AmbITion Re:connected – New Wolsey Theatre Case Study

This is a live blog of the AmbITion Re:connected  event at the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester.  If you spot any errors or inaccuracies or would simply like to contribute to the conversation, leave us a comment!

David Leek and Stephen Freeman from New Wolsey Theatre now share where their development journey with their new website is taking them.

New Wolsey Theatre Facts

Founded in 2000

Producing and receiving house in Ipswich, Suffolk

400 seat main house

100 seat studio

NWT produces Pulse Fringe Festival

Tours and collaborates

Here are David and Stephen’s slides:

Where we were:

Venue management system consisted of Excel spreadsheet

Standalone Box Office using out dated technology

Canon camcorder

Website created in 2001 Online ticket sales 8% now at 16%.

AmbITion allowed them to invest in:

Venue management system

Video capture and post production facilities

Ticketing and marketing system


Venue Management – Artifax – installed, in use, not using full functionality (yet). Already small efficiency benefits.

Video capture & post-production facilities – Various providers including Sony, Mac, Bose, Sennheiser

Used internally by marketing teams, content production team and many more.

Ticketing and marketing system – PatronBase, goes live Monday. Web interfacing almost complete. Artifax interfacing slow. Expectation – increase in organisational/box office efficiency, increase in web bookings.

Website – Tincan, in development. Go live in mid-April. Complete integration with ticketing system. Reconsidered interfacing with Artifax.

Current Website

Current – static images, very much a push medium. Heavily text based, little feedback. Separate blog areas. Agency method for ticket sales.

Future Website

Embedded video capability

‘Pull’ as well as ‘push’ medium

More visual than text heavy

Seamless blog areas

Social networking links

In house web sales – provided because they are using PatronBase

“Nothing majorly revolutionary but it is to us because we haven’t done it before.”

Customers can then ‘pick a seat’ and book. Customers will also have their own profiles on the site in which they can manage the content they create.

Website targets for 2009 year end

Increase web users by 150% Currently 8,500 unique visits.

To generate e-distribution alternative for every paper based mailout

To generate content for every in house production and creative learning project.

Have really had to drive across to audience that they need their email addresses and people have been happy to do provide them.

To increase the conversion rate of visitors to bookers. Only have 16% people booking tickets currently.

Yet to see major payoffs but know the payoffs are going to be there. There are already indicators of this.


Maintaining and developing staff capacity to deliver expectation

Continued work with suppliers to achieve desired integration

Managing the expectations of a digital participant into a live participation

Shift in approach to traditional marketing

Have entered into a collaborative relationship with Analogue, a new digital media devised theatre company. Show, Beachy Head to be taken to Edinburgh with that company.

An organisational shift to digital thinking

Up next: a panel discussion about what an  AmbITion-powered website does for the arts organisation.


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