CEO Weekly Blog – w/c 6 Jan

6 Jan 20 - Connected - Here and Now.jpg

Connected by Fabric Lenny, for Here and Now.

Reviews of the year, reviews of the decade… Despite starting this blog a year ago to encourage more reflection, I’m still far more inclined to look forward than back. New year, new plans, new commitments.

However, we have been celebrating one anniversary at ARC this week. Five years ago we took the bold step to introduce Pay What You Decide (PWYD) pricing on our entire theatre and dance programme. Inspired by – and forever indebted to – Slung Low, the pricing model led to an increase in audiences, and surprisingly in income too.

I’ve written about PWYD many times over the years, so the only thing new to share are the five year stats: audiences have increased by a very satisfying 91% over that time. As I always say, it is an audience development tool not an income generating one, but income has more than doubled over that period too.

If you do want to read more about it, we’ve just updated our free PWYD toolkit which you can download here.

Apart from that, we have been looking forward, with yet more ambitious plans for 2020. We’re particularly excited about Future Arts Centres’ Here and Now project, funded by Arts Council England to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the National Lottery. As Future Arts Centres co-chairs, Gavin Barlow and I had the chance to explain why this project is so important, and what we want to achieve in partnership with 38 other arts centres around the country, in this article in The Independent.

We’ve been working with a brilliant team – web designer Tim Jukes and artist Fabric Lenny – to design a website for the project, which was launched alongside the article. Visit to read about the 40 arts centres leading 40 new projects with artists and local communities.

Having stuck to my 2019 New Year’s resolution to write a blog ‘most weeks’ (I managed 35 out of 52 weeks) I’ll be continuing to write about this and other projects here over the next 12 months.

Thanks for reading and here’s to a fabulous 2020!