BH Live, the Dorset-based conference and events venue managers who have been appointed to operator the Fairfield Halls, are recruiting for general manager. The daunting job spec is similarly demanding to that which the Football Association put out when looking to hire a new manager for the England team, something which in the past has been dubbed “the impossible job”.
The ad was placed on BH Live’s website this week, and moves the process of the Halls re-opening next year one significant stride closer.
BH Live has been given a 15-year contract to operate the Halls by Croydon Council. BH Live may well have an internal candidate in mind, but they are obliged to advertise the position publicly. So applications from people based in Croydon will be accepted.
The Fairfield Halls comprises the 1,500-seat concert hall, 800-seat Ashcroft Theatre, the Arnhem Gallery (up to 400 seats) and additional meeting rooms, restaurants and performance space. The Halls “went dark” 12 months ago in order for the owners, Croydon Council, to carry out a £30million refurbishment programme on the 1960s venue.
One indicator of the operator’s desire to appoint an arts big-hitter is that they express an expectation for the successful applicant to be in post in “four to six months’ time”, suggesting that they are looking for a senior figure who might have to serve at least a three-month notice period on their current job.
According to the job ad, the Fairfield Halls are to re-open in November 2018, just in time for the panto season (cue cries from sceptics of: “Oh no it won’t!”).
It is, they say, to be “a revitalised arts and culture hub for the people of London and the Home Counties”. “Hub”. Honestly. The ad also misuses the word “iconic”, too.
The successful candidate “will manage the partnership relationship with the stakeholder team at the London Borough of Croydon”. The ad doesn’t state whether the successful candidate will need to supply their own shovel to deal with the shit which that relationship is likely to land on their desk.
“Your role will require an active involvement in mobilising the contract pre-opening and it is anticipated that you will be able to take up the post within the next four to six months,” the ad states.
“You will join the BH Live senior leadership team and take full responsibility for the strategic direction and financial performance of the venue; together with delivering a rich, diverse and inclusive programme of entertainment events.
“You will have direct responsibility for the operation of the venue, with day-to-day management of sales (ticketing and business events), marketing, human resources, catering, building management, event programming and community engagement.
“The successful candidate will have a solid track record in theatre/venue management and will be motivated to position Fairfield Halls as a premier cultural destination for London, with a reputation for outstanding customer experiences,” the ad says. This is not going to be an easy task.
“Working at the helm of this new venue promises to be exciting, challenging and highly rewarding. The salary and benefits package will strongly reflect the strategic importance of the role.”
To see the full job advertisement for yourself, click here. And if you decide to apply, good luck. You may need it.
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