To book Spirit of 1868, Free For All, or The First of May Band, please contact:
Tel: 07891 701133
Our aim at Banner is to perform largely to community audiences and each year we do about 60 performances, touring throughout England and Wales, mainly in community centres, social centres, clubs, schools, but also in some arts centres and, very occasionally, theatres.
Banner’s roots lie with the trade union and labour movement and we are booked regularly by trade unions and trades union councils. We are also booked by community groups, racial equality councils, local authorities, schools and colleges, conferences, campaigning organisations and arts venues and festivals.
Recently, as a result of touring with productions about asylum seekers, refugees and migration, we have been booked by a range of community, cultural and educational organisations for events like Refugee Week (held annually in mid-June) and Black History Month (held annually in October).
Recent Banner bookers include arts venues, campaign groups, community centres, community organisations, conferences, schools, trade unions and trade union councils.
Tips on Organising a Banner Gig
Banner Theatre is versatile enough to fit its productions into most venues. Our technical requirements are minimal – access to six 13 amp sockets, a performance area of 5m deep and 5m wide (minimum is 4m by 4m), with a ceiling height of at least 2.6m. We also need level access to the performance area (or a lift if the performance space is upstairs) for loading equipment and blackout on the windows for our lighting to be effective. We bring our own lighting, sound and video equipment and musical instruments.
Consider approaching local groups or organisations such as activist/campaign groups, union branches or trades councils for sponsorship. Ask them if they want to be included on the publicity for the event as this may help to highlight their campaign/ organisation.
Co-sponsors are a great way of spreading the cost and increasing your audience as they will be able to promote the event to their members. This also creates the basis for successful collaborations on future events.
Promoting a Performance
Bookers will tend to know their own communities and how to promote the show to them but we can offer support in doing this. Get plenty of A5 flyers and a few posters publicising the gig to local libraries, arts venues and galleries, bookshops, local authority arts departments, trade union branches, trades union councils, racial equality councils, colleges, cafes, whole food and charity shops, campaigning organisations (like Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Stop the War groups, etc), community groups (councils of voluntary services, tenants groups, etc), the local media (newspapers, radio stations, regional television, what’s on magazines and local events listings) and sympathetic political organisations like the left parties, the Green Party and the Labour Party.
We provide A5 and digital show leaflets (up to 500 flyers are free), which we can overprint with details of your performance – including time, date, venue, admission prices, contact number/s for advance bookings and, if required, a logo of the sponsoring organisation. We can also provide A4 or A3 versions of these flyers that can be used as posters (but may have to make a charge for these to cover the additional cost).
We provide general press releases about our productions and these can be tailored to suit individual performances. We can also supply email flyers about the productions.
The best form of promotion for a Banner shows is ‘word-of-mouth’ through local networks. Paying for an advert in the local newspaper is unlikely to work and can be expensive. It’s better to try and contact the reporter at the local paper who writes about arts and theatre events (often based in the features department) and speak to them directly to get a feature article with a photograph. They are usually obliging and eager to find enough material to fill their pages and developing a relationship with them is something that can be useful for other events. Even better write the article for them so they need to do minimal work! You may also be able to get an interview on local radio.
This promotion and publicity work needs doing about six weeks in advance of the performance and its worth checking with people about two to three weeks before the performance to ensure everything is OK, so that you have some time to do something about it if it isn’t. You can always contact us for further advice
Advance Ticket Sales
Advance tickets sales are the most positive way to get an audience for the show. Give tickets to friends, local trades councils, union branches, campaign groups and co-workers to sell. Include contact information on all you publicity so that interested people know where to buy them.
Although this is a quick and easy publicity route, it’s best not to rely on this alone.
If there are multiple relevant local lists, then it can eventually have an impact if the show is mentioned on various lists, numerous times, by different people. The key is to call or email people individually and ask them to help publicise the show.
Facebook is a useful medium for promotion. Create an Event page, tag all your friends and groups and keep posting that event page to the top of your profile page regularly. Tag Banner, too, and we will do the same on our page. With luck this can create a good viral effect and increase attendance.
As well as creating an Event page it’s also good to do new status updates in the weeks leading up to the gig where you connect people with a particular Banner song that’s relevant to a current story in the news or a current date in history, anything that gives you a decent excuse to plug the show again.
Local Radio/ Net Radio
Encouraging local radio stations to play our music in the week leading up to the show is useful, and may help bring some people in. What really makes the difference, though, is if you can get folks at the local station to make an advert and play it daily for a couple weeks leading up to the show We can send CDs and DVDs to media programmers.
Audio and Video Resources
Our youtube videos are at:http://www.youtube.com/user/banner111
Audio of songs at:http://soundcloud.com/1stofmaybandrecords
In combination these strategies are much more likely to result in a successful, well-attended gig and hopefully invigorate the local activist community. As the old union slogan has it:
Educate! Agitate! Organise! (and book Banner Theatre!)