Training Courses

REACH: Strategic Audience Development

05/03/2024 - 06/09/2024

BFI FAN Training Course – Open to all FAN members across the UK

Want to grow the audience for your venue?
Find ways to bring in people who have never been before?
Or diversify the types of people who regularly attend?

REACH: Strategic Audience Development is a workshop-based, project-driven training programme for BFI Film Audience Network members from across the UK who want to build on their expertise in growing and diversifying audiences.

Delivered by leading industry professionals, REACH can make a real impact on your cinema or film festival’s ability to attract new audiences, encourage them to explore independent film and keep them coming back. As you develop a real-life project at your venue or festival, you’ll benefit from several months of tailored support from an advisor.

REACH 2024 will be delivered over six months, with one workshop in London on 5-7 March 2024, project work from March to September 2024, and finishing with an in-person workshop in Nottingham.

This is a UK-wide opportunity open to BFI FAN members from all regional/national Film Hubs. Find your local film hub here.

REACH was created by the ICO. This 4th edition of the course is funded by the BFI Film Audience Network.


05/03/2024 - 06/09/2024


£800 (bursaries available)

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 produce clear results
  • Bringing new audiences to a wider range of films
  • Engaging audiences from diverse backgrounds
  • Encouraging public participation and inclusion
  • Making use of your resources to achieve goals

Programme structure

Module 1 – Audience Development Forum
(5 – 7 March 2024, BFI Stephen Street, London)

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

Module 2 – Project Delivery
(March – September 2024, in your organisations)

Having designed an Audience Development Project, participants will be matched to an expert advisor to help them implement their plans over the course of several months.

Examples of previous REACH projects include:

  • A new weekly Sunday Film Club based in a mixed arts venue to establish a new audience for cinema
  • Using social media to grow young audiences for an arthouse venue by introducing new branding
  • Increasing accessibility in the venue for groups living with Autism and Dementia
  • Increasing young audiences by introducing a new strand programmed by a young programmer
  • Establishing a new network of partnerships between venues in rural areas
  • Engaging family audiences with children aged 7 – 12 who do not attend film events at the venue, but do attend other activities
  • Establishing a community hub for Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the city around film screenings and workshops
  • Hosting a commercially successful two-day festival to generate a new audience for the regular programming strands

Module 3 – Mid-Point Sessions
(June 2024, online via Zoom)

A day of online sessions to provide you with the opportunity to discuss your progress so far, and help work through any roadblocks you may have come across.

Module 4 – Seminar Day and Exit Sessions
(September 2024, Nottingham, venue TBC)

Participants will present their projects to their peers, 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.

Session topics (more to be announced)

Landscape of film exhibition

with Delphine Lievens, Distribution Consultant

The first session in the programme will set the stage for the course by providing an overview of the current state of the exhibition sector. You can look forward to a detailed analysis of data from the past few years, which will offer valuable learnings that can be applied to your audience development project.

Audience research and evaluation

with Kerry Radden, Indigo

You can’t develop your audiences if you aren’t aware of who your audience currently is. Kerry Radden (Associate Director at Indigo) will share insights to help your organisation become more data-driven and knowledgeable about the people who come into your venue, enabling your development work to be more tailored and effective.

Membership programmes

with Ollie Jenkins, Hyde Park Picture House

Membership programmes can be a great way to encourage your most invested audiences to visit your venue more frequently. This session will look at a practical example of how these schemes can be implemented in independent cinemas.

Digital accessibility

with Caspian Turner, Accessible by Design

Whilst the majority of cinemas have now introduced an online box office system, many struggle to make their websites accessible to everyone — limiting audience reach and potentially alienating prospective visitors to your venue. Caspian Turner (Director of Accessible by Design) will show you ways to ensure that every stage of your audience experience is as accessible as possible, expanding your potential audience base and enhancing overall satisfaction.

Audience segmentation

Speaker TBC

It can be difficult to target your audience effectively if you look at them as one homogenous group, so this session is designed to show you methods of breaking down your audiences and enabling you to target them more effectively as a result.

Speakers (announced so far)

Catharine Des Forges

Director, Independent Cinema Office

Catharine has spent over 20 years working in the exhibition sector for a variety of organisations including the BFI and Arts Council England. She has worked as a freelance programmer and arts consultant and progammed for festivals and cinemas both in the UK and internationally. She has lectured on film at a number of UK universities and is a regular contributor to industry events and a frequent filmmaker Q&A host. Catharine founded the ICO in 2003 and has been its Director ever since.

