One of the annual highlights of the UK arts calendar is the summer festival (May-August) at Glyndebourne, the famous opera house in the East Sussex countryside near Brighton (pictured above). Lost in CCI was very pleased to hear this week from 2005-6 MA CCI alumnus Naomi Saffery, who since graduation has been working in the festival’s marketing department.
The top ticket price at Glyndebourne is £165, which is actually £20 cheaper than the Royal Opera House. But due partly to factors such as the dress code (evening dress) and the tradition of taking picnics on the lawns during the long interval, Glyndebourne has been seen as snobbish and elitist.
Part of Naomi’s job, as well as filling the house each night, is to diversify the audience demographic. “We do this in a number of ways”, Naomi explained. “Direct mailings, e-marketing and press campaigns are all tools that we use. We also establish initiatives such as our under 30’s night. This year on August 9, 16 & 24 anyone who is under 30 years old can buy a ticket in the stalls to see Katie Mitchell’s staging of J S Bach’s St Matthew Passion for £30 – that is a saving of £135! I’m listening to the company rehearsing on stage right now and it is beautiful.”
Naomi’s role at Glyndebourne is to write all the copy for brochures, leaflets, flyers and any other promotional print. She is also editor of the bi-annual newsletter Glyndebourne News, and, as well as print production, she also edits and updates the website.
Glyndebourne also goes on tour from October to December each year. This represents a completely different marketing opportunity, as Naomi explains. “The tickets are much cheaper and there is no dress code, but the production quality is the same. We go to places such as, Stoke-on-Trent, Norwich, Plymouth and this year we are returning to Sadler’s Wells in December. The tour is our chance to introduce a completely different audience to our work.”
So how would Naomi describe working in a high-profile arts organisation like Glyndebourne? “It’s exciting and dynamic. Achieving a balance between creativity and business is a daily consideration for all of us involved in the arts, and it’s constantly interesting.”