Training Courses

REACH: Strategic Audience Development for Independent Exhibitors 2016

25/05/2016 - 30/11/2016

Applications now closed.

Nothing is more important than your audience.

If you want to understand, grow or diversify your audience, you need a clear plan. REACH is where you’ll create that plan, deliver it and see big changes.

Delivered in partnership with the BFI Film Audience NetworkREACH: Strategic Audience Development is a workshop driven, project-based training programme for independent film exhibitors.

We recruited 18 participants for this course which kicked off in May 2016 in London.


25/05/2016 - 30/11/2016



What the course covers

The programme has been designed to fulfill specific audience development needs of the independent film exhibition sector, with specific recourse to:

  • 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 (25- 27 May, London)

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.

Module 2 – Pilot Projects (June – Nov 2016, in your venues)

Having designed an Audience Development Pilot Project, participants will be matched to an expert advisor to help them implement their plans. A mid-point group meeting will be scheduled for late August to keep conversations going.

Module 3 – Seminar Day and Exit Sessions (28 – 29 November 2016, Glasgow)

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.


This course ran in 2014 with 100% of participants saying they would recommend the programme to others.

Over 75% rated Module One of the course as “excellent”.

Over 75% rated the range and knowledge of speakers as “excellent”.

100% of participants said participating in the programme has had a positive impact on their work and/or career. Commenting:

“How inspiring it was! I feel so much more knowledgeable, experienced and confident. Very inspired to put into practice things I’ve wanted to achieve for a long time. I was appointed as Audience development Coordinator (successful application) following the first part of the course! This [course] has probably had the most impact on my career and outlook. I would definitely recommend without a thought. I am grateful for the opportunity. It has equipped me with a great deal of things to take further both in my organisation and professional development.” – Laura Hegarty, Learning & Engagement Coordinator Showroom, Sheffield

“I have developed  this as an ongoing project. It’s been a wonderful responsibility and has vastly improved my professional relationships with film department and box office etc. I presented it to the board and I think that for the first time I have made a case for myself as a strategic thinker.”(Name withheld)

“Networking opportunities as well as getting guidance and advice from people with years of experience [was great]. It helped me think differently about programming and reassure me the work I’m doing is actually good and on the right path to achieve what we want in the future.” – Damien Greco, Hull Independent Cinema Project

“Really informative. Helped me think and investigate outside my comfort zone, developing me and my role within my organisation. [I now have] more understanding of audience demographics and their importance in looking to develop them.” – Grahame Reid, Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling

“REACH really helped me to get my thinking out of the day-to-day and to think longer-term about our film audiences. Through this project, we collected over 5,000 email adddresses and have been able to start building new, successful relationships.”- Jen Chapman, FACT Liverpool

“Excellent. Really stimulating and useful. Great networking. Fab speakers, mentors and participants. Inspirational expertise. Really practical with useful resources. Thank you!” – Jane Woodason, Education, Events and Marketing, Light Cinema New Brighton

“A really terrific course. Great input, but great to have the opportunity to network.” – Tom Brookes, Film Programmer Kinokulture Cinema

“Great chance to meet new peers and to compare notes and be inspired by other people’s ideas and actions. Lovely to have the insights from people with such experience – including guest speakers and other trainees.”- Toki Anison, Audience Development Manager, The Courtyard Hereford

2015 cohort

Abi Standish, Audience Development Assistant, Showroom Cinema

Alice Cabanas, Director – Head of Communications and Development, Encounters Festival

Claire Vaughan, Programme and Learning Officer – Film and Cinema, Chapter Arts Centre

Colm Forde, Programmer / Co-director, Doc’n Roll Films Ltd

Gwen Sion, Arts Marketing and Communications Manager, Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre

Isabella Garcia, Cinema Audience Development Officer, Darlington Hall Trust (The Barn Cinema)

James Burbidge, Marketing Manager, Regent Street Cinema

Jeni MacDonald, Marketing Officer, Eden Court Theatre & Cinema

Jessica Thomas, Marketing Officer, Gulbenkian

Jo Mohammed, Independent Programmer, Elsewhere Cinema / Liverpool Small Cinema

Johanna Leech, Programme Manager, Strand Arts Centre

John Addis Harvey, Film Officer, Dumfries & Galloway Council

Kate Coventry, Cinema Projects Supervisor, G1 Group (Grosvenor Cinema, Perth Playhouse)

Maria Fe Valen, Assistant Programmer & Projectionist, Ipswich Film Theatre Trust

Melanie Pearson, Founder & Co-Director, Magic Lantern Film Club

Rhys Roberts, Coordinator, Gwallgofiad / Cellb

Salla Virman, CEO/Director, HMM Arts Ltd (The Hive)

Selina Welter, Marketing Assistant, Warwick Arts Centre

2014 cohort

Carlota Larrea, Head of Programming, Hitchin Films

Becky Innes, Trustee & Family Film Festival Programmer, Cambridge Film Trust

Kate Ross, Film Programmer, JW3

Tamiko Mackie, Head of Cinema, The Maltings

Damien Greco, Film Programmer, Hull Independent Cinema Project

May Davies, Programme Manager, Signal Film and Media

Jen Chapman, Head of Marketing & Communications, Picturehouse at FACT

Ruth Heritage, Creative Director, They Eat Culture

Jane Woodason, Education, Events & Marketing Manager, Light Cinemas

Alice Quigley, Marketing Coordinator, Queen’s Film Theatre

Grahame Reid, Film Programmer, macrobert

Fiona Fowler, Marketing Officer, Screen Machine

James Tully, Film Officer, Worthing Theatres

Mairin Colleary, Chair, Seaford Community Cinema

Nancy Sheterline, Marketing and Press Assistant, Exeter Phoenix

Toki Allison, Deputy Marketing Manager, The Courtyard

Miriam Hall, Marketing Officer, Wyseide Arts Centre

Tom Brookes, Film Programmer, Kinokulture

Subscribe to our mailing list

What would you like to receive emails about? *
* indicates required