Blog 2016/17

Blog 2016/17

Week 45: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

I feel that since taking part in the Arts & Business Cymru Creative Internships Programme I have developed an understanding of business terminology. I recall the induction day at Eversheds where I felt as if I knew nothing and I was going into this whole situation blind. When I expressed this to Clio (in Strand Two) she reassured me that the programme was an internship, and no one expects you to know anything at all. She was right, and over the course of the year I feel like I am now much more comfortable with basic business terminologies. The Arts & Business Cymru training courses at Eversheds also assisted in increasing my confidence, including two training events early on, which had given me an introduction to fundraising strands like Big Lottery and ACW. These sessions paired with the Cardiff Development Forum, and Cardiff Business Club have proven a great way to meet people working in the sector with all different levels of experience.

My experience of Event Co-ordination has also increased during the course of the previous 11 months. I have assisted in the co-ordination of events for Sherman as well as Arts & Business Cymru. In terms of my own fundraising knowledge, I feel that over the past 11 months I have developed an awareness of the application process and a further understanding of the role of an arts fundraiser, especially considering that when I applied for the role I had no knowledge of the sector. Before taking part in the Internship I was only aware of funding bodies like Arts Council Wales and other Arts Councils around the UK, now however I feel much more confident in my grant research ability and am aware that there are numerous funding bodies out there including public bodies, trusts and foundations, corporates, and individuals. I submitted my first application to the Co-Op Community Fund this April which was Successful in making Sherman Theatre’s Deaf Theatre Club one of Co-Op’s selected community charities. 

I am sad to be leaving the team at Sherman Theatre today. The experience I've had here has been amazingly life changing. It's given me so many skills I can use in future endeavours, and the people I've worked with have been wonderfully supportive of me in all areas of my work. They are all true professionals in their field and I'm honoured to have worked with them and to have learned from them. The future is scary. But I'm ready.

Week 44: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

I remember applying for the A&B Cymru Creative Internships Programme.  I was fresh out of university, trying to work out what do with my life and how to use my degree when I realised that arts fundraising could be the perfect career for me. Who’d have thought that just a few years later I’d have completed placements at three National organisations, met so many amazing people and learned so much about fundraising and myself. I’m so grateful to have had these opportunities, and to have been placed within such amazing organisations that have prepared me for the next stage in my career. These placements have given me the skills to develop a career in fundraising, and the opportunity to learn from some of the best development teams and arts organisations in Cardiff. 

Over the past 11 months at NTW I have not only learnt about fundraising, I’ve become more confident in my abilities and more certain in knowing where I want my career to go. Working with such a supportive and creative company like NTW has really allowed me to take a step back and see why I want to be in this line of work. Going in to arts fundraising, my aim was to help artists and arts organisations go further with their work, and to contribute to the arts sector in Wales. I am glad to say that my placements have got me on the path to reach these goals and I feel incredibly lucky to have been an A&B Cymru Creative Intern!


So I can hardly believe that this is my final week at RWCMD, 11 months has just flown by! When starting with RWCMD and NTW, I don’t think I appreciated quite how much the two placements could complement each other to create a balanced and well-rounded experience. The projects and tasks I’ve undertaken here have allowed me to become more confident in my abilities, and strengthen my skills whilst continuing to learn within a supportive team.

Working with the team here at RWCMD has been such a valuable experience, and the skills they’ve helped me develop, through working on events, corporate research, and trusts and foundations, will definitely help me in future roles. It has been such a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of fundraising within higher education and how the students can benefit in the long term through having such a strong support network so early on in their careers.

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have worked with the team here, and I’ll be sad to leave this week, but I’m also hugely excited for what comes next and to take the next steps in my fundraising career! I also want to say a huge thank you A&B Cymru and everyone who has supported the Creative Internships Programme! It really has been a great experience and I’m so grateful to have been given this opportunity. 

