UK Theatre’s vision is to see a well-connected and well-supported theatre sector at the heart of UK life, and our Board is vital to helping us achieve this.
In our new “Meet the Board” blog series, you’ll get to know our Board members better and find out why they choose to volunteer their time and expertise to UK Theatre on behalf of the industry. The Board help to steer and advise on our work – from how to future proof and diversify our workforce, to exploring new models of funding and income generation, to supporting the health of touring and the regional producing and presenting model.
In this, the third edition of our ‘Meet the Board’ series, we hear from Julia Potts, Business Director with Ambassador Theatre Group and recently re-elected board member for a second term with UK Theatre…
"I am delighted to have been re-elected to the UK Theatre Board. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first three years, and I’m very proud of how UK Theatre has shaped its vision to support and grow the sector in that time.
My current role is as a Business Director within the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG). I have overall responsibility for the performance of seven of our largest regional theatres - the Edinburgh Playhouse, Glasgow King’s and Theatre Royal, Sunderland Empire, Liverpool Empire, Milton Keynes Theatre and the Bristol Hippodrome. All led by brilliant local Theatre Directors in their own right, but together forming the segment that I lead.
My work therefore gives me considerable insight into the UK’s commercial regional theatre business, and what it needs to do to sustain itself. It also enables me to understand the importance of difference when thinking about the UK regions, valuing the particular characteristics, strengths and challenges of each - an important perspective that I hope I bring to the UK Theatre Board.
As well as bringing this commercial acumen to the Board and the Finance and Strategy Committee, I am fundamentally concerned with the role all theatres play in their communities and in place-making, and how we can improve political, organisational and individual understanding of this. I also try to make my company more accessible to other parts of our industry, recognising that ATG’s size and scale can sometimes feel impersonal, or difficult to navigate.
Previously, I worked in the subsidised sector as Executive Director of the Almeida Theatre (2011-14), and for 11 years in the field of Creative Learning, Access and Outreach, both in a venue and as ATG’s national lead. I have also worked in Business Development, meaning I have extensive experience dealing with Local Authorities and similar partner organisations. This experience has helped me gain an in-depth understanding of venue management, of stakeholder partnerships, and of learning and accessibility.
A continued priority for both myself and the Board is how we can make the industry more diverse and, in particular, how we can better accommodate people with caring responsibilities in our various workforces – the work that UK Theatre do to support Parents and Carers in the Performing Arts (PIPA) is central to this, as is their Theatre Workforce Review and resulting Workforce Strategy. I am also concerned with developing leadership in the sector, and how all these issues coalesce. Currently, I juggle travelling around the country with being mum to a 4-year-old daughter who, despite bring a Londoner born and bred, got to experience her first pantomime in Glasgow last year. And anyone who knows the King’s pantomimes will know that was a real treat!
I served for many years on the Board of Magpie Dance, an inclusive dance company for people with and without learning disabilities, Action for Children Arts and dreamthinkspeak. Currently I am a Trustee of the Sunderland Empire Trust.
I’m excited to see what we as a Board, alongside the brilliant team at UK Theatre, can achieve on behalf of the sector over the next three years."
Read the other blogs in this series:
See who else is on the UK Theatre Board here.