We are now proud recipients of the Trustee Board of the Year Award at the North East Charity Awards.
We have built a Northern Stage Board over the last eight years to more closely reflect the diverse community we serve, as well as having the vital skills needed to govern the organisation.
Our 13 Trustees, a mix of male, female and non-binary identities who range from 23 to 60+ include people of the global majority, people with lived experience of disability and people with experience of socioeconomic disadvantage.
Professionally, the range of skills and experience includes education (both Secondary and Higher), the voluntary sector, arts leadership, front line arts workers, leadership of a grass roots community organisation, as well as Trustees with extensive private sector experience.
The lived experience and expertise of the group enables Northern Stage to be a vibrant and sustainable arts organisation, informed by the community we serve, underpinned by a sound commercial plan.
We ran a bespoke recruitment process in order to appoint our two young trustees who were both under the age of 25 when they joined the board. We created an introductory video enhance the application process and explain more about what being a trustee involves. Current trustees ran an open workshop for any young people with interest to give potential applicants the chance to chat to board members and senior leaders and ask questions before applying.
To increase the accessibility of our board recruitment we have we have created accessible versions of recruitment packs, including large text versions and screen reader compatible versions as well as the option of video submission. We also hosted informal online sessions for potential applicants to meet Board and staff.
The board and staff have made adjustments to meetings wherever needed so that everyone can physically or virtually access them. Senior staff and trustees are informed of any additional needs (with the individual’s permission) so that everyone can participate fully with adjustments where necessary. For example, there is distinct disadvantage for new mothers, as trustees are not entitled to maternity leave, and this is a barrier. Northern Stage have combated this by supporting individual Trustees who have become mothers to participate, if and when they are able to, in a fully supportive and flexible environment.
Increasing the diversity of our workforce, audience and creative programmes is a strategic objective for Northern Stage with a particular focus on socio-economic disadvantage, race and disability. Having the board leading this and reflecting lived experience in their appointments is essential to us achieving our mission and vision.