Week 43: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

It feels like no time at all has passed since I wrote my penultimate blog and I feel sad to be so close to the end of what has been an incredible 11 months with Wales Millennium Centre. I can’t thank my colleagues on the Development team enough.  Thanks too to the staff throughout the building who have made this whole experience so richly rewarding. I will miss coming into work here every day under that copper inscription and feeling awed by this amazing place! My deepest thanks to everyone I have met and worked with this year for making the start of my career an experience I never would have thought possible so soon after graduating.

When I started here 11 months ago I had only recently begun to know about arts fundraising.  I can remember clearly being sat in my first team meeting with my new colleagues feeling baffled by the jargon flying about the room, thinking ‘I’ll never get the hang of this in under a year’. But the knowledge I feel like I have picked up from this internship, not purely arts fundraising knowledge but also life lessons, is invaluable to me and I know I will carry that into my next roles and further steps on in my career. Wales Millennium Centre and A&B Cymru have helped me develop my confidence and find a tangible career option for me to throw my passion for the arts into. I never thought in such a short space of time I would have been so successful in developing relationships and partnerships with other businesses, donors and other arts fundraisers, nor secured several different trusts and foundations grants or been given account management responsibility.

As for next steps - as of 2017/18 I’ll be in the next cohort of A&B Cymru creative interns under Strand 2, undertaking 2 part-time placements. A&B Cymru aren’t getting rid of me that easily! I’m very excited to see what the next year brings and how working with 2 different organisations will round out my fundraising experience.

Week 42: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

It makes me smile to think about the version of myself that started the internship almost 2 years ago… It’s funny how much you think you know about something, only to look back and realise that you were so young and knew so little of the world. I suppose I’ll read this in a few years and smile again.

Reading back over the first A&B Cymru blog that I wrote way back in September of 2015, I realise the extent to which I’ve changed. My first desk, work e-mail and induction into a file sharing system seem to have delighted me then. I seemed surprised to find the arts operating in the business world - I guess I have to come to find that the whole world operates in such a way… and back then, I was an ‘artist’ through and through - now thanks to the experience I’ve gained, I have changed my opinion of what art is and what it can be.

“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action” - Herbert Spencer, 1820-1903

I used this quote to start my first blog and in many ways, it seems to have become more relevant as time has gone by. I originally used the quote to describe my enthusiasm for putting everything I had learnt at university into action, but in fact this internship has educated me in a field that is all about creating action. I have learnt that fundraising is the step in the creative process that allows ideas to become reality and being involved in making things happen has been incredibly rewarding. Looking around The Gate today, I feel true joy to see those tangible things that I have helped to make happen. I feel empowered to apply fundraising to my own ideas and have come to feel that fundraising should be a part of every arts degree – just as important as how to make work is how to make that work happen (as Spencer rightly concluded, long before I did).

I have always been interested in understanding how the world around us works and I have always learnt best from doing – this internship has met both of those needs perfectly. As I correctly guessed in my first blog, I have focused my time on fundraising but like to think I’ve learnt about the rest of the process too. I have seen the ideas of artists be transformed into an important international exhibition and prize (and all the practical details of what needs to happen to do this…) and at a time when it seems community assets and connections have been decreasing, I have learnt not only how to keep an organisation resilient and sustainable but also the incredible power of community arts to counteract some of these contemporary challenges. I have made so many meaningful and enriching connections with others right across Wales and beyond and will be very sad to say my farewells.

This internship has undoubtedly shaped my past, present and future, and in conclusion, all that I can say is thank you- thank you A&B Cymru and the passionate staff there, thank you to both the organisations I have worked with and thank you to all of the funders who have supported this internship programme. Thank you to my many mentors and all of those I have worked with, who have helped me and offered advice and insight and thank you other interns who have always been there for support. Importantly, thank you Wales for welcoming me here and all that you have given me – this is a beautiful country and it has been a pleasure to contribute to the arts here. 

