I was in Peterborough yesterday for a Dark Earth production meeting, which essentially meant two and a half hours of playing with wool, twigs and a tape measure. Oh and lots of talk of pumps, power and preserving peat on the extraordinary Flag Fen site where the play will be performed in September.
The meeting also gave me an opportunity to relive the last leg of my Hairy Biker ride through East Anglia. Flag Fen is right on the cycle route from Peterborough into the Fens (via The Green Wheel and the Fens Cycle Tourism project). Essentially that means you can get from the heart of Peterborough and Whittlesea to Flag Fen (which has plenty of cycle parking) on fabulous traffic free routes.
Naturally that got me thinking. How do we encourage attenders of Dark Earth to think about coming to see the play by bike? I scribbled down some thoughts but I’d be interested to hear your responses and ideas as to what might work…
I started in the obvious place, with discounted tickets. But that’s tricky – we want people to book in advance so whats to stop people claiming a cycle discount three weeks ahead of the show and then arriving by car?
So if that wont work would a discount ticket to another Eastern Angles show work – the seasonal show The Brontes of Dunwich Heath (and Cliff) comes to the Key at the end of January (the show will sell out so not much capacity there for offers) to be followed by River Lane in May. Would that work?
Throw in a free programme (ahem our programmes are likely to be free anyway!) or free drink / refreshment at the venue. The idea of offering an alcoholic drink seems the wrong message – people have got to get back and hopefully families as well as adults would cycle to the show
The added value idea leads you quite naturally to is there something about trying to source a goodie bag for people who cycle in with contributions from the partners, bike shops and other interested partners perhaps. Would that work?
Or there is the age old incentive of the prize draw (cycling kit, vouchers or equipment from a local supplier perhaps?). Another one to muse around.
Then there is the question of whether or not we should be encouraging cycling to the site (and off road) in Autumn evenings (the sun sets around 1940 in September so the return journey would be in the dark). Responsible cycling would need to be encouraged – and with a focus, perhaps, on encouraging cycling on the matinee performances (14,15,21,22 September)
These are just musings for now – and I would genuinely like to hear peoples views / suggestions.