Thank you to the 300+ people who took the time to respond to our Customer Satisfaction Survey. We're excited to share updates, improvements and plans for the future.

Top 5 Positives

We had lots of lovely comments about what we do well - far too many to list. Overall responders felt Mareel and our team are welcoming and ensured everyone is included, we have a varied programme and are invaluable to the community.

1. Cinema | 2. Staff | 3. Facilities & ambience | 4. Festivals | 5. Music

Top 5 things to improve

  • Staffing

    • We have just completed a successful recruitment campaign and have more front line staff starting in the New Year.
    • Hospitality recruitment across the UK is struggling, we are no different and are not immune to challenges with staffing.
    • We are committed to staff development and conduct quarterly all-staff meetings with training. Our past training sessions have covered diverse areas such as Alzheimer's Awareness, Autism Awareness, Dfib training and Customer Service Training.

    • We would like to remind everyone to be kind to the staff that we do have, it's not an easy job at the moment.

  • Inconsistent Cafe Hours

    • Since December, we have had new cafe hours which we are following consistently. As a result of our most recent, successful recruitment campaign, we have hopes to extend these hours.
  • Food & Drink Offer

    • Considering our need for consistency & cost effectiveness, we will not be reverting to the previous hot menu in the cafe.
    • We take great pride in supporting and featuring local businesses within our current offerings.
    • We are actively exploring new and exciting products & ranges for our café, so watch this space...
  • Event Advertising

    • We plan to leverage email communication more effectively. Keep yourself updated on the newest films and events by subscribing to our mailing list.

    • To combat the impact of social media algorithm changes, we will be encouraging our followers to add our Social Media accounts to their favourites so they never miss another update.

    • Getting a new website entirely is a huge financial outlay that we cannot commit to, our website meets current accessibility standards - but we will continue to strive to make our information as clear as possible.

  • More Discussion with the Community

    • Annually, we'll conduct a Customer Satisfaction Survey to ensure we consistently deliver value.
    • We will soon be releasing our 'Hire' guides as an easy to use, transparent guide to hiring Mareel for your band, project, birthday, party or work conference.
    • Our Creative Practitioners Survey is now live, we're eager to hear from you about what support you receive and what could be done to develop it further.

Top Programming suggestions & FAQs

  • Musicchevron-down
    • More live music – Over the past three months we have had thirteen live music events and have scheduled more into the programme for 2024.

    • More local music – We regularly have student music nights in the café bar and have some exciting local music in the pipeline. If you are in a band and would be interested in playing in Mareel, get in touch to find out about opportunities.

    • More DJ nights – We had four DJ nights at the end of the year with more planned for this year.

    • Why are there no standing gigs? – We require SIA trained security staff to run standing gigs, as mentioned previously with the current recruitment challenges and the cost involved in training, this is not feasible at the moment. This has been recognised as a Shetland wide problem impacting a range of organisations and events.

  • Workshopschevron-down

    More workshops – We will continue to plan varied workshops with fantastic tutors; recent workshops include - Make Your Own Ceramic Croft House, Introduction to Aerial Hoop, Stop Motion Animation, Wellbeing Writing and Recording & Editing Music.

  • Filmchevron-down
    • Film programme – Since November, our cinema listings have been programmed by Indy Media who work with various cinemas across the UK. Collaborating with a larger cinema programmer provides numerous benefits, including access to a broader range of films, industry insights, and the potential for exciting collaborations.

    • Why are films not on sale on release day? - When a cinema shows a film from its release date there's usually a requirement to screen it for three shows a day for two weeks. That's a lot of screen space for one film to take up, and, with Mareel only having two cinemas, means other smaller films might not get shown at all. So, we generally only show the biggest films on their release date, and appreciate your patience in waiting for a week or two for the rest!

  • Exhibitionschevron-down

    More exhibition opportunities – We are delighted that Bonhoga received funding for its much needed refurbishment, but this does mean that our exhibition opportunities are limited at the moment.

Thank you again to everyone who filled in our survey, your feedback is invaluable and a vital part of curating a varied and exciting programme.

And thank you to everyone who supports Shetland Arts by coming to the cinema, attending events, signing up for workshops, taking courses, enjoying a coffee, shopping for gifts and liking & sharing our posts on social media.

With your support, we can continue to promote the arts in Shetland, working with the community, schools, youth arts, delivering wellbeing activities and supporting artists & makers with Visual Artist & Craft Makers Awards (VACMA).

We also want to hear from Creative Practitioners - please take our survey and help us find out how the arts community in Shetland is currently supported and what could be done to enable it to develop further.

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