Bury St Edmunds Theatre Management Limited
Several of the current non-executive Directors/Trustees of Theatre Royal are due to stand down over the next year having completed two three year terms (the maximum allowed under the Theatre’s constitution). The Board is therefore seeking new non executives, initially to be appointed for three years but with the prospect of a second three year term. The roles are unpaid.
As is the case with most small charities, as well as performing a governance role, Trustees are expected to provide practical assistance and support to the executive team in areas in which they are qualified to do so. Invitations are invited from all those who feel they have something to contribute but preference will be given to individuals who are qualified and experienced in finance, the law and human resources. Experience of income generation in an arts context would also be desirable.
This is an exciting period for Theatre Royal, with lots of new activities and with the 200th anniversary in 2019 when a diverse range of events are planned. The non-executive role at Theatre Royal is both engaging and demanding. This is a real opportunity to assist in the development of the Theatre and more broadly the cultural life of the area it serves.
The current Board comprises eight non-executives and the chair. The Theatre’s CEO, finance lead and company secretary attend all Board and finance committee meetings but, in conformity with Charities Commission guidelines, are not Board members. The full Board meets every other month, with the Resources Committee (chiefly concerned with finance) meeting in intervening months, attended by roughly half of the Board members. Most meetings are held in the early evening. As well as preparing for and attending Board meetings, non-executives are expected to provide specialist expertise when required and actively to participate in Theatre activities, including attending fundraising events. In effect non executives are ambassadors for Theatre Royal. It is difficult to provide an estimate of the likely total time input but it is unlikely to exceed two to three days in any month.
Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds
All those who might be interested in these roles are encouraged to visit the Theatre’s website to gain an understanding of the breadth of Theatre Royal’s activities. In summary the Theatre is hugely more than an arts venue. It has a very active youth theatre with its own dedicated director, providing training to children and young people interested in a career in theatre and mounting its own performances, as well as playing a leading role in the annual pantomime. The Associate Artists’ Programme involves working with a range of artists developing new material and working with different groups within our local and regional community, for example women who have been exposed to domestic violence, homeless people, the elderly, people with learning disabilities and recovering drug addicts.
About 50% of the programme on stage is taken up with performances from visiting companies, spanning well known classics and new works. In addition, Theatre Royal also hosts other performing arts including ballet/dance, opera and a range of comedy, talks and special events. Roughly a further quarter of the stage time available is used for the Theatre’s own productions. These are primarily directed by the Theatre’s CEO, Karen Simpson, or an Associate Artist. Producing new drama is financially challenging and this has resulted in a new production roughly every other year. In 2017, Northanger Abbey toured to ten other regional theatres and, in 2015, Sign of the Times toured to three. In terms of seats sold the most significant production each year is the pantomime which runs for six weeks over the Christmas period and plays to well over 20,000 people.
The annual turnover of Theatre Royal is about £1.6 million; roughly 10% of this is provided as grants from our two local councils (Suffolk County and St Edmundsbury) and a further 15% is raised as donations from local businesses and individuals, from charitable trusts and from fundraising events. The balance of income is earned from the net proceeds of ticket sales (of which the annual pantomime is the largest contributor by far), from ancillary activities like programme sales and from project funding. Karen Simpson has proven very able at securing project funding and this has enabled Theatre Royal to broaden its output greatly in recent years. Overall, the Theatre makes a small annual surplus and is endeavouring to build up a reserve to provide protection against a downturn in income or unexpected costs.
If you feel you might be interested in this role please email a CV and short covering letter to Polly Turner (firstname.lastname@example.org). The chairman, Roger Quince and/or CEO, Karen Simpson, are happy to answer your queries prior to submitting an application but these conversations will not form part of the assessment of candidates. Polly will be able to facilitate contact with Roger and/or Karen.
There is no deadline for applications. It is intended that appointments will be made over the course of the next year as and when good candidates are identified. A sub-group of the Board will oversee the process evaluating applications and interviewing those who are judged to be likely to make a good contribution to the work of the Board and the success of Theatre Royal. If you feel you could contribute please make contact as soon as possible.