21st Jul 2019

In May 2015 the Carnegie Theatre Trust took over management and operation of the Carnegie Theatre & Arts Centre from Allerdale Borough Council. Over four years later and here we are.

The last four years can be described as a learning as well as changing phase. We’ve took the rough with the smooth, the good with the bad and throughout learned things we never thought we’d have to learn. But what we can say with certainty is we understand the organisation inside and out. Know its qualities, areas we’d like to improve and the knowledge that the Carnegie will inevitably spring all sorts of surprises on us when you least expect it. But we love it for that. We’re drawing a line under the last four years now and calling that phase 1!

In August 2019 we start phase 2. We’re being ambitious, transformational even. If anyone thought phase 1 was a rollercoaster this phase promises to be an even bigger one but for the better.

We’re about to embark on a very thorough look at what the organisation is and what it is not. It’s not about what colour the walls are painted or whether the door should have a silver or gold handle on it. This is a very strategic look at our vision for the charity that we are. I’ve bolded the charity bit because I’m often shocked at the general understanding that we are in fact a charity!

How are we going to do it you might ask? Well we’ve teamed up with some of the best people we could find to help us. We’ve secured the services of a facilitator/mentor to work with the board, to help challenge our assumptions and encourage our innovative thinking. This will ensure our proposals for the future are based on audience and heritage needs, and exploring creative partnerships to enable robust and sustainable proposals. We won’t just be defining things using our own knowledge. We’ll be consulting our user and customer base to ask what you think and want. The output will be a defining ‘vision’ something which then starts off a whole process including identifying funders, developing partnerships with funders and defining the next steps to realising this new vision.

We’ve also secured the services of an esteemed architectural design studio who provide architecture, urban design, interiors and conservation design services. Working with them we’re likely to then start much more detailed work on condition surveys, conservation statements, stakeholder engagement, activity planning, architectural feasibility, budgeting, options appraisals, a full governance review, volunteering strategy review and funding strategy. In short… we’re going to be busy. But we have to be because if we don’t do this, we won’t survive.

Why am I telling you this? Well once again we’re appealing to like minded individuals to join us on this journey. I should warn you it won’t be for the faint hearted. You will need to be prepared to work at a strategic level and make risk based decisions to move this project forward.

This isn’t the only project we’ll be working on. We’ve got several others including one to replace ageing sound and lighting equipment with brand new modern stock which as well as being radically more energy efficient means we can do far more which will appeal to both national and international hirers as well as drive down external hire costs for some of our home grown hirers. This project alone is worth around £600,000.

The role of a trustee can be equally rewarding as well as challenging. Learning new skills, working as a team, working on projects you never thought you would but above all (and this is the one piece of advice I would give to any trustee) reflect on the good you do, because it passes you by instantly then you are on to the next challenge.

If you feel you have what it takes and want to join us take a look at the information we’ve published on our website which includes the trustee role description and our trustee information pack. It’ll tell you everything you need to know. And if you want to know more, get in touch!

For now, thank you for reading and thank you for your continued support to the Carnegie Theatre Trust. Onwards, upwards!

Lee Martin-White
Lee Martin-White Chairman Carnegie Theatre Trust