[short excerpt showcasing possibilities for using computer graphics to engage new audiences in the story of Coventry’s ‘lost’ Cathedral-Priory - 2D/3D/VR. content c/o PJK/‘Coventry Re-built’]
EXPRESSION OF INTEREST - PRIORY VISITOR CENTRE
[ALAN DENYER - OWNER, AWD RESTORATIONS / 07976 897002 / email@example.com]
Please be advised that I wish to be considered as the leaseholder re: the Priory Visitor Centre and Undercroft’s.
In terms of a quick critique -
there’s an interesting story to be told about the ruins and cathedral-priory - but the centre isn’t presently delivering on any of this.
the current displays are out-dated and not at all what today’s audiences want from a historic attraction.
the present layout is poor, with little attention to what might turn an interest into an experience
outside of a small group, the priory has very little visibility within the city, and almost no profile regionally or nationally
visitor numbers are very low compared with other similar facilities, and typically very short duration (less than 10 minutes)
limited resourcing has resulted in restricted opening times
little attention given to potential for grassroots cultural use (widening demographic appeal)
I believe there’s a way to turn this around, with a few simple ideas - and minimal capital outlay / resourcing;
bring in the urban cafe team we had at cet to offer catering plus provide front of house venue custodianship
open 6 days a week (tues-sun), free admission - but with premium (chargeable) element.
introduce a new usp - ‘the coventry VR tour - step back in time to explore the streets of old coventry’ including immersive 2-d film + 3-d ‘explore the priory cathedral, and see how it was in 1530 - ’ experience (to be developed in partnership with ‘coventry rebuilt’ - VR element to be a £5 premium charge* p/p). *free to ‘Go CV’ card holders
tell the priory-cathedral ruin (and several other, related) coventry stories through a series of 20 new info displays (which I’d devise - based on the successful V&A museum ‘story + idea’ approach), arranged around the visitor centre and grounds (self guide tour format).
blackout blinds to allow a change of emphasis to projection-centric multimedia storytelling (flexible, and dramatic - both main visitor centre, and undercroft)
introduce an electronic number lock entry system on the undercroft door so as to facilitate un-escorted visitor access - software restricted outside of opening hours (app based, multiple features to provide enhanced security + engagement).
introduce a rotational programme of grassroots coventry culture displays, and events - showcasing the city’s diversity (thus widening the appeal of the centre, with additional ‘interest strands’ to bring in a new audience - and keep them coming back)
minimise overheads by cutting costs to a minimum (eg. no expensive cityfibre broadband) and seek to establish a core network of volunteers that have the skills to tackle minor repairs/maintenance, provide basic diy, and the people-skills to deliver an engaging customer experience.
running costs to be offset via a new (realistic) focus on donations/events/hires/corporate sponsorship/arts&heritage grants
I’d produce a detailed destination plan to explain the methodology and rationale, including a business plan to show how the elements combine sustain-ably - with the goal of achieving a 10 x increase in visitor numbers/av. visit duration during year 1, building momentum toward the visitor centre playing a key part in Coventry 2021 City of Culture.
I see the project operating as a charity, primarily to reflect the core aim which would be to engage with and provide benefit to the public - however this also assists with business rates relief, that - aside from staffing costs - represent one of the few major risks to sustainability. The experience gained from the CET in regards to venue management and audience engagement is key to making a success of the Priory - and, as a uniquely knowledgeable, resourceful, high net worth business-person (and passionate supporter of arts + heritage in the city) - I’ve both the time, motive and opportunity to provide all the skill sets and oversight needed.