORPORATE IDENTITY 3.1. CORE BUSINESS What is the core business of NTGent? NTGent is a city theatre with an international (co)producing ensemble. This means that the theatre makes its own productions, with or without other companies. After a few years of financial restriction due to economy measures, the number of own productions went up to 341 in A great deal of these productions are sold abroad, mainly to the Netherlands. Graph 3: Number of performed production in Ghent/on tour in 2009 But NTGent is also a receptive theatre, which means that the company welcomes other productions to play on its stages. NTGent has three stages, namely the main theatre (Sint-Baafsplein), Minnemeers (Minnemeers) and the smaller Arca-theatre (Sint-Widostraat). The receptive repertoire at NTGent has grown over the last four years by an average of 8%. There are less own productions, but they are sold abroad more often and they prove to be very successful. Graph 4: Number of performed productions in Ghent: own and receptive in 2009 Globally, NTGent has reached almost visitors (own and receptive plays included). Each year more and more people get acquainted with the company and its activities. An average growth of 3,5% has been registered from 2006 to The surge of 23% from 2008 to 2009 is the result of the considerable rise of the productions sold abroad. 11

14 3.2. MISSION STATEMENT AND VISION Although NTGent is not a hard core enterprise, the theatre has a very clear and strong mission statement. Because of the replacement of Johan Simons with Wim Opbrouck, a new mission statement has been announced in May It seems that the Theatre wishes to focus on continuity as well as on renewal. According to the Theatre, the change of the artistic leader should not result in a total abandonment of everything NTGent once was. The main idea stays in place; NTGent is an international producing Theatre, based in Ghent. A series of productions by Johan Simons will still be present in the repertoire and some of his plays will be repeated next season. 12 But of course, every character brings his own input to the organization. The arrival of Wim Opbrouck will announce some new elements. By comparing the old mission statement (dates back to 2004 during the artistic leadership of Johan Simons) to the new one (2010, during the artistic leadership of Wim Opbrouck), we will be able to distinguish continuity from novelty NTGent. Midden in de wereld. NTGent. In the centre of the world. According to the old mission statement, the theatre should position itself in the center of the world, where it can reach a broad public, in order to resist the changing reality. Theatre should be accessible to all and relate to the every day life. NTGent does not want to bring theatre, so difficult only specialists can appreciate it. NTGent wants to place theatre (art) alongside science, politics and ethics. The main focus is clearly put on the content of the pieces. The influence of Johan Simons as the artistic leader has resulted in politically engaged theatre NTGent. Een huis van spelers. NTGent a house of actors. With regard to the place of theatre in society, the new mission statement differs only slightly from the old one. The new NTGent also feels the need to become a reference point when it comes to both the artistic and social embedded nature. Only the link with the city of Ghent is intensified. The biggest change manifests itself when it comes to the motor of the Theatre. After the years with Johan Simons as artistic leader, during which the repertoire in the center of the world has been developed successfully, the ensemble will take over from the first of September on. 14 The drive has clearly shifted from a heavy repertoire point of view to a people-oriented organization. NTGent is from now on a house of actors. The actors, brought together by Johan Simons, will further enhance their cooperation with each other and NTGent. Wim Opbrouck, artistic manager, is also the head of the ensemble. 12 Internal document Communicatiestrategie naar aanleiding van de artistieke wissel (overgang Johan Simons Wim Opbrouck)., p Internal document NTGent Policy Plan, NTGent. Midden in de wereld, 2004, p NTGent Magazine, NTGNT, N 3, May 2010, volume 8, p

15 3.3. STRATEGY NTGent is on the verge of a new era. Not only does the theatre prepare the new theatrical season, it will also embrace its new artistic leader and his fresh ideas. This change in leadership brings along a lot of implications. The style of Wim Opbrouck is significantly different from that of Johan Simons; less predominantly politically engaged theatre, more music, poetry, dance and imagination, some new actors and a completely new graphic style. Of course these changes have to be communicated internally, as well as externally. That is why the department of communication has formulated three strategic goals to communicate about the new corporate image in a consistent and pertinent way. The first goal is to make the theatre a cozy meeting place for visitors. The warmth and cosiness should be noticeable in all rooms. For the department of communication, the challenge lies in the translation of this feeling in all the publications, in the corporate and production posters, the flyers, the website and all other promotional channels. The second aim consists of giving special attention to the partners in the Netherlands. A good cooperation with our neighbors should ensure a long term and sustainable market place. Again, the department of communication will have to invest in relationships, networking, publicity and presence in the Dutch media channels. The third and last objective is to invest in decent research concerning the public. This immediately implicates the investment in a better ticketing system through which it would be possible to gain a lot more information about the visitors. Because of the new approach, NTGent will have to attract a new audience and motivate the loyalty of the existing audience. That is why it is so important, for the department of communication and others, to know who to address. 15 This brings us seamlessly to the next chapter about the client profile CLIENT PROFILE During the previous policy period, NTGent wanted to reach the individual, without making a selection based on age, geographical background or social class. The company wanted to make an effort to reach several target groups and invested in public relations (Publiekswerking) and in a diversity policy (Diversiteitsbeleid). 16 Through these audience-building efforts, NTGent followed most art organizations who select a number of market segments. The strategy of multisegment coverage has the advantage of attracting a broader base of the art-going public and of diversifying the organization s risk. 17 The market research NTGent uses to know, measure and manage its client base, is based on the current ticketing system. This information technology has its limits. That is why the company is 15 Internal document Communicatie strategie naar aanleiding van de artistieke wissel (overgang Johan Simons Wim Opbrouck)., p Internal document NTGent Policy Plan, NTGent. Midden in de wereld, 2004, p KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Standing Room Only. Strategies for Marketing the Performing Arts. Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 1997, p

16 looking to invest in a new, more sophisticated technology in the near future. In the meantime, the theatre uses the current system to understand the client profile. The following facts and figures are based on the data extracted from the current ticketing system. A. Reach (Publieksbereik) In 2009 NTGent attracted nearly visitors through the total of its activities. This is the sum of the visitors attending own productions (in Ghent and elsewhere), guest productions and public relations). Each year more and more people get acquainted with the theatre. From 2006 to 2008 the yearly reach increased by an average of 3,5%. The surge by 23% from 2008 to 2009 is due to the increase in the number of travelling productions. 18 Graph 5: Total yearly reach B. Composition of the public (Publiekssamenstelling) The following facts and figures represent the group of visitors who have made a reservation. During the season one person generally bought 6,2 tickets at a time, for himself and for friends or family. The current ticketing system can only extract information about the buyers. That is why the knowledge about the audience is pretty limited. A new technology is however in the offing. When we divide the public in categories according to age, we can remark that 61% of the visitors belong to the category 27 to 59 years. Almost a third is younger than 26 and 10% is older than A young audience is a good sign. It means that the theatre was able to attract newly interested people. It will be a challenge in the future, as it has always been, to transform this young audience into a loyal audience. In terms of loyalty, the figures are not overwhelmingly good. Nevertheless, they show a significant growth year after year. One year ago (season ), NTGent sold 836 subscriptions. Last season ( ), subscriptions were sold. 20 Graph 6: Age categories audience 18 Internal documents. 19 Internal documents. 20 Interview with Line Devlamynck, head of the box office,

17 The following category is based on the geographical background. The remark made with regard to the age about the information technology, is also valid with regard to the geographical background. It comes as no surprise that the best represented group comes from the province of East Flanders. Nevertheless, 8,26% of the audience comes from the province West Flanders, followed by the province of Antwerp with 5,42%. Within the province of East Flanders, the city of Ghent scores best. But the suburbs, Deinze and Dendermonde also have high scores. According to a recent study performed by a Master student Economics at the University of Antwerp, NTGent surpasses most of its colleagues concerning the geographical background of its audience. People visiting NTGent are willing to travel 30 to 35 km, significantly more than the Boulaschouwburd and the Kaaitheater (20 to 25 km). 21 Graph 7: Geographical background audience C. Public relations and diversity policy NTGent is a city theatre. That is why the company wishes to engage for and with the city through numerous activities for several target groups. Bringing the right offer in the right way to the right people. To do so, the theatre has developed two strong entities; the department for public relations and a responsible for the diversity policy. 21 THOELEN (A.). Publieksgeheimen ten tonele gevoerd. Kwantitatief onderzoek naar het publiek van Toneelhuis ter verbetering van demarketing en communicatie. University of Antwerp, Antwerp, 2009, p and RANSHUYSEN (L.). Handleiding publieksonderzoek voor podia en musea. Amsterdam, Boekmanstudies, 1999, p

18 The department of public relations wants to strengthen the link between the Theatre, its ensemble and the public. By inviting the public through new, creative and substantive ways to attend a play, the department has rapidly grown to be one of the most appreciated pillars of NTGent. The activities organized by public relations are numerous; workshops, introductions, discussions, tours. In 2009 the department reached people with 408 activities. Nearly 8% of all visitors is directly related to the effort of public relations. Graph 8: Audience reach through Public Relations in 2009 In general, the number of activities organized by the department of public relations increases. Only in 2007 the number fell back. In activities were put into place, an increase of 60% compared to Graph 9: Number of activities organized by Public Relations in 2009 When it comes to the diversity policy, NTGent has invested a lot since But also last year, the attention for minority groups, such as the disabled, the visually and hearing impaired and people of modest means, grew within the company. The employment of a part time responsible for the diversity policy, is an example of the effort made. Measures were taken to improve the accessibility of the theatre for wheelchair users, hearing and visually impaired. 16

19 3.5. COMPETITION Competition is defined as all products or services, actual and potential, the buyer considers, including substitutes. 22 This means that a company not only should be aware of the direct competition (a theatre versus another theatre), but also of the indirect competition (such as television and all other recreational activities). Indeed, as a theatre, NTGent should not only reckon with the programmes of other theatres, it should also keep in mind the television programmes, the movies, concert halls, museums, festivals, within a range of 30 km (because, according to a recent study, this is the maximum distance people are willing to travel for a cultural excursion). 23 Report has it that there is quite some overproduction within the cultural sector. On the one hand, this should motivate more people to attend a theatre play or concert once in a while. On the other hand, competition is fiercer. In Ghent, we can consider five cultural companies to be potential competition for NTGent. However, this is not a black and white situation. Most of the cultural organization are considered to be concullega s as they call them at NTGent. With most of these organizations, NTGent has relationships based on cooperation. Vooruit is a good example of this cooperation. Vooruit also offers a theatrical season, but the target segment slightly differs from that of NTGent. Vooruit mainly focuses on a young audience (students), whereas NTGent wants to reach all age categories. Next to theatre, NTGent also organizes a couple of concerts every year. In that aspect, Capitool is a potential competitor. However, the concerts planned by Capitool are slightly more commercial than those by NTGent. Other possible competitors are Bijloke, Handelsbeurs and Opera. 24 When we broaden our range of vision and look outside the city of Ghent, we can establish that the old KNS-partners are still potential competitors. NTGent, KVS (Brussels) and Toneelhuis (Antwerp) are the three big theatres in Flanders. There are a lot of points-of-parities between these theatres, but since the nineties, each theatre has undergone a significant reorientation. By following their own track determined by social, cultural and artistic developments, the three theatres all have a unique point-of-difference. They now complete each other. KVS focuses on the social function of a city theatre in a metropolis like Brussels. The intercultural debat and contacts make the KVS the intersection of different languages, cultures and histories. NTGent is the most classic model of a city theatre. The company works with a well profiled artistic leader who gathers a strong actors ensemble. The repertoire consists of the theatrical translation of a certain number of significant social subjects. Toneelhuis is the centre of the work of seven different artists. Their own self-willed search for a personal theatre is the engine of Toneelhuis KOTLER (P.) AND KELLER (K.L.). Marketing Management. De essentie. Amsterdam, Pearson Education Benelux, 2008, p THOELEN (A.). Publieksgeheimen ten tonele gevoerd. Kwantitatief onderzoek naar het publiek van Toneelhuis ter verbetering van de marketing en communicatie. University of Antwerp, Antwerp, 2009, p Internal document Communicatie strategie naar aanleiding van de artistieke wissel (overgang Johan Simons Wim Opbrouck)., p <http://depot.vti.be/dspace/bitstream/2147/393/3/isad_ntg.pdf>

