MBA Students in the Spotlight at Norwich Theatre Royal – By Faay Vonpen

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Having been away from our homelands to study at one of the most historical cities in England for few months, a touch of art and culture is what we desired to experience apart from being super studious MBA students at Norwich Business School.

On 15th February, as our first academic trip, we finally checked being on the stage off our bucket lists at Norwich Theatre Royal, one of the biggest and most flourishing theatres in the East of England.

First thing we learned was being in the spotlight was incredibly overwhelming!

But hold on! We weren’t there to perform a show (perhaps one day we should add an acting class in the module!) but we had a fantastic chance to travel through 250 years of time by exploring the backstage with Jason Raper, Theatre Royal’s Educational Manager who provided us a fantastic story about the backstage works at the theatre, where we can see from fantasy dressing rooms to a mix of traditional and modern backstage techniques.

After the backstage tour, we joined the marketing talk event conducted by Marketing Director – Mark Hazell,  who provided us insightful information of marketing works at the theatre. This included a case study of marketing campaign plan for the play “Shrek” back in July 2015.

Learning how a unique industry like theatre create a marketing campaign in a real situations was an eye-opening experience. During the talk we also had a great opportunity to ask questions and discuss about marketing strategy with Mark where we could apply knowledge that we have already learned from our MBA course. We realised how the theatre segmented their customer by 5 groups of behavior including traditional, fun & fashion, mature explorers, dinner & show and family & community.


Moreover, Mark revealed that the fact that the cultural provision per head of populations in Norwich is higher than any other UK cities is the key advantage which allows Norwich Theatre Royal to stay successful. This trend is expected to continue as the night-time economy is growing.

The trip was not only insightful for MBA students, but also for Mark Hazell – “Our annual visit from UEA’s MBA students is always an interesting and stimulating occasion. With a group drawn from all over the world, their perspectives on culture and marketing are truly diverse, and regularly provide substantial food for thought.  They also ask the most demanding and insightful questions of any group we engage with.  As well as letting them know about what the Theatre Royal offer the local community, we try and provide them with a broad view of cultural provision in Norwich, and hope that the business insight we offer makes a positive contribution to their educational and artistic enrichment.”


The academic trip to Norwich Theatre Royal was truly remarkable and inspiring. We were glad and honoured to support Norwich’s local industry and will definitely be back again to see more shows!

With thanks to Faay (Mehkala) for contributing to the NBS blog.


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