Inspiring the Audiences and Workforce of the Future

Inspiring the Audiences and Workforce of the Future

Harriet Usher

by Harriet Usher, Senior Audience Development Manager, SOLT and UK Theatre 

Date Published: 04 February 2019

Why has Inspiring Future Theatre been launched?

Two reasons: the commitment from our SOLT and UK Theatre members to building audiences of the future; and the findings of our recent workforce review, which highlights the need for a diverse pipeline of offstage talent to strengthen the future of this valuable industry.

The creative industries are worth £92bn and are growing at twice the rate of the economy. To create that new generation of theatre-makers, this project aims to showcase the range of careers available in theatre to young people and encourage and strengthen connections between schools and their local theatres.

We are keenly aware of the huge amount of innovation in this field across the industry and we wanted to give our members the opportunity, under one collaborative campaign - #InspiringFutureTheatre day - to shout about all that excellent work. More on that below.

To achieve our (sizable) ambitions, we partnered with Education and Employers, a charity dedicated to connecting schools and colleges with employers and volunteers, to enable young people to make informed and ambitious career decisions.

What is it?

Inspiring Future Theatre has three strands:

1. The Ambassadors Programme

By signing up to be an Ambassador you commit to volunteering 1 hour of your time to go into a school to talk to young people about your career. We all know how hard it can be for teachers to arrange trips… so why not go to them?

2. Nationwide Events

We are holding flagship events across the UK in the 12 opportunity areas identified by the Government in their social mobility strategy with low cultural engagement. By partnering theatres and schools in these areas, we will aim to create long-lasting and meaningful connections in those communities (full list on the website).

3. #InspiringFutureTheatre Day

Inspiring Future Theatre was officially launched on 11 July 2018 with an event at Northstead Primary School in Scarborough, where professionals from 6 theatre organisations joined 150 pupils from 3 schools. Personally, talking to school children and appreciating the enormous influence that meeting someone in person had was extraordinary. There is clear research that children as young as 7 have a clear idea of what they want to be – so giving them the opportunity to be part of our industry is a joy.

This was also #InspiringFutureTheatre day – with the hashtag trending UK-wide thanks to our members’ creative brilliance in their participation, telling us all about the work going on in schools, colleges, education and careers departments across the UK.

Inspiring the Future of Theatre event, Scarborough: Stephen Freeman,  Chief Executive of the Stephen Joseph Theatre with pupils at Northstead Community Primary School,. Photo: Pete Byrne Photography

#InspiringFutureTheatre Day 2018: Stephen Freeman (Chief Exec Stephen Joseph Theatre) at Northstead Community Primary School. © Pete Byrne 

Who can take part?

Being an Ambassador is an open invitation to everyone in the theatre industry at every stage of their career and in all career paths. We’d love to have you.

Encourage your friends! You can also join as a school or theatre organisation here:

How does it work?

By signing up, you create a profile and will be findable on the UK database. You will then be contacted directly by schools or education organisations to invite you to come and talk at the school.

Once you’ve created your profile, you can even go online and search for opportunities if you’re feeling particularly enthusiastic.

What’s next?

We are close to our target of 1000 Ambassadors (sign up and help us smash it!) and have the remainder of our nationwide events planned for 2019.

Most excitingly: early July 2019, Inspiring Future Theatre Day returns! This will be the final event and will take place in London, a bringing together of all the work and data that this first year has given us and launching plans for the next phase of the project. We hope you will take part.

05 Inspiring Future Theatre - Scarborough Event - Pete Byrne Photography LANDING CROP.jpg

#InspiringFutureTheatre Day 2018: Scarborough Event. Pupils at Northstead Community Primary School try out a theatre Duty Manager's walkie-talkie. © Pete Byrne Photography

More details on Inspiring Future Theatre can be found here – or email me,

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