by Flying Geese Consultant, Beckie Smith

Screen shot of Culture in Common website home page


With a view of securing Arts Council NPO status in 2022 we worked with Gloucester Guildhall to develop a new strategic business plan for the next 5 – 7 years. Gloucester Guildhall is Gloucester’s flagship arts venue. 

It was vital that the new Gloucester Guildhall was at the very heart of the people, the culture and the economy of the city so we mapped the key stakeholder groups and conducted a thorough consultancy process.

What we did

Tactics included, one-to-one interviews with the staff on perception of the Guildhall, and a thorough resident’s survey for users and non-users which looked into perception and understanding of the Guildhall and its value to the community as well as people’s experience and behaviours with other cultural offers.  We also conducted a street survey for non-users and held one-to-one conversations with residents, focus groups, community groups & community influencers.  We identified target audiences using publicly available data (Census data and EAPR data) and overlaid it with the data from our research to identify three key target audiences based on current market acquisition (current audiences), future market growth potential (future audiences) and the balance between the Council’s priorities of income generation and community development.

We facilitated a half-day workshop that saw key people within the team come together to contribute towards strategic goals which we then developed and refined.

We developed a programme of recommendations that put audience engagement at the very heart of the programme – facilitating that first steppingstone of engagement, nurturing them to grow in bravery and develop confidence in the venue. Our programme focused on boosting first-time audiences but also enabled existing audiences to develop their relationship with culture, so they could see a greater variety of work, build sizable audiences and generate income.

We developed a series of strategies that would take The Guildhall into the future which included a digital programme, a partnership programme, community curated programme, ‘Let’s create’ programme and a capital development strategy.

Our business plan was supported by an intricately presented set of accounts and projected accounts to demonstrate investment and projected return over the course.

Legacy and Impact

We were delighted to learn that our business proposal for the Guildhall was successful in securing Arts Council NPO status in the 2022 selection process. Not only did the Guildhall team have a clear and methodical business plan to inform their future decision making but the council had confidence that the plan was robust, rooted in data and was developed in consultation with the communities. The impact and influence of the business plan was not limited to just the Guildhall, but the city as a whole, as the series of strategies that supported the plan, brought different aspects of city life together, making sure that The Guildhall really did have a future that was at the very hub of the city’s cultural offer.