The Touring Network exists to make the Highlands and Islands a better place to live and work through the means of access to quality cultural events in local communities. These events are programmed by our promoter members, who run village halls and arts programmes voluntarily. Their programming is proudly diverse, ranging from contemporary dance to children’s theatre, jazz, folk and classical music through to cutting edge theatre. And they promote tirelessly to get those bums on seats.
However a question that keeps arising, as our communities and members age, is how attentive is our network to our younger teenage audiences? Should they be? What does being attentive to a teenage audience even look like?
Something which is undeniable is that, by nature of rural living, there is a generation gap. Teenagers leave home for university, jobs and opportunity once school’s out, leaving a chasm of youth led culture (We’re thinking gigs here – bands, DJ’s) but that’s not to say that the hunger for it disappears within any given community. There will always be 14-18+ year olds in this region hungry for culture – but just who is promoting gigs for them?
And should they be?
Or does the lure of city culture undermine any local efforts, making it feel pointless?
Or maybe they’re too busy with exams and extra curricular activities? Or they feel that events being programmed aren’t “cool-enough” or (dare we say) that they feel patronised? All reasons why promoting efforts might be thwarted.
As an organisation who thrives to be inclusive, progressive and supportive we are constantly challenging how we can make a difference to more people’s lives in our region. And how we can support our members.
As part of ongoing youth promoter project, GET IN, we continue to support a handful of twenty-somethings – by giving them the resources, knowledge and confidence to promote events in their communities.
And more recently, we have formed a partnership with Theatre in Schools Scotland (TISS) to enable access to relevant theatre within schools.
However, might there be a call from within our existing promoter network for support to reach out to this younger audience too?
Are you a promoter member asking yourself…
“Do our events reflect the demand from our local youth audiences?”
“Are we reaching all the audiences we can?”
If so – perhaps The Touring Network could help you tap into some programming and marketing ideas that really resonate with your teenage/younger community. Or help you engage or enlist a younger member of the community to spark more youth led programming.
Or maybe there are some underground gig putter-onners, independent pubs/venues out there that we haven’t met yet? Teams of mates who persuade bands sporadically to come up and play, but who are lacking in resource?
Or maybe you’re already putting on gigs professionally and looking to tie in with a network like us to access more financial and in kind support?
If so, we would love to hear from you.
The Touring Network is a network of people in the Highlands and Islands who encourage performers to extend their tour route past the cities. We’re here to support our members to help make this happen.
To talk to us about membership, drop us an email.
If you’re already a member and looking to chat about booking more for your 14+ audiences, get in touch with Rhiannon.