ARC is a multi artform venue in the centre of Stockton on Tees, with an annual footfall of more than 110,000. It offers a full programme of professional, high quality cultural entertainment including music, comedy, drama, dance, spoken word, film and work for families. It has an extensive programme of creative activity for people to take part in, and provide support and development opportunities for professional performance artists. Working with an increasing range of partners across the Tees Valley, North East region and beyond, ARC ensures it is offering the very best cultural activity for Stockton. It also hosts meetings, conferences and training sessions as well as performances by local people. The centre was built in 1997, at a cost of £6.85m, using funds from the National Lottery; it replace existing arts facilities including the Dovecot Arts Centre and the Cannon cinema. It was designed by RHWL Arts Team, and won a Civic Trust Award in 2001. Richard Wilson designed the artwork, which is integral to the building.
ARC has five floors offering four venues: a 260 seat theatre, a 100 seat studio theatre, the music area accommodating 550 standing, and the cinema, seating 130. It also has exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, a café and two bars. The full height glass façade makes the three-level foyer highly visible during the day and at night.
Currently one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations, ARC receives funding from the Arts Council as well as Stockton on Tees Borough Council.
A network for professional drama, dance or spoken word artists to make professional development workshops, opportunities to make and perform work at ARC and to connect to their 160 member strong network.
Big Screen Benefit Scheme
A cinema loyalty scheme. Once subscribe to it, every time audience visit ARC Cinema they will collect points that can be redeemed against future cinema tickets. Save time when booking, no need to give name and address, just remember the Big Screen Benefit Scheme loyalty card.
• 260 professional performances, as well as 80 community performances, attracting audiences in excess of 42,000
• More than 460 film screenings, with audiences of 12,000+
• Employing more than 100 artists to provide 1,000 creative learning opportunities, enjoyed by more than 14,000 children, young people, adults and older people
• Providing professional development and training opportunities for more than 200 artists and practitioners
2015 trial run: Pay What You Decide
System: ARC’s new pricing policy from this spring for the first six months. Dance, drama and spoken word performances will be priced on a Pay What You Decide basis, which means customers won’t have to pay until after they have seen a show. According to ARC, Pay What You Decide not only allows customers to pay what they can afford, rather than a fixed ticket price, but also removes the financial risk of buying a ticket for a show in advance without knowing whether they are going to enjoy it or not. If they haven’t enjoyed it at all, they don’t have to pay anything. All money collected will help ARC pay the artists who have performed.
Result: the trial one-man show Too Much, Too Young, starring Jack Bennett in January, took nearly 50% more than the theatre expected, with almost one third of the audience new to theatre performances at the ARC.
Chief executive of The Arc, Annabel Turpin explained that although the scheme would encourage bigger audiences through potentially lower prices, it is more important to remove the gamble involved in seeing new work at the theatre.
Stockton's Arc is only the second theatre in the country to take up the policy, the other is Slung Low's Hub in Leeds.
Do you think the bold initiative Pay What You Decide is a risk that’s worth taking?
Further Link about Pay What You Will theatre