Rosie Timoney, Solicitor, Carson McDowell and Chair, Bruiser Theatre Company
A&B NI Young Professionals on Arts Boards participant 2015-16
“When I heard about the Arts and Business Young Professionals on Arts Boards Programme, it was a no brainer. To me it was a rare opportunity to develop board leadership skills whilst exercising my legal knowledge against the backdrop of the Arts.
As a lover of the Arts, a jazz singer and occasional actress I was delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the cause of the Arts in Northern Ireland. I am also solicitor in Belfast’s largest independent law firm, Carson McDowell and I work within the practice area of corporate and charity law so the programme was a great way for me to build on my experience of providing corporate governance advice to charitable companies in Northern Ireland.
I completed the programme in early 2016. Since then Carson McDowell took the decision to develop their relationship with Arts and Business and in 2018 I was appointed to devise and deliver a new corporate governance training programme to incoming charitable trustees placed with the Young Professionals on Arts Board programme. I have been delivering the training programme since then.
Following the programme I was paired with Bruiser Theatre Company, being appointed as a director in September 2016. I was delighted to be paired with Bruiser, Northern Ireland’s foremost physical theatre company. They consistently produce high quality theatre that excites and stimulates audiences with such fabulous productions as Cabaret, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Colleen Bawn and Playhouse Creatures.
At the time I joined the board Bruiser was core funded by the Arts Council. However after a period of two years on a board of a thriving theatre company we sadly had to launch our #savebruiser campaign. In the face of the news that we would not be included in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s 2018/19 Annual Funding Programme, we were faced with the very real possibility of closure.
In the midst of this uncertainty I stepped up as Chair of the board. I was naturally daunted by the prospect but was adamant that Bruiser would come through this challenging time. We as a company had to take a deep breath and regroup.
Now, over a year later Bruiser is continuing to deliver high quality theatre experiences that excite, stimulate, and inspire. Our remount of The 39 Steps in Spring 2019 was met with roaring reviews leaving audience members “Spellbound”. We have completed a host of exciting new projects including a partnership with Queen’s University Belfast’s drama students where we ran a production of The Trial at the Brian Friel Theatre. Our annual youth programmes A Day with Bruiser and The Arts Academy continue to be popular with young actors and there are plenty more exciting projects in the pipeline.
After a recruitment drive, our board is as dynamic and fresh as it has ever been. Bruiser is lucky to have a board of members who are committed to facing the current challenges head on and supporting the Artistic Director, Lisa May in her vision. The board is passionate about supporting the profound legacy of Bruiser’s relevance and driving Bruiser forward in new and exciting directions.
We are working hard to ensure that we can secure the crucial funding we require to allow us to deliver the innovative and meaningful work that, over the past 20 years, has allowed Bruiser to develop a diverse audience and terrific reputation across the island of Ireland. Happily we have recently had some great success on the funding front and are delighted that Bruiser has not merely survived but continues to thrive.
Arts & Business is generously supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.