Sean Sadler on being the interim finance manager at the Mercury Theatre, ColchesterDate: 24 January 2012
What does the role of financial manager for a theatre involve?
There are also the trustees of the theatre to keep informed, and regular meetings are held with them. I need to be the point of contact for any finance-based question which the other two members of the finance team cannot answer!
How does it differ from similar work in non-artistic organisations?
The complexities of making our own theatre productions as well as taking touring shows, co-productions, amateur theatre and one-nighters are just one element – and that’s before you add in the running of the bar, ice cream and programme sales together with merchandise.
We even have a gallery where art is exhibited (and sold) and sometimes sell off sets after we have finished with them (which recovers some of the cost and avoids throwing some things away).
What do you see as a priority for the Mercury Theatre?
We need to continue to create quality work and to show that we are giving good value for money to our audiences, our supporters and the wider community.
Does the Mercury differ from other theatres where you've fulfilled a similar role and, if so, in which ways?
What do you envisage as your next career move?
I am a chartered accountant and, since leaving that profession, I have worked in two theatres, a number of charities and a variety of types of organisations including four FTSE 100 companies. I just hope, when I finish at the theatre, that I find a new role that is as interesting and challenging as mine is proving to be at the Mercury with a friendly set of people who love what they are doing. If that just happens to be at another theatre, then I would be very pleased indeed.
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