Week 41: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

As we are nearing the end of the internship I am currently applying for opportunities. The past 11 months have been an amazingly enlightening experience for a person who had no experience or knowledge of fundraising. I feel I now have a general understanding which I can build on in my future career. Working at Sherman Theatre has provided me with insight to the inner workings of an arts organisation. I also feel that the internship has provided me with skills and relevant experiences that are transferable into other roles at other organisations.

Recently I assisted in the co-ordination of the Arts & Business Cymru Awards with the other interns. The night was a great experience and it’s amazing to see how everyone’s hard work paid off, the feedback I’ve heard from attendees including Sherman Theatre’s Chief Executive and my business mentor Lynne Sheehy has been nothing but positive.  

Currently I am looking at ways to increase front of house donations for The Sherman after completing a large body of research on various giving streams. As stated in a previous blog post these have included QR codes, text giving, crowdfunding, social media fundraising, payroll giving and give as you shop campaigns. In the coming weeks I’m going to be filling out a draft application for the project I have been given the opportunity to create for Sherman Theatre which the fundraising manager will submit at a later date to Awards For All.

In conclusion I’d like to reiterate the incredible 11 month experience I’ve had at Sherman Theatre. I am proud to have been a part of the team here and to have contributed to the work of the organisation. Everyone at Sherman has contributed to my learning in some capacity over the course of the internship and I cannot emphasise enough how grateful I am. In terms of the work I have seen during my time here, it has been inspirational. Specifically Killology, How My Light Is Spent and Iphigenia in Splott, which I was given the opportunity to see in a rehearsal room before the New York run. Sherman Theatre has been a part of my life since studying drama at GCSE, and I am confident that I will always maintain some sort of relationship with Sherman Theatre moving forward.

Week 40: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

This past month seems to have disappeared, especially after a week of annual leave, and now the end of the internship seems to be just around the corner. Between trust applications for upcoming projects and trying to wrap my head around the GDPR changes, I’ve also launched our Invest in New Ideas Blog. The first in the series came out this month, written by an artist who NTW has worked with many times in the past. They will be written by a variety of artists who have been supported by NTW, who will explain how their ideas have grown and developed through support, both financially and creatively, from NTW.

The Invest in New Ideas campaign is fundraising to work with more artists to support their ideas. This could be through a simple meeting to help talk through an idea, funding an R&D or even a fully commissioned production to turn an idea into something much bigger, the aim is to help artists grow their work through funding and support. It is really important that we get this message across to our audiences and donors, and let them know exactly what their donations can support, and the best way of doing that is hearing it from the artists themselves. To take a look at our blogs visit our website here –

It’s strange to think there is just over a month until our internships are over, hopefully I’ll be able to fit a lot into these last few weeks and get ready for whatever comes next!


This past month has been packed with events at the College, including an event for Friends Connect last week, which was a great opportunity to meet more of the supporters of the College and see the students perform, and Friday was the biggest event for the students, graduation! It was also a big day for the college as it was the last graduation with Hilary before she leaves after 10 years as principal.

As well as the RWCMD events, I also worked at the Arts & Business Cymru Awards, assisting with the preparation and running of the event. The Awards were also an important moment for RWCMD, as the The Robert Maskrey Award for Arts Philanthropy was won by Ian Stoutzker, a generous donor of RWCMD. He has supported the college for many years, providing the College with the world class concert venue, the Dora Stoutzker Concert Hall, as well supporting the annual Ian Stoutzker Prize. It was great for such a valued supporter of the college to be recognised for all their philanthropy, especially with the talented students and alumni from RWCMD performing at the awards ceremony.

I look forward to see what my last month at RWCMD has in store! 

