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Introducing Co-Women+TOM - a new collaboration for the Reigning Women season

At Co-Women we love collaboration with independent businesses across Sussex, so it was an absolute pleasure and honour to be invited to partner with The Old Market in Hove, for their upcoming Reigning Women series. Running from now until May, Reigning Women season will include a packed schedule of “kick-ass” women performers in comedy, dance, spoken word and more.

According to their website The Old Market, or TOM, as it’s affectionately known to the community, was “opened in 2011 by creators of the global percussive phenomenon STOMP to create an independent hub for the arts in their home city and channel some of their success back in to the local arts eco system.”

The venue is now host to a varied and eclectic mix of theatre, music and dance and is a much loved venue for it’s diverse offerings.

Co-Women founder Jo Child met with the lovely Laura Scobie, The Old Market’s box office manager, to find out more.

Tell me when you started working with The Old Market and how it all came about?

I had worked in various theatres for a while, then I started working at The Old Market as a steward in 2015. Soon after I joined, they were looking for a Box Office Manager, so I applied for the job, and here I still am, 8 years later!

What is your role at The Old Market and what does a typical day look like?

I manage all things box office, so day-to-day I'm responsible for setting shows on sale, editing copy and images for the website, overseeing all ticketing matters, selling tickets over the phone, and working with promoters. I'm also the venue Access Lead, so I am the primary contact for access bookings. I also liaise with schools and groups about bookings and general outreach.

We’re living in strange times. How has the venue been affected by the pandemic and cost of living crisis?

It was all touch-and-go for a while. I'm not going to lie; we all went through the ringer. Those times were so scary and frightening. All we could do was offer refunds, as we had nothing tangible to offer our audiences. It was soul-destroying. But here we are now! The cost-of-living crisis is yet another pandemic. If people cannot afford food and bills, how will they be able to come and watch a show? It's sad because everyone deserves culture in their lives. People shouldn't be forced into an 'either-or' situation. It's so bleak. We want to help and support our communities as much as we can, but we also need to balance this with our needs as a business and the fact the cost-of-living crisis affects us, too.

What changes would you like to see in the hospitality sector to help recovery?

More collaboration. Same as during the worst stages of the pandemic, we need to all work together, not worry about competition, and try to provide some light in the tunnel for each other. The arts have been constantly underfunded over the past decade, whether it's in education, venues themselves, or the production of work. We all need to come together and find a way to survive and strive as one. Whether you're a theatre, cafe, pub restaurant etc., we need to look at what's around us and our locality, and try to support each other in any way we can.

Since you’ve been with The Old Market what have been your highlights?

I'm a theatre girl through-and-through, and I've particularly loved having the company 1927 (Golem, Roots, The Animals and Children Took to the Streets) at our venue. They create unique, thought-provoking works which fuse storytelling, music and animation.

Reigning Women is a season running from February to May. Tell us more about that?

Our Reigning Women season started in 2018. They idea came from a response to the women's marches earlier that same year. We wanted to create a mini-festival that showcases kick-ass women working in the creative industries. It's been going strong ever since. As champions of new and established artists, our dream was to curate shows that discuss womanhood in all its' unique guises, so we can push the boat oit, shake things up and present and champion a wide-range of unique artists to create a festival we can all be proud of.

We’d love to know why you reached out to Co-Women to be partners of Reigning Women?

Again, going back to my point about locality, I think there is lots of scope for businesses to work together. We wanted a way to reach out and make local women-led businesses feel valued in our creative world. After researching local, women-led businesses, Co-Women appeared. The diversity of the businesses represented spoke to us as a potential for collaboration. We are happy to have Co-Women on board.

And finally, we’re all about joy at Co-Women, what is your go to song of joy that always gets you up on your feet?

Currently anything by Jessie Ware gets me dancing. My favourite song of joy, however, is Stevie Wonder's Another Star. It's so good!

You can find out more about Reigning Women and The Old Market here.

Are you a Sussex business interested in partnering with us? Drop an email to

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