BLOG: I’ll Cover You – an open letter to theatre websites (Can You Feel The Love Tonight)
Having worked in the corporate world for fifteen years, I am more than used to dealing with competitiors. But when moving in to the theatre industry six years ago, I thought things would be different. I thought it would be a community of people who are in it for the love of theatre and not just to make money.
So I have been constantly surprised over the years at the lack of help and support we give to each other. I too have fallen into this trap with a mindset of ‘if you won’t help me, then I won’t help you’ attitude but now I’ve realised that isn’t why I got into this business and I have been wrong in not supporting other sites. We all get hundreds of emails asking us to cover shows every day and so it can be hard to find the time but we should be supporting each other, because we are a theatre community and should be spreading some love.
When it comes to the West End Wilma Awards (which has it’s 5th anniversary this November #ticketsonsalenow) other websites are very reluctant to publicise anything about it because a lot of them have their own similar awards shows. I get that, but surely we all have something different to offer in what we do. Some awards shows seem to favour high profile celebrities and there is a place for that to happen, some are voted for entirely by panels of judges and some like the Wilma Awards are voted for entirely by the public. So between us all, we have different things to offer.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of theatre websites whose ethics I don’t agree with and so won’t publish anything about because I don’t agree with them morally but when it just comes down to shunning each other just because we run similar businesses, then I don’t think that is right.
The Wilma Awards has gone from strength to strength every year and this year is looking to be the best one yet with an audience of 350 people. And all of this has been done pretty much without the help of any other theatre websites. That’s cool, I can do it without anyone else’s help but wouldn’t it be so much nicer if we all worked together, formed alliances and helped each other out? There is enough room in this industry for all of us and I think it’s about time we band together and promote each other rather than working against each other. Or as they say in wicked “think of what we could do, together – unlimited the future is unlimited”.
We shouldn’t be telling each other “we can’t support you because you sell theatre tickets through a competitor to us” or “you can’t post on this message board about that because it is benefiting you”. How about we all just support each other?
So I’m going to put myself out there and say that so long as I don’t have a personal grievance against how you are conducting your business, I will do my best to publish your announcements and support you 100%. I will make the first step towards a better future in building a community between us. And if anyone else wants to join in then great!