Week 39: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

I can’t believe how fast the end of the internship is now approaching, and that this is my penultimate blog!  The hard work is still ongoing, and I have no intention of slowing down before finishing the 11 months. The 2017 Arts & Business Cymru Awards have now come and gone – I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of being part of such an event, and although Friday 23rd June was probably one of the longest days of my life – it was richly rewarding to have a hand in making possible a night celebrating the amazing partnerships between businesses and the arts in Wales. I have definitely discovered throughout the internship so far that I love being involved in events – I have since volunteered to assist our Events Officer (former A&B Cymru intern Ava!) in facilitating a supporter’s event that we are having for our Platinum and Gold Promise members next week. I will also be making use of my photography skills for the first time in a while and photographing the event for our social media channels.

The applications process for 2017/18 internships will be completed by the time this blog goes up, and I can’t stress enough to future interns preparing for their interviews how much experience they will gain from this programme – I firmly believe it’s the best internship out there within the arts in Wales. Around this time last year I was preparing for my own interview - reading the previous interns blogs to learn more about arts fundraising in Wales. I quickly became excited by the prospect of a graduate position that not only fit with the skillset I had developed throughout my degree, but also offered me a route into the sector I was most passionate about, opportunity for development of business skills that I desired, and in a career I hadn’t previously considered would be such a good fit for me. The experience has been an amazing one, for which I have everyone that I’ve worked with in Arts & Business Cymru, Wales Millennium Centre, and other individuals I’ve met through this scheme to thank. I know that I want to carry on fundraising for the arts long after the internship has finished. 

Week 38: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

Well wasn’t that a blast! Anyone who was in the Wales Millennium Centre last Friday evening will know what I’m talking about; another year, another Arts & Business Cymru Awards!

Helping to deliver the awards for the second year running was a great experience and a busy day! Working alongside the wonderful Arts & Business  Cymru team was a brilliant learning opportunity, and having never worked with an organisation to deliver such a large-scale event (I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Artes Mundi 7 Awards as a guest), I felt it was particularly useful to observe the level of detailed planning required to deliver an event successfully. It was also a wonderful opportunity to learn about the successful partnerships that exist between nominated arts organisations and their sponsoring businesses.

This was the view from the night…

Week 37: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

This month the Sherman 5 project manager and I will be meeting with the new Store Manager of the Crwys Road Co-op. She contacted me via email and says that she and her team are looking forward to working alongside us with our community fundraising campaign in support of Deaf Theatre Club through the Co-Op Community Fund. We’ll be meeting to discuss how we can raise the profile of the Campaign and to provide staff and customers with information regarding the sort of work Sherman 5 does including Deaf Theatre Club.

As the internship comes towards an end I’ve been learning as much as I can about other arts organisations in Cardiff and the sort of work they do. I have spent a deal of my time becoming aware of what jobs are out there for a person with the skills I have developed over the previous year at Sherman Theatre.

Filling out job applications following a competency frame work is a relatively new process to me. However this month I have attended a recruitment training session at the Arts & Business Cymru Offices which I found very helpful. I’ve also continued one to one sessions with Sherman Theatre's Chief Executive Julia Barry. Her experience and insight to the recruitment process has provided me with more confidence whilst addressing competencies in job applications. 

Week 36: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

This past month at NTW I have been busy working on the continuing development of our Invest in New Ideas campaign through planning how to reach more donors, as well as working on trust applications and researching further funding possibilities.

This week I also attended a training day to help prepare for changes to the data protection regulations coming into action next year, and it is clear that these changes are going to have a huge impact on how charities function.  

One of the main things I took away from this training is that organisations will be handing the control of how data is used back to the donors and customers. A lot of people have lost trust in charities when it comes to data and transparency, and there are charities who have been known to receive a ‘one-off’ donation via text message, only to then call their donor on a weekly basis for the next few months or sell their details on to other companies. This has a knock-on effect on all charities trying to raise funds and gather data, and possible donors may avoid donating online or by text, or at all. So, although these changes will mean a huge amount of planning, resource and work for organisations, it will hopefully create a much safer and more honest standard of handling data, and it may also lead to people trusting charities more.

We’re now approaching the last 2 months of our placements and have the Arts & Business Cymru Awards coming up, so I’m sure the next month will be a busy one! I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can do in my last couple of months as an intern.


