PracticeConsultingEverybody counts – Setting the awards stage

Everybody counts - Setting the awards stage

Chartered accountant Graham Lamont's vision of sustaining and enhancing a threatened performing arts tradition in Keswick, drove him to provide financial backing to build a theatre. The theatre now hosts a varied programme of drama, music, dance, visual arts and youth theatre and has created a new cultural business with a £1m turnover.

In 1991 Graham became joint chair of the charity behind the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick. The theatre had been plagued by financial and planning uncertainties for over a decade. Together with co-chair, Vicky Robinson, he took responsibility for the theatre’s design, construction, funding and management.

For eight years, while juggling full-time business commitments, Graham and Vicky spearheaded an intensive fundraising campaign, raising almost #1m and financially managing a complex construction project. For the first six years they worked with minimal resources and no supporting staff.

The theatre which cost £6.25m, has a 400-seat auditorium and an 80-seat studio, was not only completed on schedule and within budget but also opened with an £80,000 revenue reserve, safeguarding it from the operating deficits that afflict many regional theatres.

After its first twelve months of operation, 75,000 tickets had been sold for performances, a level of success which has exceeded all predictions.

The theatre is having a significant economic impact on the region. Last year it generated £325,000 in additional income for the local economy by attracting new visitors to the area.

Commenting on the Everybody Counts awards scheme, Graham Lamont said: ‘The awards scheme is a wonderful initiative.

‘Not only does it recognise those who are doing good work but also it highlights the opportunities available to charities for help from chartered accountants.’

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