Ashley Smith-Hammond

NTS worked with Culture Republic to evaluate the Tin Forest project and researchers looked at the programme’s digital engagement, community participation projects and attendance patterns.

The Tin Forest was one of the National Theatre of Scotland’s (NTS) most ambitious projects to date. Part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, it invited the people of Glasgow to retell the city’s story and to re-imagine its future.

The Tin Forest started working in December 2013 in four post-industrial communities in Glasgow: Springburn, the East End, Govan and Southwest Glasgow. Community based producers collected stories of Glasgow’s past, looked at the city as it is today and challenged participants to reinvent its future. These projects culminated in summer 2014 in a large-scale event in each area.

During the Commonwealth Games period, The Tin Forest also brought Glasgow’s iconic South Rotunda on the Clydeside back to life – transforming it into a magical arts and performance space, where The Tin Forest story and ten brand new international youth theatre productions were presented to an international audience.

NTS worked with Culture Republic to evaluate the Tin Forest project and researchers looked at the programme’s digital engagement, community participation projects and attendance patterns.

Because of the ambitious scale of the project, its extensive time period and disbursed activity, digital engagement was the most effective way for the NTS teams to communicate about and coordinate with participants and audiences. The project had its own dedicated website thetinforest.com which collected information from across all of the areas of activity hosting videos, photos, tweets, blog posts and listings. The team operated two hashtags for the project – #dearglasgow (to collect the conversation around the hopes and dreams for the city) and #tinforest (to capture conversations around the wider project).

A huge amount of Tin Forest activity and engagement took place on Twitter:

  • The #TinForest hash tag received 4,405 mentions (includes RTs) between 1 March and 31 August 2014.
  • The #TinForest hash tag received 3,308 mentions (includes RTs) between 1 June and 10 August (71 days).
  • 821 Twitter users were recorded as incorporating the #TinForest in their tweet(s) between 1 March and 31 August.
  • 34% of Twitter users including #TinForest in a tweet state their location as being in Glasgow.
  • 17% of Twitter users including #TinForest in a tweet state an interest in Theatre in their description.

As you can see from these few stand-out findings above the hashtag worked to pull together a vast range of audiences and participants from around the city and around the Commonwealth.

Main image credit: NTS Tin Forest Bandstand Event June 2014 by ts Beall and many others (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)