St Columb’s Hall is an exceptional cultural and regeneration project, based in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland. An historic, landmark building in the heart of the city centre, it has outstanding potential both for the future development of the region’s artistic life and as a community asset. We are now seeking a talented, purposeful individual to drive its redevelopment and realise St Columb’s as something unique and lasting that will have a major impact for the city.
St Columb’s Hall, first opened in 1886 is recognised as having exceptional promise as a multi-purpose live events and entertainment venue, and is a close parallel within the north-west to the Ulster Hall in Belfast. Spread expansively over four floors covering c.50,000 sq. ft., the first floor area features a Main Hall, seating up to 800 audience with an excellent acoustic, and outstanding features, including an elegant, stuccoed S-curve balcony leading to a refurbished balcony bar.
In addition to its Main Hall, there is an extensive suite of rooms on the ground floor below, connecting with a second refurbished bar, a small office area and an adjacent studio space. Also on the ground floor are two function rooms and a large kitchen. A basement area, extending across the footprint of the whole building and divided into a suite of spaces of varying dimensions, is full of potential for conversion, and has in previous times hosted the Orchard Street art gallery and a heritage centre. There is also land behind the building (currently occupied by a public library and small car park) that has potential for redevelopment.
St Columb’s was originally conceived as a temperance hall. Located near to the Guildhall and the city walls and adjacent to the main downtown shopping centre (Foyleside), it is a well-known city landmark. Its history for much of the 20th and early 21st centuries has been as a performing arts centre - many household names of music and entertainment have appeared in the hall, which has also served as a cinema, art gallery and community centre.
In 2012 it was purchased by the Garvan O’Doherty Group, with the intention of restoring the hall to its former glory. A new charitable company comprising representatives of Garvan O’Doherty Group, Holywell Trust and Walled City Music is being established to drive the redevelopment proposal, realising the potential of the building and the positive impact it can have on the local community.
We are seeking to employ a skilled, enthusiastic, experienced, committed and passionate individual to assist us in taking forward this ambitious redevelopment. We believe the project will be a major force for change and act as a springboard to a wider regeneration of the city centre as an arts, entertainment and community hub.
The new charitable company for St Columb’s seeks as a priority to establish a business plan and vision for the hall and beyond that can demonstrate both sustainability and the hall’s value as a resource within a transformational vision for the wider community. It will be the main task of the St. Columb’s Hall Director, working with the steering group for the project, to create this plan, and to develop the strategic partnerships and project awareness that will be necessary for its implementation.
Typical responsibilities will include:
Business Planning and Strategy
- To develop a comprehensive, agreed business strategy and vision for development of the hall
- To locate the business strategy within the wider development objectives for the region, in consultation with key stakeholders (City Council, NI Executive and relevant government departments, development agencies, leading arts and education providers, Heritage Lottery Fund)
- To develop the range of partnerships within the city and region that can enable a sustainable vision for the hall to be fully realised
- To communicate the plan and vision for the project such as it is seen to be of general public benefit and can show widespread support and participation from within the community.
- Identify sources of funding for the ongoing sustainability and redevelopment at St Columbs, including UK Trusts and Foundations, European and US based sources, drawing up prospect list, creating fundraising strategy and priorities for approach
- Liaise with Heritage Lottery Fund and other funders and supporters, developing and submitting grant applications
- Scope full potential for earned income and commercial opportunities at the venue through a detailed market research exercise
- Draw up costed core requirement for staffing St Columbs, researching the necessary skill-sets required for a successful implementation of the project
- Establish governance structure suitable for management of diverse income streams and running costs associated with the hall.
- Develop costings for fit-out of venue as a high functioning music, music education, arts and community centre
- Map priorities within the building for function of spaces: education, commercial, office use etc.
- Conduct a thorough survey of the existing facilities’ technical provision for redevelopment needs, in particular the Main Hall stage area, basement area and backstage spaces
- Consult with recent users and the wider community about their experience of the venue, and their potential usage of the space
- Consult with artists, orchestras, opera companies, ensembles, promoters and production companies about their expectations of a high functioning performance venue, and their potential to contribute to the hall’s programming
- Establish appropriate infrastructure requirements (staffing, systems) for a building of St Columb’s’ scale and ambition to be run successfully on an ongoing, sustainable basis, with costings (set-up and ongoing) for same.
- Support, facilitate, and assist members of the partnership Steering Group in their areas of responsibility
- Prepare and present reports to the Steering Group as required
- Convene and organise all matters related to the meetings of the Steering Group
- Act as minute-taker and Secretary to the Steering Group.
- Manage the project’s finances, maintaining an efficient system of financial control and accounts
- Monitor budget and prepare financial reports for the Steering Group, as required
- Prepare and submit funding applications for the project, as required
- Be proactive in the research and development of fundraising strategies
- Prepare sponsorship packs and fundraising presentations, as required.
- To champion the project at events and meetings with funders, stakeholders and interested parties, as required
- Attend negotiations and meetings related to the project
- Prepare presentations related to the project, as required
- Provide an advice and information service to all enquiries received about the project.
- To be an active and creative contributor to the development of the new ideas for the Hall
- To be an active and positive advocate for the project
- To provide excellent customer service in dealings with the public and stakeholders
- To contribute to the development of a professional working and learning environment within the partnership
- To undertake any other duties which may from time to time, be assigned by the Steering Group.
Key skills and knowledge
- Excellent business and strategic planning skills on projects of a similar scale
- Knowledge of community and voluntary, arts, public and commercial sectors
- Demonstrable experience of partnership working and building partnerships
- Highly organised administrator
- Knowledge of financial and budget management
- Experience of fundraising
- Able to deal with conflicting priorities
- Good communicator and presenter at all levels
- Team player
- Ability to take high levels of delegated authority and operate within agreed parameters
- Leadership – ability to create, hold and champion the vision for the project
- A can do attitude to working across different contexts and with a range of different partners
- Commitment to innovative delivery across a range of platforms and new media
- Open minded, flexible, prepared to adopt different ways of working as required
- Committed to quality.
Outcomes for the role
Within the six month time-frame for the role we will expect the successful candidate to deliver:
- A costed business plan, including evaluation of potential audience numbers and income streams for the hall
- A legal and governance structure for the building
- An active network of stakeholders, partners and supporters positively engaged with the project
- A funding and income generation plan, with applications to key funders underway.
Terms and conditions
Contract: The post is initially offered as a 6 month, fixed term contract
Fee: To be negotiated
The role is full-time, 37.5 hours a week, Monday-Friday, and based in Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Job pack available by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, To apply, email the same address, attaching:
- An up-to-date CV with names of two referees
- A covering statement of no more than 600 words outlining with reference to the Job Description why you would be a suitable candidate for the role.
Deadline for receipt of completed applications: Monday 6th March, 12 noon
Interviews: w/c March 13th. Interviews will be held in Derry/Londonderry.