Volunteering in theatre you say!
As a former professional stage actor perhaps it was no surprise that Sandra was drawn to The Commemoration Hall, Huntingdon, becoming a regular volunteer when our new Arts Café and events programme opened in July 2021.
Many volunteers bring unique insights from their hands-on, close-up experience of delivering what your charity does best, and for us Sandra is no exception. Seeing how The Hall could develop further, particularly in the range of cultural events it offered, Sandra evolved her role to take on the managing and marketing of our events programme, vital to helping us expand our programming, grow income and become more sustainable.
With her knowledge of theatre and love of treading the boards, Sandra had found her perfect role. She now supports our programming on almost a daily basis, actively promoting The Hall as a venue of choice to touring theatre productions, musicians, events promoters, community and commercial hirers, and managing the booking process and key relationships end-to-end.
As a result, our bookings process has become much quicker and more efficient, freeing up additional time to promote our offer, and proactively seeking new hires and partners to enrich our community arts offer.
Making this leap was much needed, and it’s had a significant impact on our growth and our ability to weather the financial storms of the last twelve months. To reduce the story of Sandra’s impact to financial values alone feels insufficient, given how much all-round energy, direction and love she brings to her role, but in hard terms our revenue across our Theatre space, Community Hall and meeting rooms has doubled over the last twelve months to about 13% of our total projected revenue for 2023-24.
And that particularly matters right now because of what The Hall is - a very old, large and poorly-insulated building with significant energy costs, even in the best of times. Without Sandra’s leadership and the additional income she has helped to secure, we might have faced some very tough choices this year. These pressures are not yet over of course, but we may not have been able to stay one step ahead so far without her efforts.
But beyond the financial picture, the diversity of the new audiences and communities coming into the Hall, as a result of our expanded programme, is thrilling to see. Our mission is to provide a nourishing, uplifting and diverse range of affordable artistic and cultural experiences for the residents of the Town and surrounding area, and to achieve this we need both hearts and minds – a fantastic cultural programme and a sustainable building and business model to host them.
Sandra’s volunteering is priceless for us because it embodies both of these objectives so clearly. Thank you Sandra!
Want to know more?
If you’d like more information about volunteering with The Commemoration Hall please contact [email protected] for details. We currently have opportunities to support our staff in the Café and supporting our evening events (including one-off stewarding roles at our Pantomime this December).