Running Powerhouse Ballet in the Future
While I have been in Geneva I have been writing a business plan for Powerhouse Ballet. A business plan is essentially a road map between where we are now and where we want to be.
As to where we are now I think it is fair to say that we have made a good start. Terry Etheridge gave is a taste of what it must be like for professional dancers with his audition on 15 Sept. The next day cast members, reserves and members came together over the delicious spread that Gita prepared for us. As I said on Facebook everybody chatted to everybody else and some real friendships were formed or cemented. When Yvonne tried to teach us one of the dances that her adult ballet students had mastered in the Netherlands we saw just how much fun this company can be.
As to where we want to go, I set out my stall in My Vision for Powerhouse Ballet on 1 April 2018 long before our first class:
"If the experience of appearing on stage means so much to me how much more must it be for a talented young man from Rawtenstall or young woman from Heckmondwike with the talent to take them to White Lodge, the Upper School and beyond. Kay Jones set up Duchy Ballet to inspire young dancers of tomorrow. Chelmsford Ballet does the same and I have seen the results for one of my most inspiring teachers and choreographers Cara O'Shea danced Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty with that company. One of the objects of Powerhouse Ballet is to give Northern kids the same opportunity that Cara enjoyed.
And we can't start too young or end too old. Children who are far too young to dance Aurora or even Clara could still be soldiers, mice or guests at Mr and Mrs Stahlbaum's party. Over 55s like me could still audition for roles like the granny and granddad or Mr and Mrs Stahlbaum in The Nutcracker or maybe even Carabosse in The Sleeping Beauty even if we can never be the Lilac Fairy or Sugar Plum. Those roles could be performed by bright young Northern talent from the professional ballet schools or CAT programmes. And there are bound to be roles for everyone in between in the divertissements.
My vision for Powerhouse Ballet includes not just those with balletic and dramatic skills but students from costume design courses at the art schools, computer, engineering and technology students who are interested in lighting, constructing properties and special effects. Maybe we can inspire another Lez Brotherson. Chelmsford Ballet has brilliant stage designs and properties. The computer generated encroaching forest in The Sleeping Beauty was breathtaking. Our schools, colleges and universities must have plenty of students who can do the same."
I have run and funded Powerhouse Ballet single handed up to now because I don't think it could have taken off in any other way. Had I called a meeting in Manchester to consider setting up a corporation to manage a ballet company for which all would have contributed I doubt if anyone would have turned up. Only by attending Terry's workshop or Yvonne masterclass could everyone see how much fun this could be.
However, as I said in The Future of Powerhouse Ballet on 16 Aug 2018 I can't run and bankroll the company by myself for ever. Quite apart from every other consideration it would not be at all democratic. The time has come to put the company on a formal footing and in Building the Powerhouse - Corporate Structures Part I and Building the Powerhouse - Corporate Structures Part 2 . Nicola Hobson very kindly set out the options.
The structure that I and most of the people I have consulted favour is a Charitable Incorporated Organization with members other than trustees. The video by Peter King (the full version of which is on the Lawworks website) explains why it is a good thing and how we set it up. That means that each and every one of you have to make some very important decisions:
- Running Powerhouse Ballet is a time consuming business and will require some expense. The first question I need to put to all of you is "Is this project worth doing on the basis that you contribute to its management and funding? Or should we just let Powerhouse Ballet die?
- If the answer is that Powerhouse Ballet is worth managing and funding, would you be prepared to pay £25 membership fee and between £8 and £10 towards every class or rehearsal? If not, how much would you be willing to pay?
- Would you be prepared to (a) become a member (b) serve on our board or (c) as a trustee?
I shall hold a short Q & A session after our company class and pointe class with Jane Tucker on 27 Oct 2018. If your feedback is favourable I shall draw up a constitution for our company based on the model provided by the Charity Commission. We can discuss that after our class with Karen Sant in Manchester on 1 Dec 2018. If everybody is happy we can apply to register with the Charity Commission and our new management can be in place by Feb 2019 at the latest.
They will have some hard decision to take such as whether and if so when we invite Terry back to polish up the ballet he created for us and much we can afford to pay Amelia Sierevogel for her costumes. I shall continue to support the company financially and in other ways after it is organized on a formal basis but it will be down to the new management to decide how they spend that money.
Please read all the bumf I have given you and any more you can find for yourselves. If you can't attend class on 27 Oct or 1 Dec 2018 please ask your questions or send me your views in writing before those events. I wish you all a great weekend. I am now off to Opera des Nations to see The Beggars Opera.