In this edition of our ‘Spotlight On’ feature, we chat to the New Vic’s Head of Fundraising and Development Michelle Friel-Martin. Michelle tells us about why raising funds for the theatre is so important, how she started her career in an advertising agency, and the power of a Joe Wicks workout.
What does your job involve?
I raise funds for the New Vic so that we can continue to grow our creative, education and community work. This is done by building relationships with Trusts and Foundations that are interested in reaching and supporting the same groups as the theatre, which includes young people, vulnerable adults, older people living with dementia and their carers, and a lot more… the list is very long!
I also manage the New Vic Patrons scheme. This is an amazing (and growing) dedicated group of audience members who give monthly donations to support our work.
Recently I have been keeping busy raising an ambitious sum for our auditorium refurbishment project.
What would a typical day look like for you?
I work very closely with our Education and Borderlines teams, matching the great work that they do with organisations who would like to support us to do more work, or create new projects. I visit projects in progress and then inform donors of the outcomes we achieve with the people we work with.
Or, sometimes when there is a need for a new post at the theatre, I have to work out how the growth and development of the New Vic can be funded in a sustainable way.
How did you get into this role?
I started in an advertising agency, working with the likes of British Airways and Microsoft. While there I was given a charity to work on pro bono, but I much preferred the work with the charity! So then I found a job marketing for charities, and I have worked for an assortment of both national charities and local charities ever since.
What’s been your proudest moment at the New Vic so far?
Every show – whether it is on the main stage or a show we create through our education work, or to support the community – is a celebration of what the team at the New Vic have created together. Raising funds to make this work happen for the benefit of local people is such a pleasure.
Tell us something that people wouldn’t expect about your role…
I can’t think of a single thing… maybe because I have learnt to expect anything in this job!
How has your job changed in lockdown?
I am working from home and very much missing the camaraderie of the New Vic environment. The team are very supportive; we have virtual meetings and coffee breaks online, which are great.
There is a desire at the New Vic to offer a creative response to this health crisis that has affected us all, so we are working on a health and wellbeing recovery plan that we can offer to participants and the local community as a part of our Education and Borderlines work. It is important for us to acknowledge what we have all been through, and look forward to the future we want to create.
How are you keeping yourself happy in lockdown?
I’m doing a workout with the lovely Joe Wicks each weekday morning, walking my chocolate cockapoo Ted, and supervising my two children while they are being home schooled.