Sheffield's Utopia Theatre is on lookout for brilliant new board members: Maxine Greaves

For more than ten years, Sheffield-based Utopia Theatre has been championing the wide range of benefits associated with making culture more accessible and inclusive.

I’ve proudly been Chair of the board for just under three years, during which time we’ve staged countless compelling productions and events, welcoming so many people who previously felt theatre, drama - even the arts as a whole - wasn’t for them.

As we embark on another exciting period for Utopia Theatre, which is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, we’re also focusing on how we bring audiences and future creatives on our journey on a more regular basis.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

That’s why we recently launched a Community Ensemble, encouraging people who want to learn production skills or hone their stage experience to join us.

Maxine Greaves is chair of Utopia TheatreMaxine Greaves is chair of Utopia Theatre
Maxine Greaves is chair of Utopia Theatre

Those community members, who need absolutely no experience but are simply asked to have an interest in African drama alongside a can-do attitude, will attend workshops and participate in our productions with partners such as Sheffield Theatres.

What an opportunity to help people enter the arts, or even find a hobby they’ve longed for.

Why is this worthy of note? Because, like with any arts organisation, representation matters.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We share stories of African heritage with our audiences and they are each powerful, vibrant and beautiful in their own right. Seeing a cast made up of people from the local community from all backgrounds and experience levels, performing alongside professional artists, is helping to break down those barriers.

We share stories of the African diaspora and our doors are open to anybody who has an interest in our work; they are advocates for our organisation and this speaks volumes to audiences.

Critically, what’s important is that people see a true representation of themselves and of the stories we tell.

This inspires both the production team and audiences; which in turn enables us to reach wider audiences. The positive feeling is infectious when you get it right. People look for a personal connection and we aim to deliver that in abundance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We are translating this ethos to our governance. Several brilliant existing members of our board are coming to the end of their tenure and we’re on the lookout for people who can represent us well, giving us strong direction to take our organisation to the next level.

It’s important that those people are reflective of our audience members, participants of our community classes, and have close connections to the Sheffield landscape.

We will also be introducing youth voices to our board too, as they will play a great role in leading the way for the next generation.

It’s essential our board represents what we do because, I feel, this has a tremendous ripple effect when inspiring people within and outside of our organisation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Utopia Theatre is keen to hear from people who could contribute as a trustee and we have a keen interest in hearing from people with strong connections in Sheffield and with skills in areas such as safeguarding and wellbeing, film and television, fundraising, accounting, digital/technology and Human Resources.

We know that there are amazing people out there who are a perfect fit and have the chance to move the dial for African theatre of the future right here in Yorkshire. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Maxine Greaves MBE is chair of the Utopia Theatre board.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.