The Big Issue, the UK's pioneering weekly street magazine, and WhatsOnStage, the UK's leading theatre website, today unveil "The Big Stage", a new cross-platform venture to serve up the best theatre content to readers of both titles.
The Big Stage, with its branding incorporating both titles' individual logos, launches nationwide in print in this week's edition of The Big Issue - available to buy now from all street vendors - and simultaneously online on both www.whatsonstage.com and www.bigissue.com. Each month, The Big Stage will include a timely lead interview with one of Theatreland's top stars (in today's launch issue, Darius Campbell, who opens this week in Tim Rice's world premiere musical of From Here to Eternity), a Stage Whispers column with the inside track on theatre gossip, Hot Tickets mini-reviews of current shows and a reader offer or competition.
The Big Issue and WhatsOnStage are both long established brands, respected for their high-quality, independent content, and catering for educated, affluent and active consumers. Readers share a passion for theatre and entertainment: 57% of WhatsOnStage site visitors attend the theatre at least once a month, while The Big Issue reader is three times more likely than national average to attend the theatre once a month or more.
The Big Stage content will also be promoted via WhatsOnStage and The Big Issue's extensive, combined social media and email subscriber channels.
The Big Stage builds on a partnership, announced last month, between The Big Issue and the WhatsOnStage Awards, which are run by WhatsOnStage.com and, now in their 14th year, are the UK's only theatre awards decided across the board by the public (with over 60,000 theatregoers voting annually).
The Big Issue magazine has signed up as an Official Media Partner of the Awards, while The Big Issue Foundation, the charitable organisation which helps the magazine's homeless vendors take their next steps off the street, has been adopted as the Awards' Official Charity. Two high-profile WhatsOnStage Awards events – the nominations Launch Party on Friday 6 December and the Awards Ceremony and Concert at the Prince of Wales Theatre on Sunday 23 February – will be held in aid of the charity. Editorial coverage of the Awards events in The Big Issue magazine will further amplify the power of the separate Big Stage section.
About The Big Issue - A hand up, not a hand out: The Big Issue Company, founded by John Bird and Gordon Roddick as a pioneering social enterprise in 1991, offers people who are homeless the opportunity to earn their own money; a livelihood. The vulnerably housed buy the magazine for £1.25 and sell it for £2.50 in targeted consumer hotspots, including key pitches in and around London's West End.
The Big Stage is a joint venture between WhatsOnStage and The Big Issue magazine. Edited versions of this content appears once a month in the magazine, as well as online at www.whatsonstage.com and www.bigissue.com.