David Sin

Head of Cinemas, Independent Cinema Office

Over the past 25 years, David has worked as a Programmer, Consultant and Distributor, on occasions two or three of these at the same time. From 1998-2002, he was Director of Cinema at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) where he programmed an award-winning season of Japanese experimental film, increased admissions by 100% and also made a success of the ICA’s cutting edge distribution company; releasing over 40 films including Ring, A One and a Two and Kandahar. Whilst Head of Content at the British Film Institute, he co-produced a screening of Borderline staged at the Tate Modern Turbine Hall; and A Throw of Dice with a live orchestra in Trafalgar Square.

Caspian Turner

Director, Accessible by Design

Caspian Turner is a digital accessibility specialist and director of Accessible by Design. Accessible by Design is a digital accessibility consultancy working with arts and cultural organisations in Europe and North America. Before starting Accessible by Design, Caspian held in-house roles at Glyndebourne and Southbank Centre. Following this he was a Web Implementation Specialist at Tessitura Network and most recently held the post of Head of Strategy and Consulting at Substrakt. Caspian is a member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals and an accredited Web Accessibility Specialist.

Kerry Radden

Associate Director, Indigo

Kerry is Associate Director at Indigo, leading on audience-centred projects across the cultural sector. Indigo is a team of audience specialists, driving strategy through audience insight. Kerry has over 20 years of marketing experience, gained predominantly in the arts and charity sector. For over a decade, she ran her own marketing and brand consultancy, working with cultural organisations and charities to design audience and business strategies. Her previous in-house roles included senior marketing and insight roles at Battersea Arts Centre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Kerry holds the Market Research Society Advanced Certificate in Market and Social Research and a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. She loves supporting organisations to become more effectively data-driven and audience-centred in their programming and marketing and to help them communicate with confidence and clarity.

Delphine Lievens

UK Independent Film Distribution and Exhibition Consultant

Delphine Lievens is a freelancer in UK independent film distribution and exhibition. She has previously held roles as Head of Distribution at Bohemia Media, a UK distributor with a specific focus on diverse voices, at Gower Street Analytics as a Senior Box Office Analyst, and at Altitude Films as a Theatrical Sales Executive. Her current work focuses primarily on supporting the theatrical releases of diverse and independent films in the UK, alongside project management, distribution consultancy, box office analysis, and working on research reports. She enjoys discussing current trends in the screen industries and the urgent need for more diversity in film, both on and off screen.

Isra Al-Kassi

Co-founder, T A P E Collective

Isra is the co-founder of T A P E Collective and has a background in events and venue management with a focus on audience development and building partnerships. T A P E is curatorial collective which works across production, distribution and exhibition challenging traditional ways of filmmaking and distribution and looking to demystify the industry for marginalised voices.

Julia Andrews-Clifford

Creative Director, The Electric Palace Cinema

Julia has worked with young audiences for over 20 years, as Education Officer at the BFI, Managing Director of Cineclub the Young Film Network and Manager of Film Hub South East's Young Film Network, devising youth programmes and training opportunities for young filmmakers and film programmers. She is currently Creative Director at the Electric Palace Cinema, and runs the Young Electrics youth curator scheme as part of their youth audience development strategy. Julia is also a qualified teacher and has experience of running workshops and in-cinema activities for 16 - 25 year olds.

Chris Parker

Marketing Manager, Chiswick Cinema

Chris Parker is the marketing and programme manager for Chiswick Cinema and has focused the relatively new independent cinema on a community orientated remit with a series of curated seasons and strands, as well as forging strategic local partnerships. He is developing skills in the marketing sector, but has over ten years of experience across independent cinemas, film festival operations and film production.

Grahame Reid

Film Programme & Customer Service Interim Deputy Director, Macrobert Arts Centre

With over a decade of experience in the exhibition sector, Grahame Reid, an alumnus of the REACH Training Programme, currently serves as the Film Programme & Customer Service Interim Deputy Director at Macrobert Arts Centre. Additionally, he holds the position of Head Curator for the Central Scotland Documentary Festival. Grahame played a pivotal role in enhancing accessibility and engagement through the implementation of a successful pay-what-you-decide model for Macrobert's year-round film programme, the first full-time independent cinema in the UK to do so. Despite a career in film, the consensus appears to be he has a face for radio. In his spare time, he struggles to write bios…


We have delivered four successful editions of REACH. Since running the course, 100% of participants have said:

  • attending REACH had a practical and positive impact on their working practices
  • they would recommend the course to others
  • they considered the course to be good value for money

“As a result of the new approach to audience development which REACH directly informed, we are currently on track to meet our increased admission targets – despite new cost of living pressures – as well as shift the cinema’s audience demographics to be more representative of our local community.”
Ollie Jenkins, Hyde Park Picture House

“REACH supported me in developing a strategic and clear plan for Deaf audience development, a model which has successfully resulted in 100% of our screenings being accessible to Deaf audiences, our marketing clearly communicating our access provision and sustained addressing of the historic trust issues Deaf audiences have with the sector.”
Sean Welsh, Matchbox Cine

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