Back at the beginning of September I discovered the wonderful world of the London Theatre Bloggers, a group of theatre and arts bloggers gathered by the lovely Rebecca Felgate of OfficialTheatre.com and united by the #LDNTheatreBloggers hashtag. Having been a solitary blogger since 2012, I jumped at the chance to meet like-minded people and, hopefully, improve my blogging know-how.
Not only is the group a means of networking, sharing content and ideas and generally getting to know some new faces, the scheme also offers tickets to shows across London for bloggers – another obvious draw! So far I’ve seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (disappointing), Sunny Afternoon (joyous) and Grand Guignol (gory but great fun), and also had the chance to chat about it with a lovely bunch of bloggers.
Last week I went along to my first big meet-up of the #LDNTheatreBloggers at Soho Grind, organised by Rebecca and Official Theatre and sponsored by Seat Plan, looking forward to an evening of theatre chats and cocktails – the ideal combination! On arrival we were greeted with glasses of prosecco (always a winner in my book) before having a lesson in how to make the perfect – and thoroughly delicious – espresso martini from Soho Grind’s Adam. And then it was over to us! My team, consisting of bloggers Katie Brennan, Ed from West End Wilma, Sammi O’Neill and Terri Paddock, came up with a cherry- and chocolate-themed espresso martini with the inspired title ‘Starlight Espresso’. Most of the credit must go to Katie for the actual mixing, but shout out to the whole team because WE WON, resulting in an amazing prize of a bottle of prosecco EACH!
Onto the real theatre-y business of the night. James, a developer from Seat Plan, gave us the low-down on their brand new website and explained their aims and plans for the future, and how regular theatre-goers like ourselves can be a fundamental part of process: after all, they are aiming to review every theatre seat in London! A slightly bonkers idea you may think, but I really believe it can be an invaluable resource to people, particularly given the rocketing prices of seeing West End theatre. I’d been aware of Seat Plan for a while now, and have often used it to choose the best seat for my money, but to my shame I’ve never submitted anything. Resolution number one from the evening: go back through my ticket stubs and fill in my seat reviews!
We also had a great group chat about ways to improve readership, how we can help each other out in this respect (sharing is caring!) and how to get the name of your blog out there across the web. I was struck, and more than a little impressed, at how many people have tangible benefits from their blog – not only in terms of free tickets, but in monetising the blog and making at least part of their living from it. Since it’s something I never thought I could achieve, it was pretty inspiring to see the successes of others.
To round off the evening (aside from some more theatre chats, networking and the excitement of a goodie bag), we were treated to a short set from musician and singer Bity Booker, a quirky, wonderful singer-songwriter who gave us a taste of her lovely music-making.
It was a fantastic to see some familiar faces and meet lots of new ones in a wonderful theatre-cocktail-prizes extravaganza. Huge thanks to Rebecca and Official Theatre, James and Seat Plan, and all the team at Soho Grind. Until next time!