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Marketing and Communications Manager Clare reflects on almost one year of working at Contact

At this time of year, I’d be expecting to be working out messages around last minute tickets to Christmas shows, or pitching in with the operational team or box office to make sure audiences have the best time possible while visiting us. I’d probably be trying to balance this with looking at the new season shows from September 2021 onwards, and starting to plan a whole new cycle of marketing campaigns.

Still, not being caught up in the rush of managing festive events has given us all a little bit of time to reflect on what we have achieved this year, as a marketing team and as an organisation.

I joined Contact at the beginning of February 2020, at an incredibly exciting time for the organisation. Our capital project was in its final stages, and we were ready to announce that Contact was back with a Capital-B Bang.

By the time lockdown arrived, there was a lot going on in the marketing team to get us ready for reopening. There was a beautifully-designed season brochure undergoing a final check before being sent to the printers (I am still particularly sad that none of you got to see this). There were trailer videos planned, advertising booked in for the summer. When I look back, the speed at which this changed seems unbelievable, although I think lockdown warped everyone’s sense of time!

If we’ve proven one massive strength this year, it’s our ability to adapt as an organisation. Even early on during the pandemic, we were putting out blog posts on everything from store cupboard recipes  to pet Instagram. A Week’s Notice was a particular highlight. Posting a new creative prompt across multiple social media platforms each day for seven weeks needed a lot of planning, but drew in so many people to get involved, even after it ended.

Logo reads: A Week's Notice

We learned how to hype up a livestream event, in particular Our City Speaks, our spoken event with United We Stream, partnered with Mcr City of Literature and Young Identity. By the way, you can catch up on the performances over on our YouTube channel, or in the playlist below.

We’ve been able to learn from every digital event we’ve put on, and each time the process of tickets, links, promoting etc. gets smoother. Hopefully for the audiences it has always been smooth, but underneath the surface we are sometimes paddling frantically!

So, on to 2021. We’ve already announced in our last Keeping In Contact newsletter (which I assume you are all signed up  to – if not, why not, sign-up form is at the bottom of the website) that Queer Contact is returning as a digital festival at the end of February. Behind the scenes, we’re getting all our plans in place to bring you an amazing set of events. Because whether it’s in a venue or through a screen, bringing you these events is what we’re good at.

So you can put a face to my name – heres a picture from ancient times (about four years ago) of me actually at a Contact show! This is the Christmas Mother’s Ruin where one of the queens did my hair onstage which explains the pine cones…

Happy holidays everyone! Clare.

Picture of a woman with dark hair smiling