REACH new social

Reach: Strategic Audience Development

  • Would you like to grow the audiences in your venue?
  • How about bring in people who have never been before?
  • Or diversify the types of people who regularly attend?

REACH: Strategic Audience Development is a workshop driven, project-based training programme for independent film exhibitors who want to learn from experts about how to strategically grow audiences. 


Tue 12 Sep 2017 to Tue 6 Mar 2018
Watershed, Bristol / London, tbc
12-14 September 2017 + 5-6 March 2018

The course is designed to help you deliver real change in the audiences for your cinema or film festival. Taught by experts in audience development, you will learn effective strategies to grow and diversify audiences.

The deadline to apply for this course is Wednesday 26 July. Read more about bursaries to help you with the course fees, accommodation, child care and travel here.

The course is delivered over six months with one workshop in Bristol in September 2017 and another in London in March 2018. We are delighted to be in partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network for this project.  

What does the course cover?

The programme has been designed especially for independent film exhibitors (including cinemas, film festivals and community screens), looking closely at:

  • How to understand, research and build audiences
  • Delivering practical projects that deliver clear results
  • Bringing new audiences to a wider range of films
  • Engaging audiences from diverse backgrounds
  • Encouraging public participation
  • Making use of your resources to achieve goals

Programme structure

Module 1 - Audience Development Forum (12 - 14 September, Bristol)

Three days of workshops, presentations and case studies will help participants develop a greater understanding of their organisation and the current cinema audience landscape. Participants will be encouraged to use pioneering and proven audience development success stories as the springboard for their own projects. This section is led by experts with a proven track record of working with venues facing all kinds of audience challenges and with high aspirations.

Module 2 - Pilot Projects (October 2017 - March 2018, in your venues)

Having designed an Audience Development Pilot Project, participants will be matched to an expert advisor to help them implement their plans.

Module 3 - Seminar Day and Exit Sessions (5 - 6 March 2018), London)

Participants will present their projects to the cohort, with feedback workshops and discussion groups formed from these findings. Participants will have a final advisory session with their matched advisor and case studies will be posted online.

Who are the trainers?

    The course will be led by ICO's Catharine Des Forges (Director), who has worked as a freelance programmer, arts consultant and in roles at BFI and Arts Council England before founding the ICO in 2003, and David Sin (Head of Cinemas) who has over 25 years experience in independent film as a Programmer, Distributor and Consultant. They will be accompanied by innovative experts and speakers from the film industry.

      Who is the course for?

      The project is designed for 18 participants working in independent film exhibition venues and film festivals (including community venues and local film clubs and societies). Participants may be Directors, Programming, Fundraising or Marketing Managers with the ability to affect change and have the authority to undertake a project, or have agreed sign off from senior management in their venues or festivals to instigate their audience development project in their venue.  

Supported by

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FAN logo

"Really impressed by level of speakers and breadth of information. I am now much more aware of my role in my organisation, how I can integrate with other departments and where my organisation is situated with the entire industry. It is vital to understand other people’s roles in order to understand your own properly."

Joan Parsons, Duty Manager, Showroom Cinema

Independent Cinema Office

3rd Floor, Kenilworth House, 79-80 Margaret Street, London W1W 8TA
T: 020 7636 7120 F: 020 7636 7121 E:

Registered in England and Wales. Company 5369193.
ICO is a registered charity No. 1109053