20 So, indeed, NTGent has a lot of potential competitors, but theatre is not a hard core business, which leaves NTGent with a lot of good colleagues and interesting opportunities for cooperation SWOT ANALYSIS The replacement of Johan Simons by Wim Opbrouck is a big challenge. On the one hand, the communication will have to prove to be consistent and pertinent throughout these turbulent times. On the other hand this is an opportunity to reconsider a number of internal weaknesses. This way the department of communication will be ready to intercept all possible threats and make the best of all possibilities. Strengths (internal) 1. Solid reputation and clear positioning 2. Clear and self-willed style of directing 3. Tight ensemble and a lot of cooperation 4. Solid international impregnation 5. Good relations with The Netherlands 6. Strong public relations (Publiekswerking) Weaknesses (internal) 1. Often an ad-hoc approach with regard to the programming 2. Not a very dynamic and personal communication 3. New website has its teething troubles 4. Little unity when it comes to the programming of concerts 7. Strong logo Opportunities (external) 1. Introducing new artistic disciplines (poetry, dance, ) 2. A more personal corporate communication 3. Updating and renewing the client data base 4. More cooperation with museums, poetry centres, 5. Creating a new, personal and artistic style Threats (external) 1. The departure of some talented actors 2. Too many styles of directing due to the receptive repertoire 3. Losing the good contacts with the Dutch theatres 4. Losing 50% of the current client data base due to the new law with regard to privacy Taking this SWOT analysis into consideration, NTGent should invest in a new ticketing system, attract new audiences and maintain a good relationship with The Netherlands. Communication is key! Internal document Communicatie strategie naar aanleiding van de artistieke wissel (overgang Johan Simons Wim Opbrouck)., p

21 II. THEORETICAL FRAME 1. MOTIVATION I chose to dedicate my research for the theoretical frame to the theory of creating a communication strategy. It was an easy option, since one of my main assignments during my internship consisted of helping out with the creation of the communication plan for the first play of the new season in September Theory and practice go hand in hand in this case study. The first step of creating a communication plan is often ignored or skipped. Due to a restricted time schedule, people start printing flyers, sending out press releases, designing posters, without taking the time to really consider the goals, the target group and the strategy. It might seem as if a well-oiled communication department does not need to start from scratch. Indeed, they have built up a lot of experience and know very well how to go about the external communication. But every now and then, taking a step back is a good thing. Especially when there is a wind of change, as is the case at NTGent. As from September 2010 onwards, Wim Opbrouck will replace Johan Simons as the artistic leader of the theatre. Needless to say, this is a very busy time for the communication department, who has to inform press, clients and partners about the change. Next to that, a new theatrical season must be prepared, communicating about the new productions and the new agenda. One of the new productions is a remake of the classic opera Aïda* by Verdi. It is the first play directed by the new artistic leader. It should mark the beginning of a new season, characterized by continuity as well as renewal. It should capture the attention of the press and the audience, making the start of the new season a much discussed success. What an opportunity for a student Multilingual Business Communication, doing her internship at the department of communication, to plan a communication strategy for this one specific play, during a very exciting period within the company. Being able to rely on the experience of her colleagues on the one hand and being left with enough freedom to create a refreshing plan on the other. Starting from scratch and lacking experience, the creation of a communication strategy must be based on a theoretical framework. In the following chapter, I will explain how I have framed my communication strategy for this case-study Aïda*. 19

22 2. THEORIES OF COMMUNICATION To create a communication strategy is to know how communication works exactly. All references dedicated to the strategy of communication take the liberty to go back to the fundaments of the communication sciences. Doing so, two names are mentioned every single time: Harold Lasswell and Gerhard Maletzke LASSWELL The process of communication has been the subject of study for thousands of years, during which the process has come to be appreciated with increasing complexity. A series of communication models have been proposed over the years to explain the nature of communication. Classic models were created by great philosophers and strategic thinkers, such as Aristotle, Shannon and Weaver, Schramm and Berlo. It is up to the reader to examine the various models and to determine to what extent each might help explain and develop the wanted strategy of communication. 27 One of the pioneers regarding modern communication sciences is the American sociologist Harold Lasswell. Shortly after World War II, he dedicated his research to the mechanisms of mass communication and propaganda. He discovered that, by asking yourself five questions, any communication strategy could be schematized (1948): WHO says WHAT to WHOM through what CHANNEL with WHAT EFFECT? Even today, these five questions can serve as the basis for the creation of any communication strategy. With regard to the development of a communication strategy in the cultural sector, this model asks the right questions. The cultural product is a complex one. Beginning your strategy with these five questions, is a good start MALETZKE A mere 15 years later a German psychologist, Gerhard Maletzke developed a model 29 to indicate the mechanisms of the media. I will take the opportunity to try tand fit my position as an intern at NTGent, performing as a communicator, in this model. Considering the mechanism and my part in it, it will be a good start for the creation of a communication strategy. 30 A. The communicator a) Self image and personal structure 27 CROFT (R.S.). Communication theory. 2004: <http://www2.eou.edu/~rcroft/mm350/commmodels.pdf>, WEYTS (K.). Communicatieplanning van theorie naar praktijk. Cultuurnet Vlaanderen, Brussel, Lannoo, 2003, p Mick Underwood s Communication, Culture and Media Studies website : <http://www.cultsock.ndrict.co.uk/muhome/cshtml>, WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p

23 With regard to the communicator, Maletzke raises questions about the communicator s self image and personal structure (Does the communicator have enough self-confidence or is she easily influenced? Is she a people person? Is she creative?). Self-image and personality are inextricably related to the results the person will achieve as a communicator. Obviously, someone who invites to communicate, takes the lead in networking and negotiates in a firm but friendly way, will get the best results. 31 What about my self-image and personal structure? It is not easy to ascribe certain character traits to yourself. Luckily I can refer to a test the MTB students took several months ago. The test was meant to reveal your cognitive style. It seems I am a persistent realisator. I work in a structured manner and I am very ambitious and creative. Working in teams is not my strongest point because I tend to take the leadership position quite easily. Knowing this and being aware of the situation, should enable me to anticipate and take this information into account. b) Working team According to Maletzke, the communicator s working team also takes a significant part in the success of the communication strategy (The composition of the team, the sharing of the tasks, the relationship between the team members, ). A communicator should feel good within the boundaries of her team. 32 Eight people work at the department of communication of NTGent. For the communication strategy of Aïda*, I cooperated with two of them. Benny, responsible for press relations, has a lot of experience. From him I have learned a lot. Katleen, responsible for publicity, is young and dynamic. Both are friendly and gave me enough responsibilities. However the department of communication is small, the AIDA-model has shown a particular weakness with regard to the communication team. Sometimes, the team is held beck in its productivity by a lack of dynamism. It can take a long time before certain problems or issues are resolved. Even though I did not really face this threat during my internship, it is a problem that could stand in the way of a creative strategic implementation. c) Organization Another key element with regard to the communicator is the organization she works for. The organization determines the way the communication will take place and everything that is related to it (What are the main goals of the organization? What are her priorities? Is she productive or receptive? How does she want to be perceived?). 33 NTGent is an established value when it comes to theatre. Because of the shift regarding the artistic leadership, the perception about NTGent will be continued (a solid company making strong theatre) as well as renewed (leaving the severe, heavy connotation, making room for a fresh and quirky reputation). NTGent is both productive (makes several new productions each season) and receptive (invites strong ensembles to perform in the theatre). The messenger should be aware of the 31 WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p

24 corporate image and incorporate it in her strategy. Following the example of the artistic leader, the communication can also be playful and different. d) Social environment an public character Maletzke also mentions the communicator s social environment (social context, target groups, partners, ) and the pressure and constraints caused by the public character of the media content. 34 The social environment is in this case the city of Ghent, a Dutch scenery with a multicultural touch. NTGent s target group is not strictly defined, because the organization does not believe in the limitedness of a target group policy. NTGent cooperates with a large number of artistic and business partners. The public character of the communication leads to a very thought-through strategy. The model of Maletzke B. The message Before going any further applying the model of Maletzke to myself and my work, I will explain the actual output of my communication strategy. The reasons why I have chosen this option, will be made clear in the following chapters. End of August people all around Ghent will remark a strange message on the ground, applied with chalk-graffiti. The message will read Optimism is a moral duty.be*. This saying is the subtitle of the new theatre production Aïda*. When people actually visit the website they will eventually reach the production page of Aïda* at the website of NTGent. a) Product 34 Weyts (K.). Op.cit.. p

25 The content of the message is mainly determined by the product you want to communicate about. A cultural product is a complex product compared to many commercial products. For one, the product is indivisible and does not come to the client; the client comes to the product. Furthermore, pretesting is almost impossible and consumption can not be delayed. 35 In this case, the product is a play, called Aïda*. It is a performance starring well-known Dutch actors, such as Els Dottermans, Ann Miller and Wim Opbrouck. The fact that these people are participating, is not an unimportant detail. Their presence commercializes the product, which will certainly have an impact on the ticket sales. A good communication strategy will support the inherent properties of the product. For an extended presentation of the product, see 3.1. The Product. b) Message The message itself is very complicated as well. As a communicator, you take a lot of decisions regarding the composition of the message (channel, code, underlining certain words, choice of words, ). Linguists and psychologists distinguish four key features of the message: the referential aspect (the message is a direct reference to the product), the expressive aspect (the packaging of the message; lay-out, tone, ), the relational aspect (the emotional dimension of the message; do you use u or jij ) and the evoking aspect (the message should motivate people to consume the product). 36 The message of this case study is not an ordinary one. It is designed to raise questions and to create mystery. It is an example of guerilla marketing due to the very low budget. In this case, I have chosen to use chalk-graffiti to make our message (Optimism is a moral duty.be*) visible throughout the city of Ghent. Needless to say, the chosen strategy consists of an unusual message. For one, the referential aspect is missing. There is no direct reference to the theatre. Moreover, the expressive aspect is, to say the least, very unconventional and unusual. The relational aspect is non existent because the communicator will not reveal his identity. Even the evoking aspect is different. The only goal of this marketing strategy, is to create a buzz, to incite word-of-mouth action and to motivate editorial advertising. Guerilla marketing will be discussed mote thoroughly in the next chapter, 3.6. Budget. c) Receiver and target group The receiver or target group also influences the message. The language in a campaign aimed at 16- year-olds will pronbably be more animated than the language in a campaign targeting elderly. Furthermore, a communicator must ask himself: do I want to reach a large or a small group? 37 This campaign targets the Ghent audience, regardless of age or background. We want people to talk about it at school, at work, to their families. Every passerby should at least notice the campaign and should preferably discuss it with others. d) Communication channel 35 WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p