This past month at RWCMD there has been a big focus on events. For the annual President’s Dinner I was responsible for managing the event on the evening, mainly ensuring that the guests were having a nice time, all of the performers and speakers were cued in time and in the right place, and generally making sure the evening ran smoothly. This was really great to get this experience in event managing, and it was lovely to see many of the supporters of the college join together and celebrate the work of the college.

This event focus seems to be continuing throughout the next month with two more RWCMD events coming up as well as the A&B Cymru Awards Ceremony on the 23rd, which will be another great opportunity to come together and celebrate the achievements and partnerships of organisations across Wales.

Last week, organisations were invited to apply to the Creative Internships Programme 2017/18, which makes it seem like no time at all until we finish our placements and the new interns begin their fundraising journey! If you are thinking about applying for a creative intern in your organisation, or you’re an arts graduate looking to explore a career in arts fundraising, don’t hesitate to apply! As I am nearing the end of my strand two placements I can honestly say it has been a great way to learn all about arts fundraising and a great experience all round. 

Week 35: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

We are in the final two months of the internship now, but there are still lots of exciting events and work going ahead to look forward to. At the end of this month, the 24th annual Arts & Business Cymru Awards are taking place at Wales Millennium Centre, and I’ll be working this event as well as rooting for the Centre to win the Arts & Small Business Award with NomNom Chocolate.

I am also looking forward this week to attending the First Wednesday Club business networking event and talk on cyber security with my business mentor Robert, and practicing networking and recruitment skills with Robert and also during another training session with Arts & Business Cymru. The session will cover useful techniques for interviews, including roleplaying interview situations, and a focused CV and job application workshop.

My focus at the Centre over the last month has been on working towards and securing corporate sponsorships. I am pleased to say I have secured corporate support for our Radio Platfform project, and am waiting to hear back about a corporate proposal I put together in alignment with our Festival of Voice programme for 2018. I have also secured another couple of trust grants towards core funding for the Centre, so it has been a fairly successful month all in all.

Before taking a week’s holiday last week to go to the Hay Festival, I also greatly enjoyed the afternoon at The Gate where Clio and Sarah hosted the Development Forum, finding the discussions on working together with other charities and another on data protection to be very interesting (and the fundraising bingo and ice lollies a welcome addition!).  

Week 34: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

This month as ever has been packed with various fundraising projects at The Gate. My focus has been on sponsorship, core funding and project funding for Christmas at The Gate, a magical time in the building during which we welcome over 8,000 children from across South Wales.  I have also been implementing some changes, such as the introduction and design of our charity box and associated ‘ask’.

This month I have also undergone detailed training on PatronBase, a system used for bookings, CRM, online processes and general venue management. This was incredibly useful as I can now make much better use of our data and audience information. I now have the ability to change the wording on our online donations ask and have been testing new approaches. Partially daunted by the magnitude of possibilities this training has opened to me, while equally incredibly excited to get stuck-in, I will definitely be making use of PatronBase on a daily basis from now on! 

I have also hosted the Cardiff Development Forum here at The Gate, a wonderful opportunity for arts fundraisers across the city to come together and discuss common elements of our work as well as the traditional fundraising-related game that featured a meticulously prepared ‘fundraising bingo’  (the brain-child of Sarah Chew, my manager). Needless to say, much fun(draising) was had…

On a more serious note, an important topic of the meeting was the upcoming legislation surrounding data-protection and the impact this will have on each of our organisations, with interpretations and finer points of the impacts uncertain even amongst experts, there will be significant changes necessary in the utilization and collection of data.

Week 33: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

Over the previous month I have been working on a body of research involving community and additional fundraising streams. I’ve been focusing my research on QR codes, text giving, crowdfunding, social media fundraising, payroll giving and give as you shop campaigns. I’ve been looking specifically at the different funding streams that are out there, how people are using different tools to raise money and how fundraising in different charity sectors works in comparison to the arts. I’ve also been looking into fundraising events from all around the UK to see what other organisations are offering and to see what we can offer as an organisation to raise funds for Sherman Theatre. Exploring any potential ways to engage with supporters and prospective funders.

