Enterprise 2013 – introducing Pot Of Trix Theatre
Please take the time to watch this video pitch before reading the rest of the post.
As mentioned in my video pitch, Pot Of Trix is a theatre company that produces interactive, educational theatre for children. Our productions take place in site specific environments, such as farms, and are not only a welcome change from the classroom, but also create an immersive and valuable learning experience. The performances use the stories and characters of Beatrix Potter to engage, and potentially educate, children about sustainable food and farming, and provide them with the tools to make an informed decision when buying food in the future.
It is essential that our performances are attractive and appropriate to all ages, so Pot Of Trix are flexible and able to adapt the script to meet the requirements of any audience. Also, because the venue changes as we move from farm to farm, we tailor the script to suit each specific environment. For example, our debut performance was at Kenniford Farm, a pig farm in Devon, so we included a section about Red Tractor pork.
Pot Of Trix productions are most suited to primary school audiences, so we aim to target primary schools in the West Midlands. Thus far we have performed to audiences of children aged 6 to 8, but will adapt the performance to suit any age. The running time of the performance is approximately one hour, including time for all of the activities, and easily fitted into a school day. What is more, Pot Of Trix are happy to work with schools in order to ensure that our production compliments their curriculum.
However, our work is not strictly limited to term time. Pot Of Trix have plans to open our performances to the public during school holidays. We recently spoke to a sample of parents of young children about their need for family activities. Many of the responses reflected a desire for low cost, outdoors activities, with some expressing a need for more creative events. There is certainly a market for ticketed events during school holidays that will allow families to spend valuable time together. Moreover, our performances are not limited to families; they would be ideal for activity groups, such as Brownies and Scouts, or even birthday parties.
As an emerging cultural enterprise, Pot Of Trix use a conventional business model cost structure. It is true that some initial capital is required, and it is likely this will be supplied in equal investments by the actors of the company, due to arts funding cuts. Similar to our conventional cost structure, our revenue streams are also relatively simple. Our principle source of income is the hire fee charged to schools and activity groups – a figure that will initially be between £350 and £450. The ticketed events in school holidays will provide a second source of income. After initial start-up costs our outgoings will be comparatively low. Pot Of Trix performances bring publicity and custom to the farms we work with; in our experience they do not require a hire fee in exchange for this valuable exposure. However, if this is not possible, a hire fee or box office split strategy will be negotiated.
In order to properly establish our theatre company in the competitive West Midlands market, our next step must be to create a strong network of schools in the area. We hope to be able to use the existing communication networks between schools are part of our marketing channel, advertising Pot Of Trix through word of mouth recommendations. It is also imperative that we develop firm relationships with farms that could become potential venues. It will be beneficial to the company if these farms are popular leisure destinations for families so that we can use their existing customer base as our secondary target market.
Some valuable research into the industry fields of theatre and education demonstrates that Pot Of Trix fills a niche for our target market, by attempting to improve children’s education through creativity. A recent article from The Telegraph found that graduates who went on to own patents or companies received up to eight times more exposure to the arts when they were at school. The article goes on to explain how activities such as art, music and acting encourage ‘out of the box thinking’ that can help write business plans and win competitions. Pot Of Trix is in dialogue with this new thinking about creativity and the arts; not only is the content of our productions educational, but so is the form.
We feel that we have a strong brand as a theatre company, and are excited for our customers to get to know what Pot Of Trix is really about. We cherish classic children’s literature and believe that stories such as Beatrix Potter’s should not be lost to future generations. We also believe that sustainability is a concept that should be demonstrated to children in an engaging and fun way, and aim to achieve this in all that we do. Pot Of Trix is nostalgic for a simpler time, when education was less reliant upon technology, and it is for this reason that our performances take place outdoors, in a working environment, and involve audience participation. These values are prevalent in every Pot Of Trix performance, from the quintessentially English characters to the recycled props and costumes. The audience experience is of the utmost importance to Pot Of Trix: we visit the school before the performance to read stories and drop off a post box, into which they send Beatrix Potter their postcards describing their experience on the farm. In short, the Pot Of Trix brand is consistent in all that we do, emphasising our personal touch and highlighting classic literature and sustainability.
The process of developing this idea has made it apparent that Pot Of Trix must develop innovative marketing strategies in order to successfully engage of our target markets – these strategies must also distinguish us from competitors. Hopefully this will avert the risk that our theatre company will be overshadowed by competition. Another problem could be that our costs initially outweigh our income if it is necessary to charge lower fees in order to gain publicity. Pot Of Trix would be happy to receive any feedback that would help us to avoid these and any other potential problems.