26 Last in line are the communication channels selected by the communicator. They are crucial in getting the message across to the target group. Traditionally communicators choose a mix of communication channels; advertisements in newspapers or magazines, advertisements on television, flyers, 38 Indeed, for the production of Aïda*, a mix of communication channels will be implemented, such as advertisements in newspapers, magazines, on television (local and national), on the radio, editorial attention, flyers, posters, digital newsletters and, last but not least; chalk-graffiti! C. The receiver a) Gatekeeping Consumers are overwhelmed by the overdose of advertisements. That is why they only remark, interpret and remember a very small amount of messages. It is important to make a message which people approve of or find shocking (to be remarked), recognize (to be interpreted) and find interesting or important (to be remembered). 39 The idea of writing the subtitle of the production (Aïda*- Optimism is a moral duty) on the ground, should be remarkable. People do not expect to find messages written on the ground. Furthermore, the message itself does not reveal a lot. Optimism is a moral duty seems like a philosophical saying, that might raise some questions. When people try to interpret the message, they might find it mysterious. Hopefully it will intrigue them enough so that they visit the website. b) Personality, self-image and social environment Especially when targeting a very selected audience, it is very important to know your customer. When you know who you are talking to, it is much easier to know how to address them. In this case, we want to reach as many people as possible, regardless of age and social background. c) Characteristics of the medium and noise Each medium has its possibilities and its limits. The characteristics of the medium or channel influence the way people experience the content of the message. The architect of the message should be aware of the way the medium can influence the message. Certain questions are helpful. How does the public like to be informed? Will you provide a lot of information at once or keep the message short and simple? 40 Using chalk-graffiti is a playful way to inform people about the upcoming production. First of all, people won t have to make a lot of effort to read the message. Apart from the fact that the message is in English (perhaps not self-evident for some people), the text is not long nor difficult. Once they visit the website, they can read more about the production or just the essentials. Another thing to 38 WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p

27 consider is the possibility of noise. Several problems could cause noise, such as rain (washing away the chalk too soon), an unserviceable website, 2.3. CONCLUSION Now that I have learned more about the various models of communication and how to apply them to prepare the communication strategy, I am aware of all the aspects I should take into consideration. I have noticed that every communicator has a lot of influence on the eventual message, whether it is because of his personality, his team or the organization he works for. The messenger has to keep in mind the corporate identity and image and the functionality of the team. Concerning the message, it seems that the product determines most of the content. Since a cultural product is complex, the message will most likely be complex as well. However, you can make the message as clear as you want by linking the referential, expressional and relational aspect to one another. In this case however, the mystery should do the trick. In other words, the real message will not be for grabs, but only for those visiting the website. When it comes to the receiver, the message should capture his attention, make him reflect and remember the content. When trying to reach as many people as possible, there is no use in gathering detailed information about the public. 25

28 3. CREATING A COMMUNICATION STRATEGY How can these popular theories about communication be used for the communication concerning a cultural product? I found the answer in the publication Communicatieplanning van theorie naar praktijk by Kathleen Weyts 41 and the corpulent book Standing Room Only. Strategies for Marketing the performing arts by Philip Kotler and Joanne Scheff 42. Both references selected a few steps towards the finalization of a well thought through communication strategy. In this chapter, I will reflect on every step and consider the possibilities of the operation, while respecting the specific context of the NTGent organization. The creation of a communication strategy requires some reflection on the product. The cultural product has a complex nature. The communicator should be aware of these characteristics. Of course a presentation of the actual product, the production Aïda*, could not be left out. The next step is the definition of the mission. How should a communicator formulate his mission? What does he want to achieve? While contemplating about this, it has become clear that culture and marketing have not always been a perfect match. Thirdly, it is important to think about the target group. Even though it is preferable, NTGent does not wish to segment the audience at the risk of losing a lot of potential prospects. Which does not mean the company abandons every target group strategy. Furthermore, the importance of knowing your audience is made clear. Formulating the message is the next step towards an integrated communication strategy. What is the message required to say? Should it be informative, persuasive, educational or all of the above? The characteristics of a good message are put to the table and reflected on the communication strategy for Aïda*. The actual organization of a communication strategy implies a lot of coordination and a well thought-out plan. This is no longer a matter of theory. On the contrary, this part of the communication strategy is very practical. Of course budget determines a great deal of the communication strategy. Having very little financial resources forces the communicator to be creative. Guerilla marketing embodies this vision. Implementation and evaluation are steps that cannot be considered at this stage, since they have not taken place yet. 41 WEYTS (K.). Communicatieplanning van theorie naar praktijk. Cultuurnet Vlaanderen, Brussel, Lannoo, 2003, 72 p. 42 KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Standing Room Only. Strategies for Marketing the Performing Arts. Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 1997, 560 p. 26

29 3.1. THE PRODUCT A. A complex nature a) Characteristics Already mentioned earlier, a cultural product has a specific nature. It is a complex product compared to many commercial products. Cultural products, like theatrical performances, share the following characteristics; The product is inflexible and indivisible The product will not come to the consumer, but needs to be picked up by the consumer Pretesting is hardly possible The consumption of a bought product cannot be postponed Art leads to a significant diversity in the appreciation of the consumer 43 The product is an experience The marketer should be well aware of these characteristics since the offering is the single most important element of the organization s marketing mix. After all, even the most creative and dramatic advertising cannot sell a fundamentally weak offering to an audience. b) The importance of an experience Another interesting aspect of the product is the reason why people go to the theatre. According to a survey conducted by Dominique Bourgeon in France, people expect the theatre-going experience to be a source of emotional satisfaction. That experience should appeal to the imagination and to emotions. 44 This is exactly what Wim Opbrouck, artistic leader and director of the product, aims at with his first production of the new season; Aïda*. Aïda* will be a real experience for the public, since some of the songs will turn out to be sing-along-songs. The audience will have to engage to the production, turning an initially passive experience into an active one. c) The model of Grönroos The consumption of culture is not limited to the core product (the artistic creation, the play), but contains what the Swedish professor of marketing Grönroos calls, the fully observed art product. The centre of the model is the core product, which is the sum of the artistic creation and the general and technical supporting characteristics of the product (the stage, the lighting, ). It is the actual creation, the reason why one is entering the market. In Aïda* s case, the core product is the play itself and its logistic implications. This level is a given the communicator can not manipulate. The next level is the extended product. It is the core product plus the marketing variables, otherwise known as the 4 P s; product (core product), price, place and promotion. Promotion is the first 43 WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Op.cit.. p

30 element that can be influenced by the communicator. The promotion for Aïda* includes a mix of communication channels (traditional, such as website pages and production brochures and unconventional, such as the chalk graffiti). The third level consists of the extended product plus the contextual elements, forming the extended product in the large sense. Contextual elements can be press reviews, the opinion of friends, the total cultural offer in the city, Again, this is not entirely in the hands of the communicator, however a good marketer will try to influence the press reviews. The totally observed product is the last level, which is the sum of the extended product in the large sense and the consequences related to the product. Those consequences are determined by the consumer and are all the reasons why the consumer chooses for either buying or not buying the product. These reasons are various and very personal; limited opening hours, not finding a babysit. This model helps the communicator to determine how he will be able to influence the perception of the audience. It also shows the importance of all elements around the core product. These elements can strengthen or weaken the product. 45 A good production, like Aïda* relies strongly on its logistic organization and the press reviews. B. A theatre production by Christoph Homberger a) The story Egypt, November World leaders, representatives of big business, industrialists and countless prominent foreign visitors were gathered in Port Said for the festive opening of the Suez Canal. By linking the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, the canal opened up the route to the East. Suez offered an unprecedented stimulus to world trade. The construction of the canal brought together a number of Western achievements that were decisive for the whole of the nineteenth century and which were part of the basis for the present model of Western civilisation: industrialisation, imperialism, liberalism and capitalism. No one was better able to combine the finesses of these attainments so unerringly as the French diplomat and entrepreneur Ferdinand De Lesseps. For the construction of the Suez Canal he brought about a gigantic flow of cash by means of a massive campaign of share sales. More than 25,000 private individuals invested their money in the Compagnie Universelle de Canal Maritime de Suez, which was set up specifically for this purpose. De Lesseps proudly proclaimed that investors from every level of French society had put their money into this project: craftsmen, farmers, soldiers and civil servants, and also lawyers, doctors, industrialists, entrepreneurs and clerics. The building of the Suez Canal was a success story in terms of investment. Or, how the efforts of small investors can contribute to a globalised Western dream. After the completion of the canal, De Lesseps summoned the citizens of the West to use this gateway to the East to try their luck elsewhere, since an undeveloped world now lay at their feet. What had been a bid for financial good fortune for investors and shareholders 45 WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p and KOTLER (P.) AND KELLER (K.L.). Marketing Management. De essentie. Amsterdam, Pearson Education Benelux, 2008, p

31 was packaged by the political policy-makers and the directors of the Compagnie Universelle in overblown talk of a new world order. East and West would, in this vision, stretch out their hands to each other through the medium of trade. La fraternité was an essential precondition for la commerce. Since the canal was on Egyptian territory, that country assumed landmark status in this global dream. The realisation of the Suez Canal had an almost mythical, Old Testament air that reflected on the whole country: the achievements of the industrial revolution brought water to the desert; man had surpassed himself by separating two continents. Egypt an outpost of the West experienced a true renaissance; the canal, it was said, was a match for the monumental constructions of Egyptian antiquity. It was the monumentality of ancient Egypt that inspired the French sculptor Frédéric- Auguste Bartholdi in his design for a lighthouse that would mark this gateway to the East: an Egyptian farming woman in a long robe, holding a torch in her raised hand and adorned with a crown that radiates light. L Egypte apportant la lumière à l Asie (Egypt brings light to Asia) was the intended name of the towering monument. It was to be the crowning glory of the status and allure of Egypt as the Dubai of the nineteenth century. The work was never constructed (at least not on this site; several years later a non-african version of Bartholdi s design was made, as a gift from France to the United States, and is the present Statue of Liberty). The Egyptian king was struggling with financial limitations and opted to have a brand-new opera house built instead. Western theatre specialists and developers saw to it that an opera house was built in Cairo in barely six months. Verdi, who had turned down a request to compose an ode for the opening of the canal, accepted the commission to write an opera for this new musical theatre. Two years after Cairo s opera house opened with a performance of Verdi s Rigoletto, the composer had finished his new work. It went down in history as one of the best-known and popular operas in the whole repertoire: Aida. Aida tells the story of the love between the Ethiopian slave Aida and the Egyptian general Radames a love that was impossible because the two countries were at war, which ultimately led to the death of the two lovers. The glorification of Egypt s role on the modern world stage, as outlined above, is echoed literally in the triumphant bombast of what were called the Aida trumpets, which in the opera are sounded when Egypt has won the war against Ethiopia. Yet Aida can hardly be called an ode to Egypt. Whereas the Suez Canal was associated with the brotherhood of all peoples, at the ending of Aida an ominous note was sounded against so much multicultural triumphalism. The Ethiopian Aida and the Egyptian Radames are walled-up alive and sing their farewells to each other as the music lugubriously fades away. Reality outdoes fiction After De Lesseps had completed the canal and enjoyed years of triumphal praise as France s new national hero, he agreed to a request to carry out a comparable project between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans: the Panama Canal. Virtually everything that had worked out so well in the realisation of the Suez Canal failed in Panama. After years of cover-ups, reports started to circulate of subsidence, epidemics, technical failures and, above all, disastrous financial mismanagement. Whereas Suez was synonymous with industrial, diplomatic and capitalist triumph, Panama stood for the dark, fraudulent reverse side, which among other things resulted in the arrest of De Lesseps, France s national hero. Panama, der grössten verunglückten Finanzoperation der Welt is how the writer Stefan Zweig described the project. Zweig was inspired by the Panama 29