In the coming weeks I’m looking to attend more training days at Legal & General, as well as compile a list of any in house training I wish to receive from Sherman Theatre in before the end of my internship. For instance although I have used Excel before for basic jobs I could use some training in all the various formulas you can use to make your spreadsheets more effective.

As the internship is nearing the end I’ve also been meeting one to one with Sherman Theatre’s Chief Executive Julia Barry to go through the job application process and to learn from her wealth of experience in recruitment. In our previous meeting we discussed suggested amendments to my CV and how to address competency framework in a job application. I intend to use the last weeks of my internship to consolidate my learning and experience within the organisation. 

Week 32: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

This past month I have been focusing on the strategic planning for the next steps in our fundraising at NTW. ­­We have been evaluating our successes this year so far, and gathering input from the board to inform our decisions for our next steps. With NTW’s new season of work, including the recently announced ‘We’re Still Here’ in Port Talbot, we will be continuing to work with new artists, new communities and exploring new subjects. This gives me a great opportunity to find ways of ensuring our fundraising efforts work alongside our productions and connect with new audiences.

Alongside this I have been working on trust applications, building on our marketing plan for our campaign and researching further possibilities for diversifying our income streams. This week I have also begun Welsh lessons at NTW again! These lessons are a really great experience and even learning just some basic conversational Welsh will be really valuable working in Wales.

In the next month, I will also be attending the Institute of Fundraising’s training regarding the changes to the data protection regulations which will be implemented in 2018. These changes will impact how fundraisers handle data and communicate with donors and the training can ensure that NTW can put any changes into action before the regulations change.

It’s hard to believe there is only around 3 months left of my placement, I’m looking forward to see what else I can fit into my remaining time here!


The summer term is a busy period for events at RWCMD, so the past few weeks have been spent preparing for them. In a couple of weeks we are hosting the President’s Dinner, an occasion for us to get supporters of the college together to celebrate our Principal’s ten years with the college before she leaves at the end of term. This will be the first event I will be managing at the college, ensuring everything runs smoothly on the night and our guests have a great time. Although the prospect of managing an event with over 100 guests is rather intimidating, this is sure to be a really valuable experience and will hopefully be an enjoyable evening for everyone!

I am also working on trust applications which I will be submitting in the next couple of weeks, and continuing with my research through Grantfinder. With only a few months left of the internship I will be trying to fit as much as possible into my remaining time here and preparing for my next steps after my placement!  

Week 31: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

The past month has been a personally challenging one for me outside of the internships programme, but it is often during difficult times that we are provided with opportunities for reflection and personal growth. So as the internship moves into the final few months I am conscious of focusing on how to get the most out of the remaining time, as well as prepare for job applications and interviews, already benefitting from a session with A&B on interview and CV skills.

In happy news, we’ve also had some lovely new faces join our team here at the Centre, who I have recently been helping to train up on Tessitura and pass on valuable skills I’ve learned, which in turn has strengthened my own understanding of using the systems. Additionally, I’ve enjoyed success in the last few weeks with a couple of trust applications for Tiger Bay, and for community project support - and am waiting to hear back on a couple of significant corporate supporter and sponsorship proposals I have been dedicating a lot of my recent time and effort into following the 5 Steps to Sponsorship course last month.  

In the month ahead, I’m looking forward to the launch of our Radio Platfform youth programme here - which is a project that I am personally really passionate about. I am looking forward to seeing what the radio group has been putting together, and mixing with some of our supporters and prospects for Radio Platfform support.

Week 30: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

The past few weeks has seen quite a bit of change at The Gate!

