Backstage at The Lowry: Henry Filloux-Bennett, Head of Marketing

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I’ve been at The Lowry for just over a year now, having come from Nottingham Playhouse and the RSC before that. I wanted to come to The Lowry for a couple of reasons: Firstly, all of my jobs in theatre before The Lowry had been at almost exclusively producing houses – that is to say we made the work at the theatre – and I so consequently I’d never had the opportunity to work on some of the massive visiting productions that The Lowry stages so often.

Secondly, The Lowry receives an incredibly important but comparatively small amount of public funding. On the one hand The Lowry has an incredibly strong artistic focus; on the other, to allow us to develop and produce such amazing work, we often have to be commercially minded. I started my career at one of the most commercial producing companies in the county and I really relished the chance to return to somewhere that had two such different but complementary focuses which would allow me to challenge myself.

I have a general overview of all of the marketing that happens at The Lowry, working as I do with a team of two marketing managers, an audience development executive, two marketing executives, two graphic designers and a marketing assistant. I work with the team to make sure that all of the shows that are coming to The Lowry – whether it be a one-night production in the Studio, a week-long production in the Quays, or a six-week blockbuster in the Lyric – have as much support as possible from a marketing point of view.

More specifically though my job is four-fold. Firstly I look after the overall marketing for our Visual Arts programme – what we’d all probably recognise as ‘exhibitions’, but given the development of a digital programme at The Lowry in the last few years, as well as a really exciting programme of less traditional events in less traditional spaces and cross arts performances, this is a really fascinating part of my job; and coming from a theatre background it’s been a great challenge to recalibrate my thinking and understanding of audience behaviours in this very different art form.

Secondly I look after our restaurant and bar, Pier Eight. Having worked in kitchens straight out of university – Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Restaurant Tom Aikens and Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s to name but a few and to brag just a little! – I’m absolutely thrilled I get to work with food again, albeit in a completely different way. Pier Eight is also close to my heart because we both started at The Lowry in the same month!

Thirdly I get to look after (from a marketing point of view) projects like Week 53, our festival for the compulsively curious, jam-packed with some of the very best new work from around the world. If it doesn’t fit neatly in to our normal programme of work, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m involved.

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, is audience development. If I had to pick something about my job that I love the most it would be this, and it’s definitely the thing that I’m proudest of so far. In the last year for example we’ve introduced a full time audience development position in to the department for the first time ever, we’ve delivered audience development plans for all of the art forms at The Lowry that are strategic priorities, we’ve introduced free programmes for selected dance productions, we’ve introduced Pay What You Decide performances and we’ve launched an incredibly successful Under 26 Scheme.

Whenever anyone asks me how I am, I’ve got a one-word answer that may be predictable for my colleagues but that certainly doesn’t make it any less true – “amazing”. I get to work with some of the best companies and creatives in the world; I get to work in a job that gets to the very heart of what makes people tick; and I get to do all of that alongside some of the most interesting, intuitive, hard-working, driven and open-minded people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. How could you not be “amazing” every day?!

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