National award for Dorothy Wilson and 5m visits reached, amid increased sales and significant ‘firsts’ at mac Birmingham

Now celebrating her 25th year at mac birmingham, Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Dorothy Wilson MBE FRSA, was awarded a new accolade - UK Theatre Insurance Award for Theatre Employee/Manager of the Year 2015, won jointly alongside Gaby Paradis, from the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

The awards ceremony, which took place in London yesterday (Sun 18 Oct) honours outstanding achievement in regional theatre throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The event was also attended by Dame Eileen Atkins DBE, Sir Patrick Stewart OBE, Barbara Windsor MBE and Richard Wilson OBE. This personal recognition for Dorothy tops off a year of increased visits, sales and some significant firsts at Birmingham’s most visited arts centre.

Since re-opening in 2010 mac has reached a record breaking 5.4 million visits to date, doubling the number of annual arts engagements before its £15.2m redevelopment. During 2014/15 mac’s income from arts activities also rose by 22%, alongside a 33% increase in its retail activities, which incorporates its shop, craft and food markets.

2014/15 increases also include:

  • 71% of income is self-generated (57% in previous year).

  • Meeting and conference bookings – up 15%.

  • Online sales up 71% 2013/14 (new website created Feb 2013).

  • mac was rated 51st in the Midlands Most Influential Twitter users listings compiled by social media analysts Lissted.

  • £7.15 generated for every £1 of Birmingham City Council Investment (2013/14 - £6.89).

Firsts for mac during 2014/15 include:

  • Admitted to Tate Modern’s prestigious touring programme ARTIST ROOMS with an exhibition of Robert Therrien’s work – a disconcerting installation of supersized table and chairs.

  • Disability Curator in Residence, Noemi Lakmaier, supported by DASH (Disability Arts Shropshire)

  • An extended programme of outdoor and alternative screenings from partners including NT Live, RSC Live, Glyndebourne and ENO (English National Opera).

Increased Sustainability:

  • mac produced 9,568.21kWh of electricity from its solar panels

  • A switch to LED lighting and movement sensors produced a total reduction to date of 7,835 kWh

Reflecting on mac’s activities Dorothy commented:

It has been an astonishing year of achievements for mac, with artists, our staff and supporters offering an experience that ensures visitors continue to enjoy our wide-ranging activities. While funding continues to fall across the board, partners such as the People’s Postcode Lottery recognise our unique offer and have been generous, enabling us to offer increased free events throughout the year. Additionally, we have worked hard as an organisation to increase our earned income and this continues to bear fruit with a growth in sales across all our arts activities, including cinema and creative learning courses. Our footfall growth, which includes visits from the many diverse communities on our doorstep, is testament to the open and supportive environment that mac engenders. We will continue to ensure we remain a vital part of access to the arts for all that visit mac, now and in the future.



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