32 scandal to conceive an idea for a film. It never got much further than a plot summary, but the author had big ambitions. Zweig claimed that the topic of such a global financial debacle as that of Panama would lead to a completely new narrative form in the development of film. It remains to be seen whether a similar ambition can be fulfilled in the theatre in these times of financial crisis. Nevertheless, the Swiss singer and director Christoph Homberger hopes to draw inspiration from the writings of Ferdinand De Lesseps, the notes of Stefan Zweig and above all the music from Verdi s Aida, for the first new production at the new NTGent. Homberger is a long-term member of Christoph Marthaler s artistic team and has worked as musical director on such NTGent productions as The Asylum-Seeker and Merlin (both directed by Johan Simons). Homberger understands better than anyone the art of re-sampling orchestral scores to form choral part-song with alternating passages of wonder and exaltation. In Homberger s hand, songs assume the epic quality of a narration. This, in short, is pure musical theatre. So, is Aida a celebration of capitalism? The swansong of a liberal dream of globalisation? Or just an attempt, in uncertain times, to pluck up some courage by singing? 46 b) The concept Aïda* will not be presented as a standard musical, nor as a standard play. c) The team Directors Actors Music Production Manager Premiere Christoph Homberger and Wim Opbrouck Els Dottermans, Servé Hermans, An Miller, Wim Opbrouck, Louis van Beek, Steven Van Watermeulen, Lien Wildemeersch Jan Czajkowski Marieke Cardinaels September 19t h 2010, Ghent 46 Internal document Zwanezang Aïda* F:\0. producties & projecten\aïda\aanmaak\1. productieleiding\documentatie. 30

33 3.2. DEFINING THE MISSION Before planning a trip to the graphic studio to chose the lay-out of all folders and brochures, a communicator should reflect on the mission of the communication. What are the goals, what do you want to achieve? Why are you planning on communicating? 47 A. A SMART idea Targeting your goals is step one. Doing so, you have to make sure the goals are described in a very clear way. Any goal should be SMART: Specific; easy to explain Measurable Ready to take Action; connected to specific actions Realistic; achievable Timing; defining a starting- and ending point 48 When linking this model to the strategy for Aïda*, it becomes pretty clear that this model looks smart in theory, but is in fact not that easy to apply. In the case of Aïda*, the main goal is to inform as many people as possible, about the upcoming production (S). The goal however, is not measurable (M). There is no way to determine how many people will actually see and understand the message. The action on the other hand, is very well determined (A); the message will be painted with chalk on the ground. It is a very realistic (R) plan, due to the well organized plan. The action will take place starting mid august and ending mid September (T). For a complete design of the plan, see 4.5 Planning and organization. B. The marketing mind-set For many years, the cultural sector has been reluctant to use marketing strategies to promote its products. Many attacked marketing as a totally inappropriate tool to use in conjunction with the arts. They saw marketing as something only organizations such as Procter & Gamble or Pepsi would use. 49 Of course this opinion does not get you very far. Over the years, cultural ambassadors have gained a clear appreciation for what marketing comprises and what it can do for the organization. Marketing, as it relates to the arts, is not necessarily about abandoning an artistic vision. It is a sound, effective strategy for gaining clients. The marketing mind-set has found its way into the cultural sector WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Op.cit.. p KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Op.cit.. p

34 3.3. DEFINING THE TARGET GROUP Now we know what we want to achieve with communication, we have to determine who we want to reach. The policy plan of NTGent states it very clearly: NTGent does not want to exclude people from the theatre-experience. 51 A. No segmentation This decision implicates that the company does not aim its communication at one particular target group. However, this does not mean that the department of communication spreads its message randomly. On the contrary, every advertisement or article appears in a very carefully selected medium. A good example is the presentation of the new theatrical season in the magazine of Amarant. Amarant is a partner of NTGent offering cultural and artistic courses to those who want to learn about history and art. The target group of Amarant has an interesting profile for NTGent. The people interested in the courses of Amarant will most likely be interested in theatre. So NTGent selects its channels of communication in reference to a target audience, but this does not mean to exclude others. In the case of the strategy for Aïda*, we have chosen to go very broad. Aïda* will be a play enjoyable for everyone; young or old, fan of the opera or the theatre, people who come for the names of the actors (Wim Opbrouck, Ann Miller, ), people who enjoy classic theatre as well as fresh theatre, Writing a commercial message on the ground using chalk-graffiti does not leave the criteria of segmentation out of account. The message is readable to any passer-by, regardless social or demographical characteristics, consumer profile, use of media, motivation, personal or psychological factors, 52 B. Knowing your audience Whether you wish to segment or not, knowing your audience is the key. Knowing you audience will enable you to think it over and to anticipate to the needs of your public. It is necessary to gather all the information you already have and, most importantly, to point out the gaps in your knowledge. 53 Cultural organizations tend to found their actions on intuitive knowledge of their audience. Larger organizations usually have a client data base, but this is certainly not a rule in this sector. Furthermore, the registered information differs a great deal. Most ideally the data base is based on the ticket sale and contains the address, , age and client history. 54 NTGent has this information about its visitors and this is based on the ticket sale. But the system has shown some defaults and cannot extract detailed information. As mentioned above, the company is looking to implement a new system. Supporting the client data base, a good public research reveals a lot. Unfortunately, such public researches are only sporadically organized. In most cases they are consigned to students performing a graduation project about the company. A lack of financial means, staff and time are the most important reasons why so little organizations invest in a public research. 55 Again, NTGent (and more 51 Internal Document NTGent Policy Plan, NTGent. Midden in de wereld, 2004, p KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Op.cit.. p and WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p

35 specifically the department of communication) has appreciated the importance of knowing the public and is willing to start such a research. But financial resources have to be available FORMULATING THE MESSAGE How do you formulate the message? It is a matter of translating your mission towards a selected target group in order to inform, persuade and educate the latter. When designing a communication campaign, however, it is also important to distinguish the making of the message (what do you need to say about the product) from the creating of the creative (an original) strategy (how will the creative way of communicating support the message). 56 A. Informing, persuading and educating According to Kotler and Scheff, communication is a matter of informing, persuading and educating target audiences about the alternatives for action, the positive consequences of choosing a particular course of action, and the motivations for acting in this particular way. 57 What do they mean by that? To decide whether to attend, the audience needs all basic information about the event; what will be performed, who will perform, where, when, cost of ticket, Information is a necessary ingredient of most communication efforts. 58 These are evident elements that cannot be lacking in the message. In most cases, prospective clients need additional incentives to encourage them in attending. Persuasion is central to marketing communication and can be expressed through sales promotion techniques, public relations, personal selling and any advertisement that goes beyond basic information. 59 This element of the marketing mix is a necessity the communication department of NTGent understands very well. All strategies listed above, are already incorporated in their communication strategy; from discounts for certain age groups to competitions winning free cards. Also the department of public relations knows how to motivate and persuade people to come through various workshops and additional activities in the theatre. Last but not least every staff member of NTGent is an ambassador of his city theatre and is in a good position to do some personal selling. It however doesn t stop there. Nonattenders who are immune to persuasive efforts must be educated firs to appreciate the offering. Otherwise, they will never find the way to the theatre. But education is a difficult task, according to Kotler an Scheff. It requires a great deal of information, time, effort and an enthusiastic staff. 60 Again, at NTGent they have made the effort to learn people how to appreciate performing arts. The department of public relations organizes courses, workshops, introduction, discussions, tours, in order to educate children as well as older people. 56 KOTLER (P.) AND KELLER (K.L.). Marketing Management. De essentie. Amsterdam, Pearson Education Benelux, 2008, p KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Op.cit.. p KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Op.cit.. p KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Op.cit.. p KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Op.cit.. p

36 B. Making the message and creative strategy Next to the informative step (making the message), there are various other characteristics a good message should contain. The message needs to be 61 : Coherent: the communication about the core product has to be in line with the corporate image and the way the company wishes to communicate about itself. With the new artistic leader, Wim Opbrouck, one may remark a newly developing corporate image; a bit more playful and fun. Different: to be noticed, your message should stand out. This is possible through various strategies; color printing, lay-out, choice of music or voice in the radio advertisement, a catchy slogan, the place where the information is visible. To say the least, writing the message with chalk graffiti on the ground is unusual and different. Moreover, the subtitle that will be written on the ground Optimism is a moral duty is catchy and mysterious. By going to the web address people will find all the information about the production. Credibility: the information given about the product should be correct and not misleading. Recognizable: the message should bear the stamp of the organization. This can be done through lay-out and choice of words. Comprehensible: not everyone is a theatre fanatic. Make sure the message is clear to every potential visitor. Visibility: make sure the message is visible to everyone. Ideally chalk graffiti can be read at a single glance. That is why the message can t be too long and is visible from an average height of 1 meter 60 centimeters. Adaptability: a good message is flexible and can be used in various channels of communication. The slogan Optimism is a moral duty can be written on the ground, as well as used in a radio advertisement. C. AIDA for Aïda* The AIDA-principle has never been more appropriate than for the communication strategy of Aïda*. The AIDA-principle is a popular model used in marketing and advertisement. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. Gaining the attention of potential customers makes it possible to get this person s interest for the offer. The offer should be very attractive so this person will feel the desire to buy the product WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p. 48 and KOTLER (P.) AND KELLER (K.L.). Marketing Management. De essentie. Amsterdam, Pearson Education Benelux, 2008, 503 p. 34

37 3.5. PLANNING AND ORGANIZATION A good plan is essential to a communication strategy? Following questions are key; When will they plan which action? How will the message reach the public? Will you spread the communication over a long period of time or keep it very short? When should everything be ready? The crucial question, however, is; how long does it take for the message to be put out and received by the audience? Therefore a planning should be made retroactively; starting at the moment the message should reach the audience and going back in time. 63 The complete planning for the communication strategy of Aïda* has been made and serves as an internal document on the server until further use BUDGET The implementation of a good communication strategy is expensive. Not all sectors or all companies are prepared to invest in communication. What are the most common used methods to determine the communication budget? Which one does NTGent apply to? What are the benefits? I will also consider the possibilities of guerilla marketing. Finally, some tips are formulated on how to manage the budget. A. Four methods to determine the budget Generally, marketing specialists recognize four methods, based on which companies determine the budget. Which of them does NTGent follow? First of all, there is the what-the-company-can-miss-method. In this case the management decides on the budget, neglecting the role of communication as an investment. There is not an annual budget, which leads to an uncertain operation. Long-term planning is very difficult. It is far from the ideal way to determine the budget. Many companies set aside a certain percentage of the current or expected turnover for communication. Supporters state that this method allows the budget of communication to be linked to the sales numbers throughout the entire business cycle. This is a very safe method. Opponents argue that the turnover is too often considered to be the cause of the communication budget instead of the effect. Generally, marketing specialists agree that resting the budget on the turnover is not a logical way to determine the budget. The third method is the parity-method. This means a sort of competition oriented way to decide on the budget. In this case companies choose the amount of money they will put aside for communication, so they will have the exact share-of-voice like the competition. Supporters say that this method prevents advertisement wars, since the budget is more or less the same as the budget of the competition. Again, this is not the best method. Every company has its own reputation, resources, opportunities and goals. Comparison through the communication budget, is not a good idea. 63 WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p

