2018 – A year in review

18 December 2018
Season's greetings written in fancy text, with some snowflakes in the background. Ahhhh!

Website launches, talks and events, cool projects with ace clients, and a growing team – it all happened in 2018 …

Brand new for 2018

New Adventures
A visual feast of a website for Sir Matthew Bourne’s peerless dance theatre company.
This was also the year in which Sir Matthew announced New Adventures’ next brand new production … Romeo and Juliet, which will premiere and tour the UK in Spring 2019. Exciting times!

New Adventures website homepage, with large video trailer for Swan Lake

Bristol Old Vic
Guiding a 250-year-old theatre and heritage venue into the digital age.
A milestone year for this beloved 252-years-old-actually institution, Bristol Old Vic reopened its doors following a major capital renovation/building project in September. And it is pretty special – we wrote a bit about the opening in Bristol Old Vic’s grand unveiling, including some photos which don’t do the place justice, so visit!

Bristol Old Vic homepage – a large image for a production of Twelfth Night

Welsh National Opera
A dual language website celebrating this national opera company's 200+ people. This neat, clean and easy to use website hides a tonne of smart work under the hood, including some clever Tessitura API integration. It was also our first dual language website. Josh and I put together some helpful tips about planning for a multi-language website.

Midlands Arts Centre
An easy to use website (and seriously fun identity) for one of the UK's best-loved arts centres.
We’ve been working with MAC since launching their website over 5 years ago, and towards the end of last year we revamped their visual identity.

This year saw the biggest change to the website since it first went live – with a complete design change to match the new brand identity, and a load of functionality tweaks and improvements. (Using the same base as the original website, meaning what’s essentially a whole new site took a fraction of the time/budget to create. All the wins!)

Midlands Arts Centre website homepage on desktop, event page on mobile and course finder on tablet view

Errr, Supercool – In the summer, we set this very website live. It explains a bit more about us and what we do, and we’ve whittled-down nigh-on 15 years worth of projects (!) into a more succinct selection of case studies.

Out and about

In March, James teamed-up with Caroline Aston, Audience Insight Manager at Chichester Festival Theatre, to talk to folks at the Ticketing Professionals Conference in Birmingham about preparing for your next big on-sale.

The talk was super-popular – and “brutally honest and brave” – so James and Caroline were asked to do an encore in May, at UK Theatre's Box Office Conference in London.

If you missed out on both talks, here’s our write-up: Preparing for your next big on-sale.

July saw new(ish) team member, Kate Mroczkowski learning about The Power of Play at the AMA Conference in Liverpool: Let’s play – what I learnt at this year’s AMA Conference.

James on stage at Leeds Town Hall, as part of Spektrix Conference 2018
James on stage at Leeds Town Hall, as part of Spektrix Conference 2018

In September, James was on stage again – this time at Leeds Town Hall, as part of a Spektrix Conference panel discussion about digital innovation in the arts.

He talked about our work with Midlands Arts Centre, who welcome over 1,000,000 visitors, and host nearly 400 performances, 900 films and 1,300 creative courses every year. That’s a lot of listings – which is where our powerful search with instant results comes in handy.

Kate was in Liverpool talking about cross and up-selling online at the Ticketsolve User Forum in October, and we were on the road again in November. This time James and Kate popped to Manchester for the 2-day Tessitura European Conference (of which we were a sponsor). And finally, another AMA outing – James was in London for the AMA’s Digital Day earlier this month.

Cool projects, accessibility a-go-go, and a growing team

As well as new launches, and day-to-day upkeep and iterative improvements to websites, we got to work on loads of ace one-off projects with clients. Here're just a few of them:

Scottish Ballet Make A Wish campaign microsite homepage

Scottish Ballet’s Make A Wish campaign to thank Scotland for 50 years of support. We gathered hundreds of wishes – from a chance to dance with the Company to a flash mob on a ferry – and tens of thousands of votes. An esteemed jury, including Dame Darcey Bussell and Susan Calman, will be picking their top five wishes, which Scottish Ballet will make come true in 2019.

We worked with New Adventures to create a Swan Lake timeline, celebrating 23 years of the iconic show. And with the functionality to build timelines now baked-in to the site, the New Adventures team can build timelines for all shows.

James and I were lucky enough to attend the swanky, star-studded Gala performance of Swan Lake at Sadler’s Wells in December. And, wow! If you want to see men mind-bogglingly-convincingly transformed into swans, it’s on tour across the UK until May.

We harnessed the power of Spektrix’s donations web component to create one-click ‘add to basket’ donations for Chichester Festival Theatre’s Ageless campaign. It was a Giving Tuesday success, with a considerably higher average donation amount than last year’s campaign. (A simple case of helping people understand how their donations will help, and offering suggested gift amounts.)

Long-time accessibility advocates, this year we worked with Bristol Old Vic, Buxton Opera House, Chichester Festival Theatre and Midlands Arts Centre to further improve their respective online offers for assisted performances. Accessibility’s a big part of our work so it’s great to have Sally McGrath – developer, accessibility specialist extraordinaire, and maker of cool robot stuff – on the Supercool team.

In November the very-newest Supercooler, developer Pete Nelson, made sure that our 4 client venue on-sales for Ian McKellen’s 80th birthday tour in 2019 went smoothly; including a ticket ballot for Chichester Festival Theatre.

Some nifty TNEW styling and integration has just gone live on City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s website, making donating and becoming a member online infinitely easier to do.

Finally, we’ve done loooooads of exciting work with the awesome team at Town Hall Symphony Hall (THSH) in Birmingham over the past year, including using some smart data analysis to make improvements to their online fundraising.

And in perfect timing for Christmas, we’ve launched a simplified Name A Seat integration for THSH. You can now donate and name seats in Symphony Hall online without the need to fill-in a paper form – and it all integrates seamlessly with Spektrix. Smooooth.

To celebrate, THSH have a £5 raffle to win your very own seat dedication – enter by midday on Friday 21 December.

We’re looking forward to continuing to put our collective design, tech and data skillz to good use in 2019 – including on brand new website projects with Eden Court, Sheffield Theatres, and Traverse Theatre.

In the meantime, have a relaxing festive season – warmest winter wishes from the team at Supercool!

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