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Home News Job profile - general manager

Job profile - general manager

Home News Job profile - general manager

Read about the work of our general manager, David Jane!

Where are you from? I was born in Luton, but we moved to Cockermouth when I was 11.

Where do you live now? Having moved away over 20 years ago to go to university, and then working in the Midlands, I returned to Cumbria last year and now live in Wigton.

Where do you work? Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven, as general manager.

Take us through a typical day: As soon as I have one, I’ll let you know! My job is very broad, managing the operational and financial functions of the theatre and The Green Room restaurant, so it covers everything from interrogating spreadsheets to working with people to organise conferences with us; duty managing performances to making sure the bins have been emptied.

Because of the size of the team that we are, we all have to make sure that everything is done, rather than just focusing on our own roles.

What do you like most about the job? Unlike in larger theatres that I have worked in, I really get to meet people in this job. I get to be very close to things that we deliver and hear for myself what people think about our shows, restaurant and facilities. It really changes how you approach things when you know that you will receive the feedback first hand.

What do you like the least? Having to say no to great ideas. We come up with, or are presented with, some exciting ideas for performances, events or work with young people and sometimes we just cannot find the financial or people resource to deliver it in a meaningful way. To have to step away from these is always a very sad thing to do.

Why did you want to do this job? I’ve spent the last 20 years working in theatre administration, predominantly in marketing, fundraising and operations, although I have pulled more than my fair share of pints along the way too. I got married in 2016, and my wife is from Kendal, so we had always wanted to come back at some point. Seeing what had been achieved at Rosehill with the redevelopment, and the chance to be involved from the outset of this exciting journey, was a great opportunity for me to use the experience I had gained elsewhere in a part of the country I really cared about.

I had also done work experience at Rosehill 25 years ago, so the place held a special place for me already.

What jobs have you done previously? I spent eight years working at Royal & Derngate theatre in Northampton where I started out doing work experience in marketing, then worked on the bars and front of house, and looked after group sales before becoming the fundraising manager, managing a campaign as part of a £16m refurbishment.

I then worked for Belgrade Theatre in Coventry for 11 years, starting as head of fundraising, finishing off another refurbishment worth £14m, before becoming commercial director.

What qualifications do you need? To be honest, experience counts for so much more than qualifications in this role. Crucially, you have to want to work in a theatre environment. The hours are long and it can be very stressful, but the rewards are huge.

The value of qualifications, whether it is a degree in drama or a specialist qualification in marketing, fundraising etc, are great catalysts to understanding the techniques and ‘language’ of the industry. But the right attitude and aptitude is so much more important.

What is a typical salary of this job? It is safe to say that most of us working in theatre could earn a lot more in many other sectors, so you have to be willing to sacrifice that potential. I’d still rather do that, though, and be in an industry that I love and that plays such an important role in our education and society. And it does still pay the bills!

Any advice for anyone trying to get into your profession? Arts administration is an exciting place to be. Many young people (myself once included) have great aspirations of being an actor, stage manager or lighting technician as these are the jobs that are seen. But behind the scenes is an engine that provides the opportunity and the platform that helps artists achieve their potential.

All of the skills that I honed, acting and stage managing as a teenager and student, are directly transferable to what I do every day, and I am just as an important part of the show (although rightly much less visible) as those who get to take the bow at the curtain call.


 
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