38 The last method takes the tasks and goals of the communication department into consideration. Marketers determine their budget by setting specific goals, including the tasks that will have to be executed to realize these goals. It is an estimation of the implementation cost. The sum of all the costs determines the budget. The advantage of this method is that the management has to have a detailed view on the upcoming investment. 64 At NTGent, the latter mentioned method is followed. Every year the department of communication sets its goals and makes an estimation on how much the implementation of the strategy will cost. Afterwards, the management approves or disapproves. Since this company has had some financial challenges these last years, every department has to cut back on their budget. That is why the management usually assigns a budget which is a bit lower than the department asked for. B. Guerrilla marketing Faced with a very limited budget, people should be creative with their money. I cannot give specific numbers regarding the yearly budget of the department of communication, since this information is confidential. However, it is safe to state that the budget is very small. Katleen, one of the staff members of the department of communication is responsible for the promotional communication. She has a budget to spend on the communication mix, consisting of advertisement, flyers, banners, posters, Again, the arrival of the new artistic leader Wim Opbrouck, came across these consequences with regard to the Katleen s budget. The change of the artistic leader has been accompanied by a change of graphic style and logo s. Many aspects of the communication mix had to be remade (flags and other promotional material), which was an expensive consequence. Furthermore, a great deal of the budget has been assigned in advance due to various media contracts with sponsors. That leaves Katleen with little space for something extra or something new. Eventually she attributed a budget of 1000 euro to me to spend on a new and creative element of the communication mix euro is not a lot. This amount excludes most communication channels. That is why I turned to guerilla marketing. What is guerrilla marketing? The first author describing the tactic guerrilla marketing, was Jay Conrad Levinson. He published a book in 1984 titled Guerrilla marketing. Levinson defined guerrilla marketing as unconventional marketing tools used in cases when financial or other resources are limited or non-existent. Indeed, guerrillamarketeers create a strategy to get the attention of the public, without investing a lot of money. 65 The lack of financial resources obligates the marketer or communicator to create an alternative and unconventional strategy. Traditional advertisement just was not an option. In my case, I have spent the 1000 euro on a guerilla tactic using chalk graffiti to write the message of the communication plan for Aïda* on the ground. 64 KOTLER (P.) AND KELLER (K.L.). Marketing Management. De essentie. Amsterdam, Pearson Education Benelux, 2008, p <http://www.gmarketing.com/articles/read/177/what_is_guerrilla_marketing?.html>,

39 C. Three tips to manage the budget Weyts has formulated three tips on how to manage your budget in a cultural context. Since the implementation of a communication plan is expensive, marketers should keep these tips in mind: a) a realistic estimation Take all costs into consideration and make a realistic estimation on how much the communication strategy will cost. Do not leave any cost aside; placing an advertisement means the cost of creating the ad, the cost to place or print the ad and the distribution cost. In case of the chalk-graffiti, you have to be aware of the costs with regard to the stencil, the sprayers and the people who will place the message. b) a pro-active management Establish the large costs at the beginning of the cultural season. The remaining sum is the budget you can work with that year. Make sure you take the time to verify every three months if you have not exceeded the budget. c) be creative and cost-efficient Ask yourself the question whether the goal justifies the cost. Is there something you can cut down on (on the long or short term)? A yearly tidy up of the address list can generate a significant saving IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION August-September WEYTS (K.). Op.cit.. p

40 III. CONTENT OF THE INTERNSHIP 1. CREATING A COMMUNICATION STRATEGY See above; case study Aïda* treated in the theoretical frame about the communication strategy. 2. CREATING A PRESS KIT 2.1. CONTEXT On the very first day of my internship, I was asked to write a press kit in French. Content wise, the press kit had to deal with the transfer of the play by Frank Focketyn, called Brief aan mijn rechter, from NTGent to the theatre of Liège (Théâtre de la place). After several months of performance in Ghent, M. Focketyn would perform the same play in French in Liège. The play Brief aan mijn rechter is based on the novel by Georges Simenon, Lettre à mon juge. Georges Simenon was one of Belgium s greatest writers and was born in Liège on the twelfth of February As a tribute to the novelist, Mr. Focketyn would perform seven times during the month of October in the writer s city of birth. To mark this event, a press conference would be launched. Supporting the conference, a press kit would be distributed to the journalists. It was my job to create this press kit WHAT IS A PRESS KIT? For the making of this press kit, I had to do some research. What is a press kit? What is its purpose and what should this message contain? A press kit is just one of the elements of a well prepared press conference. After inviting and welcoming the journalist, the principal message is made public. To support this message, a press kit provides the journalists with all the information they need in order to report about the event through their communication channels (i.e. television, radio, newspaper, website, ). The content of the press kit should be well thought-ou. Journalists are usually very busy people who are left with little spare time to do some extra research. A press kit makes their job a little easier. For the messenger, this is a great opportunity to communicate about the event. The way he communicates about the event (which words he uses, where he puts the emphasis, ) will most likely be picked up by the journalists who will report in the same way. That is why a press kit, much like a press release, has a style and form of its own. The goal of a press kit is not to sell or entertain, but to inform. It should be concise, to the point and free of background filler. Always avoid 38

41 hyperbole, but take advantage of favourable reviews or notices from leading critics. After all, an endorsement from a reputable third party always lends credibility. 67 The following elements are found in most press kits: 1. a table of content if the press kit is voluminous 2. an abstract with the names and contact details of the contact persons 3. an article about the event containing all the information (who, what, where, why, how?) 4. a very short presentation of the event 68 Fortunately, I had an example to rely on. For the play La Grande Bouffe, a press kit was made in the fall of The elements present in this press kit are the following: 1. Table of content 2. List of contributors 3. Cast 4. Synopsis 5. Director; Johan Simons 6. Author; Marco Ferreri 7. Image concept; Anna Tilroe 8. Biography and actors 9. Play list 10. Press information Following this example, I searched through the data base of NTGent, finding relevant information about the play. Most information was available in Dutch, some in French. I translated the most interesting parts and created a new press kit. The complete press kit can be found in the annex. As you can see, the press kit for Lettre à mon juge, contains eight concise chapters and is quite similar to the press kit for La Grande Bouffe EVALUATION While creating and editing this press kit, I have obtained the following skills/knowledge: - What is a press kit? - What is the purpose of a press kit? - Which elements should a press kit obtain? - Communicating in French. The press kit can be found at the back (annex). 67 KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Standing Room Only. Strategies for Marketing the Performing Arts. Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 1997, p <http://www.bondbeterleefmilieu.be/downloads_ftp/ledenpagina/bewegingswerk/communicatie/061208_t ips_voor_een_professionele_persconferentie.pdf>,

42 3. COMPOSING A COMPANY BROCHURE 3.1. CONTEXT Following the example of many great companies, NTGent wants to create a clear profile as to what the theatre stands for. A profile is determined by a good reputation. This is an element the company has to build up by offering a good product or service to its clients. However, the department of communication can support the reputation. A good communication about who you are as a company, what your mission and vision is and what you have to offer, will confirm the reputation and inform all partners and clients the way you want them to be informed. In other words, communication is a powerful tool when creating a profile WHAT IS A COMPANY BROCHURE? One of those specific tools is a company brochure. NTGent did not have such a brochure yet. This was the first in what will be an annual edition. I was pleasantly surprised when Matthias Dusesoi, head of the communication department, assigned me with the task of creating the first company brochure. Since I had no immediate example to follow, I had to do some research on what a company brochure implies. There are three types of company brochures. A product brochures informs the client about the assortment of products the company has to offer. An introduction brochure is intended for new employees. The brochure welcomes them and informs them about the practical issues of the company. In this case, I had to create a profile brochure. The main goal of this type of brochure is to generate interest about the product of your company. The company brochure is much like a business card. Very often it is the first contact between you and your prospect. So it is very important to make a good first impression. Mind the following pitfalls: - Do not create a fairytale. The reader easily notices what is true and what is not. Be honest. Generate trust from clear texts. - Do not exaggerate with the I or we. Constantly talking about yourself and the things your company has established is annoying for the reader. Replace the I s and we s by what your company can do for your client. Not: Look how good we are doing, but What is in it for you? - Talking in the third person is also a good alternative. It implies the brochure was written by an outsider and is therefore more objective. - Images, slogans, subtitles, separate texts, A good company brochure is a puzzle. Every piece makes sense and fits. Long pieces of text are quite boring. Reward the reader with a clear language, short sentences and to the point information <

43 I was given the company brochure of Hogeschool Gent as an example. I compared the content of this brochure to the activities of NTGent. That is how I came up with the content of our company brochure. I decided this brochure should contain the following elements: - A short definition about the company - The slogan - The results of 2009 (core business) - The mission - The financial results - Employees, board of directors, ensemble, partners - Colofon - Contact 3.3. EVALUATION This task was probably the most challenging and rewarding of all. As an intern, you do not have that much knowledge about the company. Other employees, who have worked there for years, know the company by heart. Surprisingly to me, this was an advantage rather than a disadvantage. First of all the lack of knowledge required me to read, to investigate, to comb the server, to interview employees, I had to make contacts and manage a very independent investigation. Talking to people from all departments has taught me a lot about the way NTGent functions on the one hand and how to make contact with people on the other. It has made me overcome a bit of my shyness. It has taught me to be hands-on, taking matters into my own hands. It gave me a sense of responsibility. The result was the content of a company brochure, ready to go to the graphic designer. 4. OTHER While the tasks described above took up most of my time, I also performed a number of additional, small tasks DATA INPUT FOR THE NEW WEBSITE AND CREATING DIGITAL NEWSLETTERS A new artistic leader and a new corporate image call for a brand new website. During my internship, the new website was launched. At the department of communication, one person, working part time, is responsible for the content of the website. Needless to say, these were busy times for this person. During my internship, I helped with the data input and editing the small texts to introduce the several products. I learned a lot on how to manage a web page. It was a challenge to find the happy medium between a commercial and informative style of writing TAKING THE MINUTES Every Tuesday, the communication department has a team meeting. The head of the department is the chair man. Every team member has the opportunity to inform the others on what he or she has been working on. Problems are being discussed and plans are being made. In order to make sure everyone is informed about the decisions made, one person has to take the minutes. This way everybody can verify the content of the last meeting. I was in charge of the minute taking. It was a 41

44 good exercise for me. It allowed me to get acquainted with the communication department and its operation. Before sending the text to the whole group, the head of the department did a final check to make sure there were no mistakes SCANNING THE DAILY PRESS To keep abreast of the news concerning the cultural sector and NTGent, the department of communication scans the daily press in search of interesting news facts. During my internship, I was given this responsibility. I read international newspapers and magazines to find all the facts and dates about new theatre productions, cultural policy or local events that could have an influence on NTGent. With this information, I sent an to the whole staff with as subject Een greep uit de pers. This way, everybody was informed on a daily basis. For me personally, this was a good way to broaden my knowledge about the cultural sector GOING TO THE THEATRE Many aspects of my internship were enjoyable. Going to the theatre was one of them. It stands to reason that an employee working for a theatre, communicating about the product, knows what the company offers. Employees of NTGent get one free ticket for receptive plays (guest plays of other producing companies performing at NTGent) and two free tickets for own productions. During my internship I attended 5 performances; the official presentation of the new season, In de strafkolonie/het Hol, Kasimir en Karoline, Gif and the presentation dedicated to the work of Johan Simons during his career as artistic leader at NTGent. Of the real productions, Gif was most definitely my favorite. A moving story about grief and how to deal with it. Six years after their divorce, a man and a woman meet each other again for the first time, at the place where their only child is buried. He lives in France and has built up a new life there, while she has remained in their house and cannot endure the thought of a new life. The reason they meet is a letter announcing that their child is going to be reburied because poison has been found in the soil Gif is a play by Lot Vekemans. Next to that, I enjoyed attending the official presentation of the new season and the presentation dedicated to Johan Simons. The former was an evening focused on the future. The new vision and more playful way of working became quite clear. It was a jazzy evening, starting with a poetic prologue of the new artistic leader and followed by a tour through the theatre, where, in several beautiful rooms, the actors shared a piece of their upcoming play. The latter was a retrospect. Johan Simons was honored by his ensemble in various sketches. It was an evening of laughter and emotion. 42

