Being Head of Marketing and Communications, Q&A with Kate Farrell

Next week the Albany will be playing host eight young people’s theatre group performing some of the ten plays which the National Theatre had specifically commissioned to be performed by young people as part of the NT Connections festival.

We think that it’s great that these talented individuals are being given the opportunity to perform in in a professional environment, and we want to aid the next generation as much as possible in their attempts to break into the often competitive arts industry. In this spirit here is our third interview with individuals holding senior positions within our organisation, Kate Farrell, Head of Marketing and Communications…

How would you describe your job?
I am head of Marketing and Communications at the Albany. That means I oversee the marketing and box office teams and, as a team, we manage all of the marketing, press and PR activity for our programme of shows and events, participatory projects, space hire and cafes. We also support ad hoc projects with marketing activity and do profile raising work for the organisation as a whole and look after the organisations’ websites and social media feeds.  I tend to lead on coming up with our strategies for marketing and communications in-line with our business plan and I also get to lead bigger projects like designing and building a new website and deciding messaging / the approach to marketing things like our A Theatre Trip for Every Child

How did you get into the arts, and this particular career?
I knew I wanted to work in theatre because it I loved watching live performance of all types and because participation has had a massive impact on my confidence and wellbeing from a young age. I applied for a job answering complaint letters and doing admin at The Lowry when I finished university. My desk was in the marketing department and when I wasn’t replying to people’s letters (that’s right, I am so old most people WROTE IN to complain) about our Espresso’s being too small (a real complaint), I was lucky enough to pitch in on a few low level PR and marketing tasks. That, combined with figuring out what my strengths were, led me to decide arts marketing could be a great fit. Then a job in the media team at Sheffield Theatres came up so I applied because I’d been to see a show there and to visit friends at uni and I loved the city and the theatre. More jobs, cities and amazing experiences followed and now I’ve been working in arts marketing for over 15 years.

What do you like the most about your job?
That I am working in an industry I love to promote it and encourage others to enjoy it. I also love the variety of what I get to do – two days are rarely the same and I am almost never bored. (If I am it is usually by admin like checking through all of our financial transactions and budget codes). Finally, I work with a great bunch of people and sometimes I GET PAID to watch amazing theatre, dance and circus shows.

What is the trickiest part of your job?
The volume of work – we’re ambitious to always grow our organisation, reach more people and do better so we tend to be working on lots of things at once and working hard all year round.

Do you have any advice for others who want to pursue similar careers?
If it’s the sector you love then apply for anything at entry level – making connections with organisation and getting to see what jobs are available and figure out what you’re good out is key.  Only do it if you love the industry and being part of it will make you happy – evenings and weekends come as standard and 8 hour days aren’t always the norm. There are definitely more lucrative careers in marketing and PR but if your priority is to work in the arts rather than in marketing and you have the skills to match, you’ll have an amazing time.

Thanks Kate!

From the 9th to the 12th May the Albany will be hosting 8 performances by young people as part of The National Theatre Connections festival. They will be performing plays that were commissioned by the National Theatre specifically for young people to perform. To find out more click here.

To find out about some of our other work and opportunities for young people click here. 

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