1. Scottish Ballet’s digital season allowed dance enthusiasts to get closer to the artists than ever before. Head of Sales and Marketing at Scottish Ballet, Charlotte Gross, tells all.

  2. A shining example of how digital technology has changed our lives lies in communication. Just look at the smartphone, which has brought about a connectivity revolution that affords us 24/7 access not just to each other, but to millions of people across the globe via the likes of Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook.

    This monumental shift in the way we share and connect with content has created opportunities for individuals and organisations alike. However, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this approach would be better suited to some disciplines than others, and dance is one that is unlikely to make it to the top of the list. Unless you are Scottish Ballet, who this year pioneered the concept of a digital season.

    “We thought long and hard about our audience and how it would benefit if we launched a digital season,” explains Charlotte Gross, Head of Sales and Marketing and Producer of Scottish Ballet’s digital season. “We were aware that our online audience was growing – a number of people were engaging with us that geographically didn’t have the opportunity to see Scottish Ballet perform,” Charlotte says. “The content we were sharing with our online audience was largely marketing based. However, we wanted to explore the possibility of creating artistic content for that audience, as we would a theatre audience.”

    These early ideas were endorsed and built upon by Scottish Ballet’s CEO and Artistic Director, Christopher Hampson, who was keen to explore the idea of a digital season, a first for the dance company. “As a group we put a lot of thought into what a digital season could look like and how it would work,” Charlotte explains. “We concluded it would need to be multi-faceted, while getting our audience as close to Scottish Ballet as possible. Naming the season Under the Skin encompassed that.”

    Scottish Ballet
  3. Scottish Ballet’s entire digital season was bespoke, “We wanted all of the content to be original,” Charlotte enthused. “Film played a huge part in the season. We worked with the BBC using 360 degree camera technology to produce one of our films. Another, which was sponsored by Baillie Gifford, was produced by award-winning photographer and film maker, David Eustace,” says Charlotte.

    The bespoke digital content also included a live streamed hour-long class led by Christopher Hampson, and a brand new work, created in just one week, “Christopher Hampson commissioned choreographer, James Cousins to create a work in a week, which was quite a challenge. We live streamed rehearsals for 30 minutes each day, so people could see how the work was created. It was a unique proposition for our audience – there are very few art forms where you can see the creative process; it usually happens behind closed doors, where the artist feels safe to explore his or her ideas,” Charlotte says.

    In terms of measuring success, the statistics are a clear indicator. Last year, Scottish Ballet’s films had around 300,000 views. During the digital season alone, they garnered more than 718,000 views, “The level of engagement exceeded all our expectations,” Charlotte says, “We got great feedback, not just from fans of Scottish Ballet but from the industry in general, which was keen to find out more about what we had done.”

    Following its success, Scottish Ballet plans to do another digital season in 2019, as part of the dance company’s 50th anniversary, “We’ll take our learnings from this year’s digital season and build on it for the next one,” Charlotte says.

    The success of this year’s digital season didn’t happen by accident; as Charlotte explains, it had a lot to do with the approach, “Christopher Hampson was insistent that we didn’t create work for the stage, film it and call it digital. He wanted the dancers, choreographers and everyone involved to learn how to create content for this new art form; a meeting of technology and dance. With this project we created something completely new, for which we are all very proud.”