45 IV. FINAL CONCLUSION My internship at NTGent was a very interesting period, during which I have gained a lot of new skills, both professionally and in human terms. Professionally I have learned how to - write a company brochure; - interpret facts and figures; - communicate in a commercial, yet informative way through the digital newsletters; - manage a website; - create a communication strategy, keeping the budget in mind; - take the minutes during a team meeting; - screen the digital and written press for internal purposes; - deal with the productive and corporate communication and - distribute promotional material These tasks showed me that I m able to work independently, as well as in a team. I have taken orders, but wasn t afraid to bring my own input to the table. Sometimes my ideas were fresh and good, while in other cases the experience of my colleagues was very helpful and necessary. As the days became weeks and some tasks were finalized, I noticed my confidence grew. I have really enjoyed creating the communication strategy and making the company brochure. Both tasks required a lot of contact with colleagues and even outsiders. On the other hand, I processed a lot of the gained information on my own. It was a good balance. Although I value the skills I have gained professionally, I am even more enthusiastic about the progress I made personally. I have learned a lot about myself and how I would function in a company and its teams. I noticed I can be quite shy at first and realized there is little reason to be. I had a good relationship with all my colleagues, who made my stay very pleasant. Sometimes I was too reserved when I had to ask a favor or information from important people of the company, such as the general director or leaders of other departments. I had the feeling I disturbed those people. Of course, that was not the case. They were always happy to help me and to make some time for my questions. I have learned to have a little bit more courage. The courses I attended during the course of MTB have proven to be very helpful during my internship. Especially the course Marktonderzoek, by Prof. Patrick Van Kenhove, was useful. It had been a very long time since I had interpreted financial facts and figures. The Nielsen-task was a good preparation to be able to interpret the financial status of NTGent for the company brochure. Although I didn t use other languages that much, the courses French and English did give me more confidence to write a press kit and to write this thesis. I do wish the program of MTB would focus a little bit more on cultural communication. A company visit to a house of culture would have been nice. 43

46 V. BIBLIOGRAPHY Sources directly related to NTGent Website of NTGent Magazine of NTGent NTGNT, appears 6 times a year (February, April, May, August, October, December) Year 8 Internal document Policy Plan of NTGent NTGent. Midden in de wereld, 2004, 18 p. Internal document Communicatie strategie naar aanleiding van de artistieke wissel (overgang Johan Simons Wim Opbrouck)., 20 p. Internal document Algemene bedrijfspresentatie Server F:\1. communicatie\1.1 algemeen\1.1.1 allerlei\bedrijfsbezoeken Internal document Zwanezang Aïda* Server F:\0. producties & projecten\aïda\aanmaak\1. productieleiding\documentatie History Website of NTGent Website dedicated to the history of Antwerp: Inventory of the archives of KNS - Archives and documentation of the Flemish Theatre Institute - THOELEN (A.). Publieksgeheimen ten tonele gevoerd. Kwantitatief onderzoek naar het publiek van Toneelhuis ter verbetering van de marketing en communicatie. University of Antwerp, Antwerp, 2009, 111 p. Theoretical frame CROFT (R.S.). Communication theory KOTLER (P.) AND KELLER (K.L.). Marketing Management. De essentie. Amsterdam, Pearson Education Benelux, 2008, 503 p. LEVINSON (J.C.) AND GODIN (S.). The guerilla marketing handbook. s.l., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994, 379 p. 44

47 LEVINSON (J.C.), LEVINSON (J.) AND LEVINSON (A.). Guerilla marketing: easy and inexpensive strategies for making big profits from your small business. S.l., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007, 368 p. RANSHUYSEN (L.). Handleiding publieksonderzoek voor podia en musea. Amsterdam, Boekmanstudies, 1999, 259 p. WEYNS (R.). Communiceren met pers en media. Cultuurnet Vlaanderen, Brussel, Lannoo, 2003, 80 p. WEYTS (K.). Communicatieplanning van theorie naar praktijk. Cultuurnet Vlaanderen, Brussel, Lannoo, 2003, 72 p. Mick Underwood s Communication, Culture and Media Studies website The official site of guerrilla marketing Content of the internship KOTLER (P.) AND SCHEFF (J.). Standing Room Only. Strategies for Marketing the Performing Arts. Boston, Harvard Business School Press, 1997, 560 p. How to create a press kit 1208_tips_voor_een_professionele_persconferentie.pdf How to create a company brochure 45

48 VI. ANNEX 1. CONTENT 1. Content... I 2. Abstract of the content of my internship... II 3. Press kit Lettre à mon juge... V 4. Company brochure... XIV I

49 2. ABSTRACT OF THE CONTENT OF MY INTERNSHIP Datum Uren Taken 26/apr 9u30-17u15 verwelkoming Niek Verlinden (Personeelszaken) rondleiding en bespreking stage-inhoud met Benny D'haeseleer (Pers) persmap Lettre à mon juge voor Liège 27/apr 9u-17u15 verder werken Lettre à mon juge vergadering dienst communicatie bezoek aan het Minnemeers met Benny briefing bedrijfspublicatie met Benny 28/apr 9u- 17u cijfers interpreteren jaarverlagen voor de bedrijfspublicatie 29/apr 8u45-17u verder werken bedrijfspublicatie Een greep uit de pers Onderzoek cultuurparticipatie 30/apr 8u45-17u verder werken bedrijfspublicatie start theoretisch kader Aïda 1/mei weekend 2/mei weekend 3/mei 8u45-17u30 verder werken bedrijfspublicatie verder werken Aïda; inlezen + enquêtes opzoeken samenstelling contactlijst receptief /mei 8u45-17u30 verder werken bedrijfspublicatie notuleren vergadering dienst communicatie samenstellen overzicht reeds gevoerde onderzoeken naar publiek NTGent verder werken Aïda; inlezen + plan uitwerken 5/mei 8u45-17u verder werken Aïda; inlezen + brainstormen guerilla personeelsvergadering 6/mei thuis studeren ex com 7/mei thuis studeren ex com 8/mei weekend examen communicatie 9/mei weekend 10/mei 8u45-17u30 notuleren vergadering dienst communicatie vergadering met Dirk (publiekswerking) over bedrijfspublicatie meehelpen Nele invoer inhoud nieuwe website 11/mei 8u45-17u verder werken bedrijfspublicatie zangrepetitie Aïda invoer inhoud nieuwe website 12/mei 8u45-17u Meehlepen Nele invoer inhoud nieuwe website Bijwonen doorloop Gardenia 13/mei Hemelvaart 14/mei 8u30-17u verder werken Aïda; inlezen + plan uitwerken Meehlepen Nele invoer inhoud nieuwe website Inormatie over regio Deinze opzoeken voor Katleen (gerichte communicatie) 15/mei weekend 16/mei weekend 17/mei 8u30-17u verder werken Aïda; theoretisch kader meehlepen uithangen nieuwe affiches Minnemeers en banners Schouwburg verder werken bedrijfspublicatie Officiële seizoenspresentatie 18/mei 9u-17u30 verder werken Aïda; theoretisch kader notuleren vergadering dienst communciatie bijwonen productievergadering Aïda II

50 uitdenken campagne Aïda met Benny en Katleen: brainstormfase stagegesprek met Matthias 19/mei 8u45-17u30 verder werken bedrijfspublicatie bezoek aan VRT voor reclamespot en seizoensbrochure verder werken theoretisch kader 20/mei 8u30-17u15 verder werken bedrijfspublicatie lange middagpauze een greep uit de pers verder werken theoretisch kader onderzoek haalbaarheid project Aïda* Voorstelling In de strafkolonie/hethol 21/mei 9u-17u verder werken theoretisch kader en onderzoek haalbaarheid project Aïda* zangrepetitie Aïda een greep uit de pers uitnodiging Gardenia schrijven voor Katleen 22/mei weekend 23/mei weekend 24/mei Pinkstermaandag 25/mei 8u30-17u verder werken theoretisch kader notuleren vergadering dienst communicatie helpen Nele invoer website stagegesprek met Matthias 26/mei 8u45-17u30 Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie -> Gesprek met Benny Verder werken onderzoek haalbaarheid project Aïda* Een greep uit de pers 27/mei thuis studeren ex Frans 28/mei thuis studeren ex Frans examen Frans deel I 29/mei weekend examen Frans deel II 30/mei weekend 31/mei 8u30-17u30 Verder werken bedrijfpublicatie + gesprek met Matthias Helpen Nele invoer website Bijwonen repetitie Aïda* = opvolging voor de communicatie 1/jun 8u30-17u15 Noteleren vergadering dienst commncatie Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie Helpen Nele invoer website Een greep uit de pers 2/jun 8u30-17u30 Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie bijwonen productievergadering Aïda Vergadering bedrijfspublicatie met Matthias en Benny een greep uit de pers 3/jun 8u30-17u30 Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie Een greep uit de pers Voorstelling Kasimir en Karoline 4/jun 8u45-16u Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie Verder werken Aïda* Een greep uit de pers 5/jun weekend Voorstelling Gif 6/jun weekend 7/jun 8u30-17u Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie Vergadering communicatieplan Aïda* een greep uit de pers Koorrepetitie in de schouwburg Bijwonen cultuurforum Schauwvliege in de Vooruit III

51 8/jun 8u30-17u Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie Notuleren vergadering dienst communicatie Een greep uit de pers Verder werken Aïda* 9/jun 8u30-17u Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie zangrepetitie Aïda Vergadering bedrijfspublicatie met Benny, Matthias en Kurt 10/jun 8u30-17u15 Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie Een greep uit de pers Verder werken Aïda* Helpen Katleen communicatie ivm ditributie pomotiemateriaal 'Brief' Gelegenheidsavond: Afscheid Johan Simons 11/jun 8u45-16u Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie Een greep uit de pers Verder werken Helpen Katleen communicatie ivm ditributie pomotiemateriaal 'Brief' Verder werken theoretisch kader 12/jun weekend 13/jun weekend 14/jun 8u30-17u Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie Een greep uit de pers Verder werken Aïda* Personeelsfeest 15/jun 10u-17u Notuleren vergadering dienst communicatie een greep uit de pers Verder werken Helpen Katleen communicatie ivm ditributie pomotiemateriaal 'Brief' Verder werken theoretisch kader 16/jun 8u30-17u30 Een greep uit de pers Productievergadering Aïda* Uitstippelen en verwerken route guerilla-actie Aïda* 17/jun 8u30-15u Een greep uit de pers Uitstippelen en verwerken route guerilla-actie Aïda* 18/jun 8u15-16u30 Een greep uit de pers Verder werken bedrijfspublicatie Koorrepetitie Uitstippelen en verwerken route guerilla-actie Aïda* 19/jun weekend 20/jun weekend 21/jun 8u30-17u15 Een greep uit de pers stagegesprek met Matthias verder werken bedrijfspublicatie verder werken actie Aïda* 22/jun 8u45-17u15 Een greep uit de pers Verder werken Helpen Katleen communicatie ivm ditributie pomotiemateriaal 'Brief' notuleren vergadering dienst communicatie verder werken actie Aïda* 23/jun 8u30-15u30 Een greep uit de pers 24/jun 8u45-17u15 Een greep uit de pers Verder werken Helpen Katleen communicatie ivm ditributie pomotiemateriaal 'Brief' verder werken bedrijfspublicatie en verder werken actie Aïda* 25/jun 8u30-16u Laatste dag; alles afronden IV

52 3. PRESS KIT LETTRE À MON JUGE Lettre à mon juge Brief aan mijn rechter Un monologue de Frank Focketyn D après Georges Simenon Mise en scène par Johan Simons V

53 Table des matières Introduction... VII Collaborateurs... VII Synopsis... VIII Frank Focketyn Jeux... IX Johan Simons Régie... X Georges Simenon Texte... XI Liste des performances... XII Information pour la presse... XIII VI

