Interim & Change Management
Leading organisations through processes of change with sensitivity, supporting Artistic Directors and Boards, reviewing business plans and budgets, building staffing capacity, advising on organisational structure, and making major funding applications.
Developing business plans which articulate a clear artistic vision underpinned by robust financial and organisational objectives. Creating a shared understanding of the social and political contexts of organisations and their communities. As an example, from 2010 onwards Stratford became the largest regeneration area in Europe. As Executive Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, worked in close collaboration with the Artistic Director to deliver a broad artistic and education programme in the context of an area of deprivation and profound social and environmental change. Creating robust risk registers to support the organisation’s strategic objectives.
Mary Caws is skilled in interim & change management, strategy & business planning, mentoring, coaching & talent development, governance, financial reviews and organisational development.
She also has considerable experience in producing, fundraising, stakeholder management, recruitment & human resources, and capital project management.
Mentoring, Coaching & Talent Development
Passionate about supporting the long term professional development of the talent in the performing arts, and particularly interested in increasing the diversity of its future leadership. Member of mentor cohorts for City and De Montfort Universities, and led seminars on Birkbeck’s creative producer modules. Founder member of the London Theatre Consortium which set up a London wide apprenticeship programme targeted at increasing the diversity of the theatre industry. Currently a mentor on the Mercury Creatives programme, and supporting a range of artists, producers and future leaders on a pro bono basis.
Advocate for good governance, with considerable experience as both Company Secretary and as Trustee. Developing induction, recruitment and succession planning programmes. Facilitating Board away days and leading governance workshops and seminars.
Setting strategy for the finance function, reviewing financial reporting systems, building user friendly procedures to support budget holders and increasing the responsiveness of the finance function. Analysing plans, budgets and management accounts to identify potential opportunities to optimise efficiency.
Working with teams to map out personal and organisational pathways for sustainable growth. Providing appropriate frameworks of policies, procedures and templates to support this process.
Producing in a range of contexts
For Stratford East, co-produced the Olivier nominated ‘Oh What A Lovely War’, and nurtured partnerships with commercial and subsidised companies including the Barbican, Sadlers Wells, and the National Theatre of Scotland. For Dance Umbrella, producing annual international contemporary dance festivals in London, and establishing new dance festivals in Newcastle & Woking. Produced tours by international companies including the first British tours by Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown and Mark Morris Companies.
Producing fundraising strategies and action plans for individual donors, trusts & foundations, and corporate supporters and sponsors. Writing funding bids to Arts Council England, local authorities, and trusts. Making the ‘ask’ and supporting trustees to do the same. For Watford, led the successful capital campaign which raised £8.8 million, of which £1 million came from an individual donor. For Stratford East, grew the fundraising function from a standing start, working with consultants to build a programme of cultivation events and creating a donor pipeline. And also at Stratford, secured a significant increase in ACE funding for the 2015 – 2018 NPO.
Building effective working relationships with stakeholders, working to understand their priorities and how best to provide a match for their needs. At Stratford, worked with LB Newham to set up ‘Every Child A Theatre Goer’, an audience development programme. Negotiated and managed ‘Nigeria House’, a major corporate hire by the Bank of Industry during the 2012 Olympics. And worked with Lendlease and LB Newham to secure a meanwhile use of a vacant commercial unit. At Lancaster, worked in close partnership with funding consortium of Arts Council England, BFI, Lancaster City Council and Lancashire County Council which unlocked an additional £280k investment to realign the business model.
Recruitment & Human Resources
Creating and reviewing the full range of hr policies and procedures; restructuring, restructuring, recruitment and appraisals.
Leading the full project life cycle from feasibility to snagging. For Watford, led a major capital project which ran for 2 years and was a full refurbishment of the Grade II listed auditorium and adjacent 1970s building. And for Stratford East, led a time sensitive capital project to refurbish the Grade II* listed auditorium.