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Upstage Centre Youth Theatre's trustees board seeking new members
UPSTAGE Centre Youth Theatre’s board of trustees is seeking new members at a key time in the York charity’s history.
“We have an active youth theatre programme and more secure finances, giving a springboard for the charity to grow and develop over the next few years,” said treasurer Robbie Swales.
Upstage has been part of the York theatre scene for about 20 years in various guises, the best known previously being Stagecoach Youth Theatre York.
“In that time, the organisation has helped hundreds of young people grow and develop through the performing arts, and many more people have used the facilities owned by the charity: the studio theatre, dance studio and rehearsal room at 41 Monkgate,” says Robbie.
After several “very difficult years”, when Upstage struggled to adapt to such challenges as City of York Council withdrawing significant funding, the board of trustees considered closing the charity in 2009.
Instead, new trustees joined and a new youth theatre programme was launched in 2011, while at the same time the trustees conducted a review of suppliers and the workings of the organisation, says Robbie.
“This led to the charity making a small surplus in 2010/11 – the first time in six years that Upstage had not made a loss – and this has been followed with another, larger surplus in 2011/12.”
Now the trustees are keen to recruit individuals with the skills and experience to help take the organisation to the next level over the next few years.
“Upstage is a fantastic organisation that has touched so many people, and it’s a really exciting time,” says Robbie.
“It has been a real struggle at some points over the past few years and has taken hard graft and help from a lot of people to get the organisation back on its feet. We’re now in a position to expand our activities and reinvest in our facilities; the only thing limiting us is the time and energy of the people involved.”
The group employs professional practitioners to run its youth theatre activities, but all the administration is done by volunteers. Among them has been Charlotte Green, who was instrumental in relaunching the youth theatre programme after joining as a trustee in 2009, but she is stepping down in September.
This has prompted Upstage to seek more people with key skills, time and an enthusiasm for young people and the arts.
“Our number one aim is to find someone with the financial experience and business acumen necessary to take over as treasurer which will enable me to use all the experience I have built up with Upstage over the last few years in my new role of chairman.
“Next, we’re looking for people who have an interest in youth theatre, young people and the arts, who can work on some of the areas which Charlotte has done so much good work in and help develop our youth theatre offering.
“Beyond that, we’re keen to hear from people with an interest or experience in marketing, fundraising and theatre management.”