Theatre Trust has put together a toolkit and set of four base scenarios to help theatres to challenge assumptions embedded in their business planning and plan for the year ahead.
Uncertainty has been the norm throughout 2020 and theatre organisations have been adapting to change at an extraordinary pace with each new announcement and variation in restrictions. Hope is on the horizon in the form of the vaccine for a return to fuller audiences in the future but the pace of change remain unknown.
In 2020 we were encouraging theatres to consider the possibility of theatres being unable to reopen until July, November, January or spring 2021 and opening with different levels of restrictions. Many of the ideas we described at that point have come to pass but not always in the order and manner we predicted.
We have noticed that many theatres are approaching planning towards a perceived “most likely” state of affairs and are then redesigning business plans as new information alters what that most likely future might be. The preparation for a “reasonable worst case scenario”, an approach familiar to people who have been watching government briefings, is only as good as the underlying assumptions and, as has become evident, a “reasonable worst case scenario” can be revised and can get worse. Optimism for a return to the theatre is strong and we are concerned that theatres may be put in peril without a broad view of risk.
Theatres Trust has worked with theatres and producers to build a set of four scenarios that represent possible futures. We hope they will be a useful part of conversations around planning for 2021.
You may find the recording of our December 2020 webinar on scenario planning useful alongside the above document.