A FORMER TV executive has taken over as chair of the Poole Arts Trust, the charity that runs the Lighthouse theatre.
MT Rainey, pictured, the former deputy chair of Channel 4, brings a wealth of experience from commercial roles in the creative industries that saw her honoured for services to advertising in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
After eight years in the USA as planning director at Chiat/Day working with Apple and other early Silicon Valley companies, MT founded and was CEO of top advertising agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe.
She also served as vice chair of Creative Skillset, the UK Sector Skills Council for the Creative Industries, and is a Trustee of The Booker Prize.
“It’s a privilege to be asked to chair this very loved, respected and important organisation,” she said.
“I’ve been coming to Lighthouse since I first had a home here in Poole in 2004 – in fact, it was one of the reasons I came.
“For an arts venue outside of London, the quality and diversity of the programme is amazing.”
An avid consumer of the arts in all their guises, MT is looking forward to bringing her background in brands and marketing to bear in a sector she knows and loves so well.
“We have very loyal audiences, and while some elements of the programme bring in new audiences, I still think not enough people in this area know what a jewel in the crown they have on their doorstep and how many choices they have at Lighthouse on any night of the week,” she said.
“I’m hoping I can bring my specific expertise to bear on that particular challenge.”
In common with venues across the country, Lighthouse continues to recover from the pandemic and audiences are returning in encouragingly greater numbers.
But with rising costs in every aspect of the business, the worsening effects of the cost of living crisis, soaring energy prices and deepening economic hardship, there are enormous challenges to that recovery.
However, having recently retained Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation status, MT is certain Lighthouse will meet such challenges with characteristic creativity and ingenuity.
“Lighthouse is incredibly well led by Elspeth and her team who have steered it carefully and successfully through the various challenges of the last few years,” she added.
“The role of the board now is to make sure that this precious asset is sustainable into this uncertain future, and I think that this will increasingly mean working together with other arts organisations to make the case for the importance of the arts in a healthy society. It will also be about making sure that we offer value for money to our audiences and reaching out to forge even deeper ties with our communities.
“So, it’s a serious job, but it’s also seriously good fun.”