Look Out . . . The Brits Are Innovating!

London might have some of the most traditional theatre audiences in the world, but that hasn’t stopped them creating one of the most innovative theatre awards show changes. A change that will get the early adopters talking about their shows, generating word of mouth and ultimately creating demand for them to pop up in other international theatre hubs!


Many producers will tell you that theatre awards make or break a show. If a show wins lots of awards then it will have an easy ride into the future, but if it is overlooked then marketing budgets will need to increase, pennies will need to be saved and all theatrical stops will need to be pulled out to maintain prosperous audiences. Is this true? Not completely.

If a show is the lucky recipient of awards then it certainly does have an easy future ahead. Nothing sells tickets like emblazoning a theatre marquee with ‘Best Musical Tony Award Winner’. But missing out on awards doesn’t necessarily commit you to failure. A little show called Wicked goes to prove that fact. However, what about international audiences?

A large contingent of international audiences solely focus on the entertainment options in front of them. If it isn’t playing at one of their local theatres then they may not even know that this show exists. But the early adopters will – and when it comes to the theatrical industry, there are plenty of early adopters!

Early adopters are the people who get onto trends early. They will be doing their research in their spare time, staying abreast of the international news as it comes out and communicating it to their friends. That is their most powerful quality, they create exceptional word of mouth. Friends, family and colleagues turn to them for advice. Hype builds up among the communities of early adopters. And excitement for any new innovations generally starts with this group. Technology is the best example of this phenomenon as hard-core Apple fans start the ball rolling with interesting facts and hypotheses as we get close to a new product launch until the excitement has made its way throughout society.

So what does this have to do with London’s Olivier Awards?

These awards reflect the best and brightest talent and shows on the London theatre scene at the moment. The shows which are featured on this telecast will be backed by producers looking to tour them throughout the world. But in order to get them on tour, they need to be able to create enough positive word of mouth in new international locations. And this year, the Oliver Awards streamed their telecast live across the world on YouTube.

Early adopters from all over the world will be tuning in to watch it live or on catch up to see what is driving London theatre fans wild. Looking at the really popular shows and starting word of mouth within their own communities until the shows eventually arrive for a local tour. And if you want to get these early adopters talking, the best thing to do is to remove their barriers from engagement which is exactly what this awards show has done.

Look forward to seeing a few new British shows hitting the international tour circuit after this fantastic innovation! (And will the American version, the Tony Awards, do the same thing in June. I would bet you money that they follow suit).