in BOV we trust(ee)

5 Jul 2024

Bristol Old Vic is recruiting new Trustees to join the inspiring group of individuals on our board which leads and supports the organisation into the future.

Our Chair of Trustees, Bernard Donaghue OBE, gave us a few minutes of his time to share the ways in which volunteering as a trustee for a chartable organisation is an enriching and inspiring way to play your part.

Chair of Bristol Old Vic, speaking at an event.

"It's a huge honour and a privilege being a trustee of Bristol Old Vic. You are acutely aware of the history and heritage of the beautiful building, of the plays and actors who have appeared on the stage, of the audiences of the last 250 years, of the impact and importance of the theatre on its community, the region, the country and the world. And that would be enough if it weren't for the role of the theatre and our team now.  Using the building as a trusted important civic space for dialogue, bringing people and communities together. Using theatre and acting, storytelling and writing, to enable individuals and communities to tell their own stories and to be heard. To use our theatre to provoke, entertain, illuminate, educate, shock, bring joy, and fire the imagination.

Meeting the world's firs IVF baby, Louise Brown at the premiere of A Child of Science

"The role of a board trustee is to support the staff team to have the greatest positive social impact for our audiences and communities through the business of theatre; to create an environment - legal, commercial, social, political and artistic - where the ambitions of the artistic director and her colleagues can be realised and flourish. It's a real responsibility to hold colleagues to account, to encourage and advise, to be the best caretakers we can be. It's a real privilege too, to be part of an extraordinarily passionate and creative team, and to play our part in producing theatre which can be transformational and life-changing.

"I first became a charity trustee when I was 20. I didn't know how charities worked, how they were governed or what a trustee actually did.  I had never seen, let alone could read a set of management accounts, and didn't know what a risk register was. I had no background in law, HR or finance. I just brought myself, my interests, my experiences, my passions and my desire to contribute to the table. I've never looked back.

"I've been a trustee of various charities ever since - from homelessness to wildlife, children's issues to anti-discrimination, museums to theatre. Each board experience has been utterly different and hugely valuable.  I've grown in my knowledge and skills. All of the skills I learned being a trustee I was then able to bring to my day job, and I've been a better employee because of them. One of the things that I've learned, especially now as a chair of trustee boards, is that it's so important to bring together people who come from different backgrounds, with different life experiences and passions and to benefit from hearing them, discussing with them, and benefiting from their enthusiasms and perspectives. Trustee boards which are made up of people who all look the same, think the same and have the same skills rarely work well and so I warmly welcome applications from people who have never been a trustee before and would like to contribute to the Bristol Old Vic.

"I was appointed Chair of the Bristol Old Vic theatre board just over three years, following open competition and interviews. Appointed at the same time was Sado Jirde, Director of the Black South West Network, and she took on the role of Deputy Chair. Sado is a force of nature: a powerful advocate for equality and anti-racism, a great business person and a superb networker across Bristol and the South West.  

"She was an invaluable support to me, to the leadership of the theatre, and to the board. She has recently stepped down from being Deputy Chair and Trustee after nearly three years' service. I am hugely grateful to her for her contribution, wisdom and advice.

"Our recruitment process - which is open to all and lasts until the end of September - will, we hope attract a similarly brilliant range of candidates who can bring their own unique insight, candour and passion to the team."  

A fond farewell to our Deputy Chair, Sado Jirde

Learn more about how to become a Bristol Old Vic Trustee