Professional Audience Development for Independent Exhibitors

If you want to understand, grow or diversify your audience, you need a clear plan. REACH is where you’ll create that plan, deliver it and see big changes.


Delivered in partnership with the BFI Film Audience Network, REACH: Strategic Audience Development is a workshop driven, project-based training programme for independent film exhibitors. Audience Development is a workshop driven, project-based training programme for independent film exhibitors.

What will the course cover?

The programme has been designed to fulfill specific audience development needs of the independent film exhibition sector, with specific recourse to:

  • How to understand, research and build audiences

  • Delivering practical projects that deliver clear results

  • Bringing new audiences to a wider range of films

  • Engaging audiences from diverse backgrounds

  • Encouraging public participation

  • Making use of your resources to achieve goals

Programme structure

Module 1 - Audience Development Forum (25- 27 May, London)

Three days of workshops, presentations and case studies will help participants develop a greater understanding of their organisation and the current cinema audience landscape. Participants will be encouraged to use pioneering and proven audience development success stories as the springboard for their own projects.

Module 2 - Pilot Projects (June - Nov 2016, in your venues)

Having designed an Audience Development Pilot Project, participants will be matched to an expert advisor to help them implement their plans. A mid-point group meeting will be scheduled for late August to keep conversations going.

Module 3 - Seminar Day and Exit Sessions (28 - 29 November 2016 (exact dates TBC), Glasgow)

Participants will present their projects to the cohort, with feedback workshops and discussion groups formed from these findings. Participants will have a final advisory session with their matched advisor and case studies will be posted online.

Who are the trainers?

The course will be led by ICO's Catharine Des Forges (Director), who has worked as a freelance programmer, arts consultant and in roles at BFI and Arts Council England before founding the ICO in 2003, and David Sin (Head of Cinemas) who has over 25 years experience in independent film as a Programmer, Distributor and Consultant. They will be accompanied by innovative experts and speakers from the film industry.

Who is the course for?

The project is designed for 18 participants working in independent film exhibition venues and film festivals (including community venues and local film clubs and societies). Participants may be Directors, Programming, Fundraising or Marketing Managers with the ability to affect change and have the authority to undertake a project, or have agreed sign off from senior management in their venues or festivals to instigate their audience development project in their venue.  

This is an advanced level course for professionals who have experience in income building and now want to take the next step in shaping their organisation’s strategy.

How to apply

Please send the ICO your completed Application Form, a jpeg photo of yourself and a Bursary Form (if required) by Thursday 28 April 2016. Click here to Download forms.