54 Introduction Pour la première fois, Frank Focketyn s essaie à un monologue. Il s est beaucoup investi pour interpréter la pièce Lettre à mon juge, d après Georges Simenon. Dans une mise en scène de Johan Simons, directeur artistique du NTGent, cette production a connu beaucoup de succès en Flandre. A partir d octobre 2010 Focketyn jouera aussi à Liège, la ville natale de Simenon. Collaborateurs Un monologue de D'après Traduction Adaptation Mise en scène Premier assistant à la mise en scène Assistante à la mise en scène Jeux Dramaturgie Scénographie Assistant scénographie Lumières Costumes Directeur de production Communication Relations externes Relations avec le public Régisseur Technique Decor/costumes Stage mise en scène Grâce à Frank Focketyn Georges Simenon Halbo c. Kool Koen Tachelet et Jeroen Versteele Johan Simons Marc Swaenen Katelijne Laevens Frank Focketyn Jeroen Versteele Leo de Nijs Luc Goedertier Marc Swaenen, Joris Durnez An De Mol Marieke Cardinaels Katleen Cruyt Benny D Haeseleer Dirk Crommelinck Stefan Jansen Joris Durnez, Gunther De Braeckeleer Ateliers NTGent Catoke Kramer Claude Blondeel, Elly Scheele VII

55 Synopsis En écrivant Lettre à mon juge, Georges Simenon a signé un livre démoniaque sur l amour. Le personnage principal est le docteur Charles Alavoine, condamné pour le meurtre de sa maîtresse, mais sans préméditation. Dans sa lettre, Charles s efforce de convaincre son juge que c'est en toute conscience qu il a organisé et commis le meurtre et, pire encore, qu il s agissait d un meurtre commis par amour. Vous n avez pas la moindre idée de ce que représente l union de deux êtres et des sommets que peut atteindre leur passion. Le médecin de Lettre à mon juge tente le saut. Après deux mariages répondant plus ou moins aux attentes de son milieu et de sa famille, il se perd dans une aventure sans fond avec Martine, dépourvue elle aussi de tout limite. Tous deux savent que leur relation est condamnée { l'anéantissement et, dans l attente de leur descente aux enfers, ils fêtent l amour. Frank Focketyn nous présente l histoire de la seule manière juste ; sobre et digne. Alvoine témoigne de son échec humain avec émotion, mais sans pathos ; stylisé, mais sans facticité. (Zone 02) VIII

56 Frank Focketyn Jeu Frank Focketyn, né en 1960, obtient son diplôme au Conservatoire d Anvers en 1986 et y donne toujours cours { l heure actuelle aux étudiants de première année. Sur scène il s engage entre autres pour Het Zuidelijk Toneel (Abele Spelen et Lucifer) et la compagnie De Koe (3 Koningen, De menagerie van de schamele drie, De Nijl is in Caïro aangekomen). Avec cette compagnie, il réalise sa première mise en scène De slag van Glottis en Franck joue aussi pour Het Paleis/De Tijd (De telduivel), pour Bronks (Sinds de komst van Sint San, Zwijnen et La belle et la bête ) et pour la maison de théâtre de Bloedam. Le grand public en Flandre connaît Franck aussi par plusieurs programmes télévisés comme Kulderzipken, Heterdaad, Witse, Vaneigens, In de Gloria et Het Eiland. Sur grand écran, il collabore aux films comme Any Way the Wind Blows, Man van Staal, Dirty Mind et à un clip vidéo Never Back Down du groupe Novastar. Frank commence à travailler pour NTGent pendant la saison avec Het leven een droom. Plus tard, il joue dans Tien geboden, Fort Europe, Instinct et Kasmir en Karoline. Cette saison il présente le monologue Brief aan mijn rechter, d après le livre de Georges Simenon avec la mise en scène de Johan Simons. Frank Focketyn s essaie avec Lettre à mon juge à son tout premier monologue et nous livre une prestation remarquable. Et s il est vrai que nous nous sommes habitués en Flandre à un style de jeu souvent ironique et distancié, disons qu il a opté pour l expérience pure, un jeu d acteur quasiment cinématographique. Et ça fonctionne. Focketyn joue le jeu avec subtilité: il charme et il angoisse; il attire, puis il repousse. Tout comme son alter ego Alavoine. (De Morgen) Frank ne joue pas ; il devient Charles Alavoine, le fils de fermier qui atteint le statut de médecin et qui enfin tue sa maîtresse au nom de l amour. (spectateur sur le site web de NTGent) IX

57 Johan Simons Régie Johan Simons (1946) a suivi une formation de danseur à l'académie de danse de Rotterdam et d'acteur à l'académie de Théâtre de Maastricht. En 1976, il rejoint en tant qu'acteur/metteur en scène la troupe de la Haagsche Comedie; avec le Wespetheater (1979) puis le Regiotheater (1982), il fonde ses propres compagnies. En 1985, ces initiatives débouchent sur la fondation du Theatergroep Hollandia. C'est à partir de cette époque qu'il se consacre entièrement à la mise en scène. Simons met au début l accent sur la mise en scène de tragédies grecques. Au début des années 90, l'intérêt de Simons se déplace. Délaissant le concept de l'isolation délibérée et de l'homme ne souhaitant compter que sur ses propres forces, il se prend d'intérêt pour l'homme en tant qu'être concerné par ses semblables et par le monde. L'homme est un être social capable de lutter contre sa propre oppression mais également de changer le cours des événements ou de changer tout court. À partir de là, progressivement, ses spectacles vont développer des thèmes et des sujets engagés sur le plan sociétal et parfois explicitement politiques. Ce mariage d'une rhétorique puissante avec un style de jeu spécifique ne tarde pas à attirer l'attention à l'étranger. Les pièces resteront à l'affiche durant des années en Europe, dans leurs versions allemande et anglaise, ainsi que dans les pays anglophones. Elles seront couronnées par des prix internationaux d'envergure (dont le Prix européen pour le renouvellement théâtral en 2000). À partir de cette époque, Johan Simons est régulièrement invité par des compagnies allemandes, en tant que metteur en scène invité. En 2005, Johan Simons a pris les fonctions de directeur/metteur en scène du NTGent. Durant sa première saison, il y a mis en scène Le Demandeur d'asile, Plateforme (sélectionné au Theaterfestival 2006 de Flandre et des Pays-Bas) et Robinson Crusoe, la femme et le nègre. Ont suivi La vie un rêve (une coproduction avec la RuhrTriennale 2006), Oresteia (une coproduction avec le Toneelgroep Amsterdam) et Je tombe tombe dans mes bras. Il a ouvert la saison à Gand avec une nouvelle version du Décalogue, avant de présenter Merlin, une nouvelle coproduction avec la Ruhrtriennale, et Instinct. Depuis peu, les activités de Johan Simons s'étendent également à la mise en scène d'opéra. Le directeur artistique Johan Simons quittera NTGent en Il deviendra intendant au Münchner Kammerspiele. Jusque 2010, Simons reste au théâtre de ville gantoise pour améliorer les perspectives d avenir. Il sera succédé par Wim Opbrouck. X

58 Georges Simenon Texte Simenon, père spirituel de Maigret, le détective à la pipe mondialement célèbre, était un écrivain productif méconnu et populaire. Il a signé des centaines de romans, traduits dans plus de 50 langues, vendus à environ un demi-milliard d exemplaires. Bien que contemporain et compagnon spirituel d Albert Camus, Simenon n a jamais joui de la même reconnaissance critique. Il disait être inspiré surtout par Dostoïevski et Tolstoï et c est effectivement cet esprit qui domine son oeuvre. Tous ses livres sont, en premier lieu, des études de l échec humain, d'une ineffaçable culpabilité que l homme porte avec lui, de génération en génération. Ses personnages principaux sont sans fond: ils boivent, volent, mentent, jurent, baisent. Ils assassinent ou se suicident. Ce sont souvent des hommes qui se rendent compte qu ils n ont rien { perdre et qui profitent de ce moment précis pour faire le saut vers une autre sorte de vie. Ce saut est aussi vital que destructeur. Simenon, c est Balzac moins les longueurs. _ Marcel Aymé Simenon, c est une sorte de clochard à l intérieur._raphaèle Billetdoux XI

59 Liste des performances La première de Lettre { mon juge était le 28 novembre au NTGent Arca. Voici les dates des performances à Liège 8 octobre ocotbre octobre octobre ocotbre octobre ocotbre Pour de plus amples informations, visitez le site web du Théâtre de la Place à Liège: XII

60 Information pour la presse Durée de la pièce: 1h15 sans pause Pour de plus amples informations, contactez Benny D haeseleer (Presse NTGent: t: , e: ou visitez le site web du Théâtre de la Place. Le NTGent est une compagnie théâtrale qui entre en dialogue avec la société. Pour résister aux développements de la réalité, le théâtre doit se trouver au milieu du monde. Le NTGent regarde la société avec un œil perçant, mais plein de commisération { l homme qui vit dedans. Le NTGent choisit explicitement un ensemble ouvert avec des acteurs, des auteurs, des metteurs en scène, des dramaturges et des scénographes. Le travail de Johan Simons comme metteur en scène joue un rôle primordial, Le directeur artistique Johan Simons quittera NTGent en En choisissant Opbrouck comme successeur, le NTGent veut continuer { suivre l élan international, introduit par Simons, et renforcer les liens avec la ville. NTGent veut aussi continuer à travailler avec son ensemble. Le Théâtre de la Place figure parmi les cinq Centres dramatiques de la Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles et, depuis la saison 2006/2007, est devenu également Centre européen de création théâtrale et chorégraphique. Cette appellation témoigne de la nouvelle impulsion donnée par le projet artistique en cours depuis la saison 2005/2006, sous la direction de Serge Rangoni, et consiste notamment en la construction de partenariats avec différents acteurs locaux (Conservatoire de Liège, Les Ateliers de la Colline ), régionaux (Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, Centres culturels, Charleroi/Danses) et internationaux (Theater aan het Vrijthof à Maastricht, le TNB-Théâtre National de Bretagne, Emilia Romagna Teatro { Modène, ). XIII

61 4. COMPANY BROCHURE Voorbereiding lay-out Gert Doreman Cover buitenkant Jaarverslag 2009 NTGent Grote foto schouwburg Cover binnenkant NTGENT NTGent Schouwburg Sint-Baafsplein Gent T F NTGent Minnemeers Minnemeers Gent NTGent Arca Sint-Widostraat Gent BEZOEK ONZE WEBSITE Op de vernieuwde website vindt u alle informatie over het bedrijf en haar activiteiten. De site wordt voortdurend uitgebreid en geactualiseerd. U vindt er meer informatie over het ensemble, de producties, het seizoen, de publiekswerking, de ticketverkoop en de werking van NTGent. Colofon Redactie Vormgeving Fotografie Druk Verantwoordelijke uitgever Pagina 1 Benny D haeseleer Barbara Dubaere Matthias Dusesoi Koen Van Caeckenberghe Kurt Melens Luc Van den Bossche Phile Deprez, Elisabeth Soetaert, Kerijn Van der Cruyssen Océ Printing for Professionals Kurt Melens, St-Baafsplein 17, 9000 Gent. XIV

62 NTGENT KORT NTGent is een internationaal producerend theater met Gent als thuisbasis. Elk seizoen creëert het stadstheater met zijn vast ensemble eigen theaterproducties in Gent en speelt die in heel Europa en ver daarbuiten. Het huis fungeert ook als receptief platform voor zorgvuldig geselecteerde gastvoorstellingen en (commerciële) zaalhuuractiviteiten. Daarnaast beschikt NTGent ook over een eigen decor- en kostuumatelier. Dankzij de steun van zijn vaste partners en ondersteunend personeel bereikt het theater jaarlijks een omvangrijk en gevarieerd publiek. MISSION STATEMENT NTGent wil als stadstheater in Gent een internationaal (co)producerend gezelschap zijn. Met een sterk internationaal ensemble, een doordachte dramaturgie en artistieke medewerkers en partners, wil NTGent het openbare, kritische en creatieve debat over mens en wereldbeeld bevorderen. Pagina 2 FEITEN EN TRENDS 2009 Bouwjaar schouwburg 1899 Aantal ensembleacteurs 12 Aantal voorstellingen eigen producties 341 Aantal eigen podia 3 Aantal werknemers 93 Aantal bezoekers voorstellingen Aantal activiteiten zaalverhuur 135 Aantal prijzen en nominaties 9 Directe artistieke besteding Aantal abonnementen XV

