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Blackpool Grand Theatre

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Celine Wyatt – Head of Creative Learning & Engagement, Blackpool Grand Theatre

“Whilst we were unable to open our doors to the public, the CMI qualifications at Edge Hill University were a great opportunity for members of our team to develop their leadership, management, coaching and mentoring skills. It’s been great for morale and giving staff a new, fresh approach to their work. In addition, the CMI qualifications have provided a platform to engage with employees from other Lancashire based SMEs.”

Celine Wyatt – Head of Creative Learning & Engagement, Blackpool Grand Theatre

CMI Management and Leadership Qualifications – benefits and impact

  • Formalised management, leadership, coaching and mentoring skills with a nationally recognised CMI qualification.
  • Provided an opportunity to share learning and experiences with colleagues from other Lancashire SMEs.
  • Allowed the team to approach real-working situations confidently, applying theory learned on the course to provide feasible solutions.
  • Offered team members the opportunity to be part of a new supportive network, which has helped to raise the theatre’s profile

About the business

The beautiful Blackpool Grand Theatre has been entertaining people for over 125 years by delivering distinctive, rich, and varied programmes to audiences across all generations. In that time, Blackpool Grand Theatre has welcomed a variety of genres from musicals to comedy giants to Shakespeare and ballet. The theatre encourages audiences to enjoy, participate, and learn through performing arts. The century-old heritage powers participation, resilience, and positive experience for the community in Blackpool and beyond. Despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic bought to the sector, the theatre continues to make a strong recovery and opened its doors again in September 2021.

Building leadership and management capabilities

The past two years have bought a lot of uncertainty to the performing arts sector and many of the team were placed on the government’s furlough scheme. As challenging as this time was, it provided a valuable learning and training opportunity for the team at Blackpool Grand Theatre to formalise the natural management style which had emerged at the theatre.

Head of Creative Learning & Engagement, Celine Wyatt recognised that the online CMI courses at Edge Hill University would be a great addition to other training that the team had completed during lockdown. The CMI courses provided a productive and enjoyable way to keep the team engaged and motivated. Celine completed the Level five Coaching and Mentoring course which provided her with the opportunity to build on dynamic tools that the online course offered.

A key part of Celine’s role as Head of Creative Learning and Engagement is to inspire, develop and strengthen new and existing partnerships. Delving into theoretical practices learned on the programme, encouraged Celine to integrate and synthesize her learning into planning and structuring a schools project to cascade her learning to develop a wider training offer for primary school teachers.

Outcome and impact

Throughout the CMI course, the wider team at Blackpool Grand Theatre was provided with opportunities to engage with employees from other Lancashire based SMEs via the online learning platform. This created valuable networks with other participants, in which they could share operational practice.

When COVID-19 hit, staff across all departments were challenged with quickly adapting to new ways of working. In these uncertain times, Blackpool Grand Theatre launched the #AtHomeWithYou YouTube channel to connect, comfort and uplift families in lockdown through stories of heritage and memories by applying theory learned on the course to provide dynamic solutions.

The successful completion of the CMI modules allowed the wider team to continue to find opportunities to integrate newly found leadership, management, coaching and mentoring styles into projects and partnership working. The course equipped Celine with effective interventions to facilitate coaching across the wider team. This has enriched partnerships to uncover new ways the theatre can encourage new learning styles through theatre and the arts. The CMI programmes have allowed the team to become more resilient and provided them with the confidence to deal with any future challenges the theatre may face.

The wider team successfully continues to find ways to incorporate coaching and mentoring in both management and project delivery. It has added a new dimension to the programme offered to schools, voluntary organisations, and partners across the cultural education sector. This will support their growth objectives and recovery strategy to entertain audiences night
after night.

Congratulations to the Blackpool Grand Theatre team from all the staff at Edge Hill University’s Business School.