Bank On Show Success – INN CROWD at The Art Bank, Shepton Mallet

“We can bring theatre to rural areas, including rural towns, which helps people who don’t have transport and are able to walk to the shows. For us that is a massive selling point.”

Lucy Smith, co-director of The Art Bank shares how INN CROWD shows help make live theatre accessible for people living in rural areas…

The Art Bank, www.artbank.org, housed in a former high street bank and home to the Art Bank Cafe and Rubbish Art Project (a not-for-profit organisation that takes waste materials from local businesses, charity shops and individuals and helps local artists and people transform them into thought-provoking art), is a creative centre for people living in Shepton Mallet and surrounding villages which offer opportunities to support creative wellbeing.

The venue’s offer works at improving social cohesion in the town of Shepton Mallet and beyond by offering a hub for creative connection and collaboration and offers a friendly, nurturing and inclusive space where people can get together, talk and collaborate.

Lucy Smith, co-director of The Art Bank, says: “The key focus of The Art Bank is bringing people together under the focus of creativity by providing a creative hub in the centre of the town.”

Enticing ents offer

The vibrant and innovative venue offers a range of entertainment and activities, including live music, comedy, open mic and spoken word nights and community exhibitions, creative workshops, repair café and live theatre.

The Art Bank has now hosted several successful INN CROWD shows, with more exciting live performances booked for this year.

Shows help bring theatre to rural areas

Lucy says: “We would struggle to be able to finance hosting live theatre without the subsidy you get for the shows from INN CROWD, which means we can bring theatre to rural areas, including rural towns, which helps people who don’t have transport and are able to walk to the shows. For us that is a massive selling point.”

She adds: “We enjoy the different crowds the shows attract. You get an eclectic mix in for the INN CROWD shows. They bring in a variety of people, which means there is a different vibe inside The Art Bank each time. The shows help bring people in supporting the bar and the venue.”

Excellent customer reviews

As well as the thumbs up from The Art Bank team, the shows are also always well received by its customers.

Customer reviews of a show by poet and performer Jonny Fluffypunk, jonnyfluffypunk.co.uk,  called ‘If We Just Keep Going, We Will Get There In The End”, which was hosted at The Art Bank in November 2022, include: “The intimate atmosphere you have at this type of show, with a performer of such quality and practice was absolutely fantastic. I was moved to tears several times and that isn’t an experience I get very often, even in the best of theatre performances. I value that highly.”

Another attendee said: “Although the venue is half an hour away from where we live, we think maybe this will be our new local to come and see these shows. If the shows are going to be of this caliber we are in.”

Booking recommended

The Art Bank’s Lucy says she would recommend the shows to other venues. She says: “It is a really accessible platform. It is very straightforward to work with INN CROWD and bookings and performances are well-supported by its team. The shows are definitely worth doing.”

Lucy’s Top Tips on Hosting

  • Advance marketing – as soon as you know you have got the booking start marketing. Get the show and date on peoples’ radar to get people signed up as soon as you can. The timeline of marketing is very key.
  • Try something new – you will really enjoy looking through the range of different upcoming INN CROWD shows. We always find it really exciting choosing which shows to book.

The host touring scheme for the Art Bank is Take Art. INN CROWD is funded by Arts Council England.

The lead partners are Applause Rural Touring, Creative Arts East and the National Centre for Writing.

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