Theatre of Debate - new operating model for theatre company specialising in public engagement in science

“GMV have enabled us to make sense of what we do – taking it from a different perspective and repacking it. We now have more clarity and focus – and I have found the whole experience very positive and helpful for what has been a complex transition for me and the organisation.” Nigel Townsend, founder

Theatre of Debate’s founder and Artistic Director, Nigel Townsend, saw GMV founder Mandy Berry speak about our work on business models with Miracle Theatre – and something clicked.

Theatre of Debate is a charity set up just over a year ago to use performance to engage the public in research especially in science and medicine. It carries on 25 years’ work of Y Touring which operated within the Central YMCA.

Nigel commissioned the GMV team to help him establish a new model overall for this creative enterprise which connects the worlds of the creative arts and public engagement in science and research.

We started off by working with Nigel and his team to develop business models – in the widest ‘business model canvas’ sense of the term – for the way performance, debate, learning materials and creative facilitation can be of value to research organisations, public bodies, community organisations and schools.

Coming out of this, we helped create new messaging and designs for marketing collateral – and created a financial model blueprint which enables the team and its trustees to model different scenarios and see how each kind of project contributes to running costs or requires external funding.

We uncovered hidden value in the company’s past catalogue of plays and films – as well as its unique way of combining the expertise of researchers and writers for theatre in making performances, and the format of its debates which engage young people and adults alike in dealing with the complex implications of research on society.

We’ve made this work practically by providing advice and templates for the way their projects are contracted – both from funders and the creatives and experts who work with them. We’ve provided the thinking and justifications for productions to be treated as intangible assets to the company.

As the company moved to being a charity, we helped create the structures and reporting for the way finances are managed and its board of trustees engaged in developing the strategy for the organisation and helping it make wise decisions.

“Mandy and Patrick have quite unique skills – it’s a kind of magic. I don’t really believe in ‘consultants’ and neither do they. Too much thinking destroys creativity – but the way the GMV team work is much more imaginative and empathetic, providing security, inspiration and wisdom.” Nigel Townsend