1 year in: further reflections from our General Manager

It's been a year since I started at ITC (I know right! Where does the time go?) I have always felt it takes a month to feel settled in to a new job and a year to really see the "big picture" and how you fit in it.

So looking back over the past 12 months I wanted to share a few of my work highlights:

In February, we held our AGM & Conference. Over 140 delegates and speakers came together and examined holistic ways to fundraise. It was fantastic to see so many members from across the UK, hearing their experiences, questioning 'the norm' and learning new skills, tools and knowledge from one another. From your feedback we are pleased the day was a real success and acknowledge areas we can develop and adapt at next year's event.

The conference was also the launch of quarterly fundraising fora. We have already hosted two, one reviewing changes to ACE's funding and the other tackling the challenges of evaluation and reporting. These are crucial events, as they allow peer to peer discussion in smaller intimate settings and often leave members feeling reassured that many others are in the same boat. There will be at least two more fundraising forums and we also want to do others focusing on marketing and general management.

In August, the ITC team headed up to the Edinburgh Fringe. Shockingly this was my first time at the festival and I tried to do it justice, dashing to performances in between seminars; up early for breakfast shows; out late for comedy; drinks at Summerhall... I even got up Salisbury Crags.- all resulting in a fantastic and full-on week! I admire those of you that are there for the full month, you must need to sleep for a whole month afterwards. Across the 5 days ITC delivered a number of seminars and talks including one on Dignity at Work ran in partnership with with Equity and UK Theatre/SOLT. All the events were well attended by enthusiastic theatre makers, performers and producers. It was lovely to hear their thirst for knowledge and desire to learn best practice.

No sooner had we got back to London, we were off again for the ITC Board Retreat. Taking place every 18-24 months, the whole ITC board and team come together for two days to discuss what's going on in the organisation, membership, performing arts sector and world. Setting aside time to think about the bigger picture is essential for any organisation and sharing this experience with our board meant we were more untied on the aims and vision. If you're thinking about board away/training days, please do get in touch as this is something we can help you with or even facilitate.

So what will this coming year bring? Well, we have started to plan our next annual conference (details to be announced soon!) Our core training courses continue, with our popular new packages now having deluxe versions. As previously mentioned, we are wanting to run more fora and training courses, especially outside of London. We will be continuing our commitment to Dignity at Work, working closely with other management bodies, unions and the art councils. And a large focus will be looking at how we engage with you and your wider team, exploring how technology can support this and working closer with Hub members to help them support emerging companies and artists.

In the past couple of weeks I have started to feel part of the ITC furniture, it's great recognising you on the phone, in training and out and about. I am constantly gaining a better understanding of the work you each do, the challenges you face and how ITC can support with these. It is clear that there is a real commit across the independent theatre sector to managing things properly - whether it's paying people properly, writing contracts or dealing with a difficult grievance. Sadly, there are still are going to be challenges: abuse of power, inequity, funding cuts, lack of capacity, brexit (to name a few), but our sector is resilient, using best practice and placing core values at the heart of what we do and by doing this against the odds your creative work continues to be created and even strengthens. It has been fascinating to witness this over the year and I am excited to see what we can achieve over the year ahead.

Zoe is always wanting to hear from members about what they are doing, so please do get in touch via phone (020 7089 6821) or email (z.bateman@itc-arts.org).