Performing Arts Governance

Performing Arts Governance

Strategic diagnostic review | Governance assessment

Theatre company performs well with a whole new cast.

Barking Gecko is a Perth-based theatre company specialising in performances for young audiences. It’s a not-for-profit organisation governed by a board of directors.

After two consecutive years of poor results, a sense of insecurity spread throughout the company. There had been a high turnover of directors and staff and friction in the senior leadership team saw one key member resign.

This poor financial performance and disharmony caused significant angst for everyone involved and started to create a destructive, passive-defensive culture. Most of the Board and senior team were frustrated, or considering resigning, despite everyone being committed to the organisation’s purpose.

The company realised it was in crisis at the worst-possible time; just a few months before a round of major funding applications were due.

How we turned things around.

When we started working with Barking Gecko the management team was at breaking point. The team was worried that the disharmony might affect future funding applications which in turn would threaten the organisation’s viability.

We began by closely studying first-hand how the organisation worked. We attended Board meetings, interviewed every member of staff and attended a strategic planning session so we could see how the Board and the staff collaborated.

The next step was to conduct a detailed strategic and governance review and present these findings to the Board along with a detailed plan of action.

Following the review, there was a major shake up at Board level, including the resignation of its Chairperson and several directors. These positions were then successfully filled by the CEO and the company could regroup and move forward.

The restructured organisation’s submissions to its major corporate sponsor and State and Federal funding bodies resulted in successful extensions to its existing funding agreements. The show could go on.

Now, with the right people, the right strategy and the right funding in place the organisation is well-placed to achieve great outcomes.

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