Do you have to be a bastard to run a building?

Convener(s):Judith Sharp 

Participants: Erica Whyman, Dallah McKeon,]James Flynn, Julian Crouch, Jeri Lunn

Graham Murden, Carolina Valdes & Others

Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:

Negative experiences of working in opera – is it because managers are not practitioners?

Some Management problems solved by joint leadership in theatre – Artistic Director and Executive Director but can hide difficulties?

Eg Nottingham; Liverpool; Sheffield

Risk that this feeds into assumption that artists are incompetent managers?

Clore Foundataion offers new management training for artistic directors.

Power or Influence?

Huge range of skills required to run a building effectively. 

Fear of running a building – cannot run away.

Collaboration vital but discouraged.  Do we demand genius/maverick to run buildings?

Do you immediately become “Mr” when you take over a building?

Better succession is required to serve continuity of community/audience.

Basic courtesy often absent – training needed!

Fear that artists have to sacrifice artistic journey in order to run building.

Is programming creative? 

Do people who run buildings interfere in creative processes of visiting artists?

Vision and clear sense of direction more important for managers than experience of the creative process?

Artistic Directors perceived as having a duty to rescue failing visiting shows.

Brutal and secret language developed around assumption that artists are rubbish with money. 

Do you have anyone in it?”

The board is vital to establish leadership in establishing the culture of a building.

Theatre swapping: jobs, different buildings and cities – positive input to prevent stagnation, apathy, disillusion?

Examples of inclusive and empowering managements bottom up: Stratford East, Glasgow Cits (Giles always there).

STATUS/ machismo but worry that poor boundaries lead to weak management/family model.

How to get it right?  TEAM CHRISTMAS – encourage people to get involved in roles outside their own precise remit?

Optimism from theatre – new culture encourages training and non-machismo management styles.

Transparency is new essential quality – important to provide accessible transparent information to all

Ego vs. humility

Negotiation skills and training to provide way forward.