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> CASE STUDY

Project: Proper clever Facts and links to the online resources and theatre production by Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and MediaSnackers The arts organisation: Liverpool Playhouse began life as the Star Music Hall in 1866 and was converted to its current configuration in 1911 on the formation of the Liverpool Repertory Company, one of the first reps in the country. The Everyman was established in 1964 in what had originally been built as a chapel in 1834. Also a rep company, the Everyman had a less formal, younger and more politicised ethos than the Playhouse, and it went on to create pioneering, socially engaged drama, to inspire generations of young theatre-goers, and to launch the careers of a prodigious range of writers and performers. In 1999, the Everyman and the Playhouse were joined together under a single management: a new organisation created for the new century, to take the city’s producing theatre forward. (From www.everymanplayhouse.com) The social media specialists: Media snacking is a term DK coined back in 2006 to describe what young people were – and still are – doing with the media. DK has an educational background in communications and media, plus a professional background in local government – he was the first Corporate Youth Officer for any UK local authority. MediaSnackers has been going for three years now, but DK’s approach is essentially the same: among MediaSnackers’ brand beliefs are ‘real life has more bandwidth’, ‘everyone has something to teach’, ‘conversation over advertising’ and their overarching mantra, ‘everything we do must kick ass’. (From http:// mediasnackers.com/manifesto) The show: Proper Clever was a threeweek production for a youth audience which ran in October 2008. Written

by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, author of 24 Hour Party People, Millions and Cosmic, Proper Clever is a tale of friendship and identity centred around a group of year 10s who, far from being too cool for school, are a band of bookloving nerds who find strength in their united geekdom. ‘Patrick had a spiritual experience, in Pwllheli. Matthew’s in touch with his feminine side. Rachel likes rules and Bex is confused. They’re the gang and they’re Proper Clever. Then Claire arrives and takes charge. Together they’ll be invincible … or at least not very vincible. As they face the girl everyone’s talking about, it’s a battle of clever versus smart, geek versus chic and how to satisfy the hunger for knowledge when everyone’s eating burger and chips.’ (From www. everymanplayhouse.com/whats-on/ show-detail.asp?id=218) The project: MediaSnackers created a dynamic web presence for Proper Clever by launching a specific blog for the production packed with insights, slideshows and video interviews (www.properclever.co.uk, hosted on WordPress.org). They trained up some of the staff so that they could post ‘behind-the-scenes’ photos and videos; they also involved local young people by giving them the tools and skills they needed to become ‘digital journalists’ for the three-week run of the production. Their role was to create fresh content for the blog (now closed – only used for the specific run), spread the buzz online and engage their peers and other blog readers by using a wide range of online and social media. The cast got involved in the promotion of the production too: on the virtual hotseating page, the actors from the play took turns to meet online to answer the audience’s

questions and chat about Proper Clever from their character’s point of view. (Go to: www.properclever.co.uk/ virtual-hotseating) The Proper Clever project also explored new ways of communicating to young people using their medium of choice – mobile phones. A series of mobile vouchers – snack-size mobile movies including extra scenes from the play – were filmed and propagated via Bluetooth, so that they wouldn’t cost anything to send or receive. The vouchers were distributed with the help of the members of the Everyman and Playhouse’s youth theatre and forum, plus the digital journalists and other staff. People could also pop in to the box office to pick one up, or to use their voucher to book a ticket for one of the Proper Clever shows at a reduced rate. Over 200 young people used a mobile voucher, and some even started collecting them and sending in requests to receive the whole series. (Go to: www.properclever.co.uk/mobilevouchers)

Sarah Ogle, Communications and Sales Director, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse e s.ogle@everymanplayhouse.com

DK, Founder, Mediasnackers mediasnackers.com/contact Visit www.properclever.co.uk

DK will be a keynote speaker at the AMA’s digital marketing day on Monday 30 November at Sadler’s Wells, London. For more information and to book a place, please visit www.a-m-a.co.uk or email emma@a-m-a.co.uk JAM 36 > 9

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