Broadway Baby

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The growth of Broadway Baby has been exponential. From a sideline activity on the site back in 2004 when we added just four reviews to a handful of listings, fast forward to 2012 when we published an incredible 1800 reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a team of over 100. But the logistical problems of simply managing things like the scheduling of reviews and tracking copy can quickly sap precious resources which can be better spent elsewhere. Thistle was developed to address the unique problems of managing a large team of reviewers, all with differing availability and a diverse range of interests, then trying to match that with a programme of thousands of performances, each with their own timing quirks and dark days during the festival.

What Thistle does

Thistle dramatically reduces the time taken to create schedules by matching reviewers to shows based on their genre specialisations and availability. For the editorial team it also automatically tracks review progress, deals with missed shows and provides live statistics on reviewer performance.

What does that mean to me?

Thistle means we can deliver more reviews and match the best reviewer to a show to ensure we bring you the best coverage possible. It also means on those rare occasions that we have a problem seeing a show we've scheduled, we can get it back into the diary with the minimum of fuss.

How does it work?

We are immensely proud of Thistle.

At the heart of the system, Thistle knows three important pieces of information. It knows the dates and times of every performance in the programme. It knows the availability of every reviewer and it knows the genres the reviewers are competent in. What used to be a complicated game of 'Cats Cradle' connecting reviewers with shows is automatically worked out and presented to section editors to make the final choice on which reviewer is the best fit for a show. Reviewers can quickly see which shows they have been allocated, update their availability and pick more shows off the priority list. Thistle also allows our reviewers to feedback information about their allocations, such as if they have a conflict of interest since they know someone in the show. Importantly, Thistle tracks all the history of show interactions, so all members of the editorial team know exactly what has happened to a show and where the review should be at all times.

We are, as you can probably tell, immensely proud of Thistle. It is exclusive to Broadway Baby, allows us to do more, be more efficient and provide you with better coverage.

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