A day in the life of... a Marketing Manager

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Izzy Madgwick joined The Old Vic in 2016 and for the past year and a half, she has been working to bring more people through our doors to experience an Old Vic production for themselves. As we approach our third season under Artistic Director Matthew Warchus, we caught up with Izzy to find out more.

What does your job involve?

I am one of two marketing managers at The Old Vic. My job is hugely varied but a big focus of it is selling tickets for all The Old Vic productions and welcoming as many people as we can through our doors. We build marketing campaigns for shows, which are essentially big plans for what we are going to do in the run up to the show opening, as well as when it is on stage. The activities are planned out in this, which could include what adverts we need to book and what emails we need to send. We also look in to ways we can specifically target shows to different audiences, for example with something like Girl from the North Country, which was on this summer, we looked at how we could specifically reach Bob Dylan and music fans, as well as thinking about tourists that might visit the city over the summer months. We also have to monitor sales closely, working with ticket agents and the box office team to ensure the numbers all add up. My other responsibility lies in looking after The Old Vic’s website. We recently launched a new website and I oversaw the project, working with an external web development agency. It was a big project to get everything launched in time and now I need to make sure that the daily running of the site is up to scratch, with one of the main aims being to give people an simple online booking experience as possible.

What do you do on an average day?

When I get in in the morning, I check sales from the day before to ensure that we are on track to hit targets and to look over the seating plan to identify any quiet areas that may need filling. Then I check the website to ensure that everything is in proper working order. My days can differ completely — I could be at my desk analysing booking data or in the auditorium overseeing a photoshoot with cast members. We also work closely with the production, education and development teams to make sure they have all the marketing materials they need and to ensure everything we send out is in The Old Vic brand.

Have you always worked in a theatre? How did you get involved?

I’ve always worked in theatre but didn’t do a theatre degree. I actually studied German and History but loved drama at school and also chose to study theatre as much as possible at university — I took a lot of modules on German playwrights, such as Brecht. When I graduated, I got involved with my local theatre (York Theatre Royal) taking part in a theatre festival called Takeover, which was programmed and run by under 25s. I spent four months shadowing the Head of Communications there and marketing the festival — it was an absolute blast (and very challenging) but after that I knew it was the career for me.

Which part of your job do you most enjoy?

I love being part of the theatre world. Although I’m not a performer, I can still put my skills to use while working in an amazing creative environment with amazing creative people. My job is also full of surprises and it’s fun to always be working on something different. Which part of your work is the most difficult? Juggling everything we have to do on a daily basis. I’ve worked at five different theatre venues and they’re all as busy as each other, so you’ve got to be motivated and full of energy to work in the industry.

What is your best memory of working at The Old Vic so far?

The Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead NT Live broadcast was pretty special. It was an amazing experience to know that the show was being broadcast all over the world. I always get a shiver when sitting in the auditorium to watch a preview and think ‘wow, I work here.’ It’s so special seeing something like Girl from the North Country, that you’ve been working on for months, come to life.

If you were to offer a young person wanting to get into the industry some advice, what would you tell them?

You need to be passionate about theatre — when work is stressful you need to take a step back and appreciate what an amazing industry you are part of. We’re not brain surgeons or paramedics — it’s never a life or death situation, so enjoy it but take your work seriously at the same time.

What is the biggest misconception about working in a theatre?

That it’s a bit snooty with lots of egos. Most of the people who work in theatre are a really down to earth bunch and are passionate about what they do.

Did you have any theatre heroes when you were growing up?

Well, Judi Dench is from York and I still have her signed photo on my fridge, so she’s always been a hero. Also, I had an amazing drama teacher called Mr Crisp, who was really passionate about the kids he taught and got everyone involved in school plays (that always seemed a bit edgier than the normal school play). Even as a year 7 in the chorus, I enjoyed the team spirit of putting on a play and I think that has really stayed with me.

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