63 Pagina 3 VOORWOORD VAN LUC VAN DEN BOSSCHE, VOORZITTER RAAD VAN BESTUUR EN KURT MELENS, ZAKELIJK DIRECTEUR Midden in de wereld, midden in de stad : NTGent presenteert zich als een bruisend stadstheater met internationale uitstraling. Ook in het kalenderjaar 2009 was de artistieke werking van NTGent immers erg gevuld en gevarieerd. Samenwerkingsprojecten met onder meer LOD, les ballets C de la B, Victoria Deluxe en Theater Antigone, internationale tournees, een tiental premières en een paar grote hernemingen stonden op het programma. NTGent kleurt daarbij het Vlaamse theaterlandschap door bewust te kiezen voor een eigen acteursensemble én voor diversiteit en maatschappelijk engagement. Het begrip stadstheater willen we op twee manieren beschrijven. Enerzijds is er de artistieke invulling, waar we constateren dat we het meest stadstheater zijn in onze voorstellingen zelf, waar we een missie vervullen tegenover de inwoners van de stad Gent. De diversiteit van het repertoire (naast Simenons Brief aan mijn rechter ook Underground van Nobelprijswinnaar Elfride Jelinek en Headbanger s Wall van Peter Verhelst), de spin-offs van voorstellingen via Brandhaarden, Talkshows, masterclasses, de lessen op de hogeschool en de universiteit dat alles geeft een meerwaarde waardoor het Gentse publiek NTGent gaat ervaren als hun theater. Anderzijds is er ook een strategische invulling die te maken heeft met het imago, met onze aanwezigheid in de stad, met de zorg voor ons theatererfgoed, met het beleid en met samenwerkingsverbanden met onze Gentse culturele partners waaronder Vooruit, Rocsa, Ambrosia s tafel... Het doelgroepenbeleid en het diversiteitsplan, opgestart in 2009, werpt nu reeds vruchten af. De sociale en geografische spreiding van het publiek kreeg hierdoor een interessante mix. Onze actieradius is nationaal en internationaal maar toch blijkt dat ongeveer 70% van de bezoekers aan onze zalen (Schouwburg, Minnemeers en Arca) uit de provincie Oost-Vlaanderen afkomstig is. In groot Gent bedraagt het toeschouwersaantal meer dan 40%. Bedrijfsmatig was 2009 het jaar waarin we de inkomsten van het bedrijf konden optimaliseren. Met een omzetgroei tot 9,2 miljoen EUR en een eigen inkomstenpercentage van 40% heeft NTGent een uiterst succesvol jaar gehad. De schuldafbouw van het huis kende alweer een grote versnelling, zonder dat het artistieke opgeofferd werd. NTGent gaat door op de ingeslagen weg. De krijtlijnen werden door Johan Simons getekend, de invulling wordt ook in 2010 verder gerealiseerd door het gezelschap en alle medewerkers, onder de brede vleugels van Wim Opbrouck. We hopen dat dit dossier een verhelderend licht werpt op de werking van NTGent en tekenen Hoogachtend, Kurt Melens Algemeen directeur Luc Van den Bossche Voorzitter Raad van Bestuur XVI

64 Pagina 4 Vervolg voorwoord indien de tekst niet op 1 pg kan Verder foto Kurt en Luc Pagina 5 INHOUD Paginanummer Het jaar 2009 Paginanummer Paginanummer Paginanummer Paginanummer Paginanummer Financieel beleid Personeel Ateliers Infrastructuur Ecologie Pagina 6 De grafieken horend bij de tekst op pagina 7 Grafiek 1: aantal voorstellingen in Gent / op reis in 2009 Grafiek 2: aantal voorstellingen in Gent: eigen / gast in 2009 XVII

65 Pagina 7 HET JAAR 2009 Sinds 2004 profileert NTGent zich opnieuw als internationaal actief repertoiretheater dat creatief en actueel toneel voor een zo breed mogelijk publiek wil brengen. Het bedrijf hecht hierbij veel belang aan een uitgebouwde publiekswerking en een vlotte samenwerking met partners en subsidiënten is het jaar van de optimalisering in de bedrijfsvoering geworden. Een serieuze omzetstijging was hiervan het resultaat. We overlopen de facts and figures van het jaar AANTAL VOORSTELLINGEN A. Aantal voorstellingen in Gent/Op reis In 2009 voerde NTGent 341 voorstellingen van eigen producties op. (zie grafiek 1) Dat komt neer op een stijging van ruim 21% ten opzichte van het jaar ervoor. Na enkele jaren van dalende productiviteit omwille van besparingsmaatregelen, valt in het jaar 2009 dus opnieuw een stijging op te merken in het aantal voorstellingen. Deze forse stijging is vooral te wijten aan het opgedreven aantal voorstellingen buitenshuis. Deze grote focus op een spreiding in Vlaanderen, Nederland en internationaal zorgde voor extra inkomsten door uitkoopsommen. B. Aantal voorstellingen in Gent: Eigen/Gast In Gent zelf kon de toeschouwer zowel eigen producties als gastvoorstellingen bijwonen. Hier valt een dalende trend op. (zie grafiek 2) In 2006 werden nog 226 voorstellingen opgevoerd in Gent (zowel eigen als receptief), terwijl dat er in 2009 nog slechts 180 waren. De gastvoorstellingen nemen in de laatste vier jaar met gemiddeld een kleine 8% toe, dit terwijl de eigen voorstellingen een lichte terugval kennen omwille van besparingsoverwegingen. Met de eigen producties werd weliswaar meer dan ooit rondgereisd. XVIII

66 Pagina 8 Grafieken horend bij de tekst op pagina 9 Grafiek 3: totaal publieksbereik in 2009 Grafiek 4: publieksbereik in Gent / op reis in 2009 Grafiek 5: publieksbereik in Gent in 2009 Pagina 9 2. EVOLUTIE PUBLIEKSBEREIK A. Totaal publieksbereik In 2009 bereikte NTGent in het totaal bijna bezoekers (eigen - en gastproducties in Gent, de reisproducties en de publiekswerking). Elk jaar maken steeds meer mensen kennis met het huis en zijn activiteiten. (zie grafiek 3) Van 2006 tot 2008 bedroeg de stijging jaarlijks gemiddeld 3,5%. De XIX

67 forse stijging van 2008 naar 2009 met 23% is te wijten aan de stijging van het aantal reisvoorstellingen datzelfde jaar. B. Publieksbereik in Gent/op reis In 2009 bereikte NTGent met zijn eigen producties in totaal ruim toeschouwers, zowel in Gent als elders in België en in het buitenland. Dat is een stijging met 23% in vergelijking met (zie grafiek 4) De daling in het bereik van het aantal bezoekers in Gent van 2008 naar 2009 met 27%, is te wijten aan het dalend aantal voorstellingen in Gent. Noodzakelijke tijdelijk besparingsmaatregelen omwille van hoge productiekosten eisten dus tijdelijke opofferingen in de thuisstad, maar dat werd gecompenseerd door een ruim aanbod aan gastvoorstellingen en de goede resultaten buitenshuis. De reisproducties werden in 2009 door bijna mensen bijgewoond. Dat is een stijging van ruim 58% ten opzichte van C. Publieksbereik in Gent In Gent kunnen de bezoekers globaal genomen twee soorten voorstellingen bijwonen: de eigen producties van NTGent en de gastvoorstellingen. In 2009 werden in Gent in het totaal ruim mensen bereikt. Dat is een stijging met ruim 3% ten opzichte van (zie grafiek 5) Een kleine 61% daarvan woonde een gastvoorstelling bij. De overige 39% opteerde voor een productie van eigen huis. Dit komt overeen met de verhouding van het aantal voorstellingen (zie 1.B.) Ook het aantal trouwe bezoekers evolueert in stijgende lijn: van 836 abonnementen verkocht in 2008 tot abonnementen in Pagina 10 Grafieken horend bij tekst pagina 11 Grafiek 6: publiekssamenstelling in 2009 volgens het huidige ticketsysteem XX

68 Grafiek 7: raming publiekssamenstelling in 2009 Grafiek 8: overzicht spreiding bezoekers in 2009 Pagina 11 D. Publiekssamenstelling in 2009 NTGent wil in de eerste plaats het individu aanspreken, zonder daarin onderscheid te maken tussen leeftijdsgroepen, geografische spreiding of sociale klasse. Het bedrijf maakte er een punt van diverse doelgroepen te bereiken en daartoe de nodige inspanningen te leveren. Op basis van het huidige ticketsysteem kon voor 2009 de samenstelling van het publiek in kaart gebracht worden. Het moet vermeld dat het hier gaat om een raming, gezien dit systeem enkel de gegevens registreert van de persoon die de reservatie boekt, terwijl deze laatste vaak voor meerdere individuele bezoekers reserveert (tijdens het seizoen reserveerde 1 persoon gemiddeld 6,2 kaartjes). Onderstaande cijfers geven dus slechts een overzicht per reservatie en zijn dus geen precieze weergave van de situatie per individuele bezoeker. In 2010 wordt een nieuw ticketsysteem in gebruik genomen dat een meer precies overzicht van de publiekssamenstelling zal toelaten. Grafiek 6 toont de samenstelling van het publiek in 2009 op basis van de gegevens uit het huidige ticketsysteem. Die cijfers impliceren dat slechts 3% van de bezoekers ouder is dan 60, terwijl een aanzienlijke groep van deze leeftijdscategorie ook vaak houder is van een abonnement of een reservatie maakt voor meerder personen. Grafiek 7 toont de herwerking van deze gegevens op basis van de ervaring van het bespreekbureau. Volgens die raming behoort 61% van de bezoekers tot de leeftijdscategorie 27 tot 59 jaar. Bijna een derde van het publiek is jonger dan 26 en ongeveer 10% is ouder dan 60. In termen van leeftijd bereikt het NTGent een gevarieerd publiek. XXI

69 Ook de geografische spreiding van het publiek van NTGent in 2009 wordt onder de loep genomen. Ondanks het feit dat het meeste NTGent-publiek uit de provincie Oost-Vlaanderen afkomstig is, blijkt dat het theater ook heel wat publiek werft uit andere provincies. Zo maakte de provincie West- Vlaanderen 8,26% uit van het publiek, gevolgd door de provincie Antwerpen met 5,42%. Binnen de provincie Oost-Vlaanderen neemt de stad Gent een belangrijk stuk voor haar rekening. Maar ook de randgemeenten, Deinze en Dendermonde, scoren goed. Deze resultaten bevestigen het onderzoek gevoerd door een masterstudente aan de faculteit toegepaste economische wetenschappen van de universiteit Antwerpen uit Daaruit blijkt namelijk dat het publiek dat een voorstelling bijwoont bij NTGent grotere afstanden aflegt (gemiddeld km) dan het publiek van andere Vlaamse theaterhuizen zoals de Bourlaschouwburg en het Kaaitheater (gemiddeld km). Dat maakt NTGent het stadstheater met het grootste geografische bereik in Vlaanderen. Pagina 12 Grafieken horend bij de tekst pagina 13 Grafiek 9: publieksbereik door de publiekswerking in 2009 Grafiek 10: aantal activiteiten publiekswerking in 2009 PAGINA EVOLUTIE PUBLIEKSWERKING Om meer publiek te bereiken en de band met dat publiek te verstevigen, zette NTGent versterkt in op Publiekswerking. Die fungeert als schakel tussen de artistieke werking van het gezelschap en het publiek. Het is een inhoudelijke brug tussen het theater, de samenleving en de mensen die er deel van uit maken. XXII

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