What made you want to join a board, and more specifically, what made you want to join MAYK’s board?
I was feeling very tied to my working life and my particular company. Being on a board would take me out of myself and my own daily routine. It would offer me a chance to test my ability to think strategically, which was a professional ambition.
MAYK was hugely appealing for several reasons – I’d loved their programming at Mayfest for years; I wanted to have some connections outside of London, where I live; and the company was embarking on a new phase in its growth, and I felt that my background in supporting theatre makers to ‘scale up’ could be a useful voice.
During your time on MAYK’s board, have there been any particular stand-out moments?
The first time I saw Of Riders and Running Horses, which MAYK produced, on top of a car park in Bristol, dancing and grinning with friends and total strangers is a highlight. And then watching it again (for the third time!) on London’s South Bank, feeling like here was a rare show that could adapt to new surroundings and still be a completely joyful and inviting experience.
Can you describe MAYK’s culture? What does it feel like to be a board member?
The culture of MAYK is interwoven with the culture of Bristol as a city. Warm, supportive, innovative, politicised, questioning, grafting.
What three pieces of advice would you give new MAYK board members?
Get to know the work – go and see it live, watch footage of existing shows online, look over old Mayfest programmes.
Tell the other board members about yourself and your work during a meeting, even if it doesn’t feel immediately relevant to the role. It could suggest new connections for MAYK to meet, reveal an area of interest that we weren’t previously aware of, or highlight some experience that can be drawn upon to help with board issues.
Have an informal one to one meeting as soon as you can with both Kate and Matthew.
Being on a board can often be a really useful learning experience for board members – have you learned anything by being through being on MAYK's board?
Reading financial accounts does not come easily to me – but being a part of those conversations on the MAYK board has gently upskilled me. I’ve come to realise that I can still contribute valid thoughts to financial considerations, even if my expertise is not directly related.
Sarah is a creative producer, working with a diverse range of artists and companies including Untitled Projects, Fred Deakin, Gyre and Gimble, Matthew Herbert, Jamie Wood, Imogen Knight and Requardt & Rosenberg. Outside of her independent work, Sarah has been Talent Development Producer at Dance Umbrella and a Producer at Fuel. Previously, Sarah was Deputy Head of New Work at the National Theatre from 2011 – 2016, overseeing the company’s development slate and supporting artists’ commissions. Sarah previously worked at the Traverse Theatre, during which time she coordinated the theatre’s award-winning Edinburgh Festival programme, and toured work to North America, Australia and the Middle East. Sarah trained on the Clore Leadership Short Course, the American Express Leadership Academy and University of Glasgow, and is a recipient of the Federation of Scottish Theatre Producer Bursary.
Image: Of Riders and Running Horses at the National Theatre’s River Stage, August 2016.