Our work in Marketing and Audience Development supports Torbay’s organisations and creative practitioners to grow audiences for arts and heritage, helping residents feel connected to and proud of Torbay and helping visitors share our sense of what makes this place unique. We are working to build Torbay’s reputation for excellent arts and culture programming and to make it easily accessible. We are seeking to identify and develop Torbay talent, to create and embed models and frameworks for effective marketing and communications, and to share skills and practices. 


We want Torbay to be on the map as a great cultural centre, brilliantly communicated. We need to grow our reputation for innovative, community-driven arts and heritage in unusual places and spaces and to help our cultural venues to thrive. We also need to get much better at celebrating and commercialising under-utilised cultural assets such as our UNESCO-endorsed Geopark and Agatha Christie heritage.

In order to achieve all this, we have to get better at communicating our arts, culture and heritage offer to residents and visitors, addressing Torbay’s ‘digital black hole’ and leading a creative, editorial-led approach to 'what's on'. Good practices in marketing are currently often isolated to specific initiatives or organisations and the potential to sell the varied offer across the cultural sector in a co-ordinated and targeted way needs to be fully explored.

We need to understand and engage with our audiences more effectively to tackle the gap between our fairly culturally-engaged visitors and our residents who believe the arts are “put on for tourists and not for the likes of me” (Cultural Strategy consultation, 2014). We want to get the message out that Torbay is a creative and cultural place and your life will be better if you join in!


We will commission marketing, communications and audience development expertise to help us raise Torbay’s cultural game. We have three core projects:

The Shorely

The Shorely is a new type of digital culture guide for Torbay communities and intrigued visitors, bringing together contributors from the many creative corners of Brixham, Paignton and Torquay. Specially curated, it is a true “insider’s guide” helping locals to identify the best things to do and raising the profile of our creative movers and shakers. It is run by Wonder Associates and exists on its own web platform and across social media (including an events listing on Facebook):


The 99

The 99 is a “non-audience” research project developed and led by Wonder Associates. Amongst residents in Torbay, there is relatively low awareness of and attendance at cultural venues, activities and events across Brixham, Paignton and Torquay. There are physical, attitudinal and psychological barriers to engagement and getting local people through the door can be tough. The 99 project brought together a panel of 99 non-attending locals to be immersed in Torbay’s cultural offer during 2018. They ventured into an unfamiliar world and we joined them for the ride, using established research methods to find out what they really thought. At the same time, we brought together as many cultural organisations as we could into one room to build partnerships and collaboration across the sector. The research has revealed key findings on how we can better reach, motivate and sustain mass audience attendance to venues and events across Torbay, South Devon: discover what the research has told us.

Audience Evaluation

Whilst discovering and reflecting on how to engage those who don’t typically attend, we are also seeking to understand more about our existing audiences by establishing simple, reliable and sustainable audience data practices. We are supporting individual organisations across Torbay to understand their own visitors, so that they can focus and hone their offer, their marketing and their fundraising plans. Combining this information into a Torbay-wide picture will help us to make the strategic case for investment in culture here, too. Audience development experts from South West Museums Development are working closely with event organisers and venue managers from November 2018 to March 2020.


This project will deliver the following objectives:

  • More residents feel that arts, culture and heritage is ‘for them’

  • Residents and visitors are able to find out about quality arts and culture in Torbay more easily

  • High quality Torbay arts, culture and heritage is more widely known and increases its reach in terms of audience numbers and audience diversity

  • Cultural practitioners gain and make use of new insight into local audiences.


Wonder Associates has been appointed to deliver Marketing and Audience Development including The Shorely and The 99. You can contact Lisa Gardiner on

South West Museums Development has been commissioned to deliver the Audience Evaluation project. You can contact Victoria Harding and her team on

This work is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, as part of Torbay's Great Place Scheme.


July - August 2017: Commission marketing and audience development consultants (complete)
August 2017: Develop digital engagement strategy (complete)
September 2017 onwards: Launched and regularly publish The Shorely (ongoing)
January - November 2018: Develop and deliver The 99 project (complete)
November 2018: Publication of results of The 99 (complete) - download The 99: Final Report
November 2018: Launch of Audience Evaluation project
March 2020: Completion of Audience Evaluation project and final report
April - June 2020: Evaluation

“You have created an amazing and flattering profile of me and I am truly appreciative. All this is so exciting and I love the way Torbay is creatively and culturally buzzing at the moment…”

– Jackie Wills, Textile Artist on The Shorely profile
“Before my impression was very dry, you couldn’t touch and couldn’t interact with it… This was the complete opposite to what I expected”

- Participant in The 99 research project
“Well done The Shorely on showcasing the incredible Doorstep Arts team they are the most nurturing adults leading the most amazing group of young people!”

– Facebook user