First of all, it has seen the rather exciting transformation of our café space, thanks to incredible support from The Jane Hodge Foundation.  Originally furnished with hard wooden restaurant tables and chairs that were both impractical and uncomfortable, the space is now much more friendly and inviting. We now have long communal tables, benches and lovely stackable chairs, armchairs for the cosy corner and a freshly painted bar. We are thrilled with it!

The past few weeks has also seen me deliver my first community activity that I’ve worked on for some time alongside our generous sponsor, Western Power Distribution.  A year-long programme of free monthly community sessions called ‘Brew’ kicked off this week with a wonderful tea party that was enjoyed by local residents. With added support from many suppliers including Tesco, Parsons, Eames Vintage Tea Hire and Dough, we were able to go the extra mile with sandwiches, several varieties of cakes, beautiful tea sets and an all round lovely afternoon.

In the past week we have also received the incredible news that The Oakdale Trust will be supporting our week long Summer Youth Theatre Camp in August. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to deliver this project and the support of The Oakdale Trust means that we will be able to offer bursaries to attend the camp and work with a director and theatre production company who are outstanding at what they do.

Having delivered the first Brew session, my focus now returns to core funding priorities, and sponsorship for our Christmas Production that in many ways is the highlight of our year and magical time in the building. Recent training courses with A&B Cymru have prepared me well for working in the field of sponsorship and I look forward to working in partnership with more businesses. 

Week 29: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

This month I’ve been focusing on completing my research on trusts and foundations, formatting research profiles and updating information. From the time I have spent researching these organisations I’ve discovered how extremely varied they are in their different approaches to grant giving. It’s also been interesting to look back at my earlier work and to see how the past few months of fundraising experience has made a difference to my work and to see how much I have learnt since my internship began. I’ve also been working on my project idea for a future Lottery application, through the Awards for All funding programme. Since my last blog I have met with Sherman Theatre’s Chief Executive, Julia Barry, to discuss the project and how to move forward with it over the next few months.

I’m also delighted to announce that my first ever application was successful! Sherman Theatre has been chosen by the Co-Op Community Fund as one of their local causes for the next six months, raising money to support our deaf and hearing impaired audience members through the Deaf Theatre Club. Through the Co-Op Community Fund, Co-Op members are able to give 1% of everything they spend to support local charities. If you would like to help Sherman Theatre to raise funds then please click on the following link and pledge your 1% to us:

It continues to be a really busy time here, with lots happening both here in Cardiff and out on tour. Iphigenia in Splott has just been performed at the Schaubühne in Berlin and preparations are underway for its month long tour to New York, as part of the Brits Off Broadway festival in May. Killology, our co-production with Royal Court Theatre, received a great response and sold out its run here in Cardiff. It opens in London in May and I’m really looking forward to a helping with a cultivation event at the Royal Court in June.

Aside from fundraising, I’ve also had the opportunity to join the Sherman Players, a drama group actors aged 18+. As part of the group I am working on an upcoming production of The Government Inspector directed by Sherman’s Youth and Community Associate, Anna Poole. 

Week 28: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

This past month seems to have flown by and I now have less than 5 months left of my internships! At the end of March I was able to go to Rhyl in North Wales for the NTW production, Lifted by Beauty: Adventures in Dreaming, created by artist Mark Storor. The production was as surreal as it was beautiful, and I really enjoyed seeing how it had all come together. It was amazing hearing how many people from Rhyl had told their stories and wanted to get involved, and it was so great to see how many people from the community came to see the production. This community focus within NTW’s work makes it all the more important to find more funding, and reach more communities across Wales.

In the past month or so I have been working on research for a trust application, researching further ways to diversify our income, and reflecting on the progress of our Invest in New Ideas campaign so far so we can develop it further. I have also attended A&B Cymru training courses on lottery funding and corporate sponsorship which have both been incredibly helpful, and have provided me with information and skills to apply to my work across both organisations.

Now we’ve passed the half-way point in our internships, I’ll be focusing on planning the next 4 1/2 months and how I can achieve as much as possible in the remaining time.


At RWCMD I have been focusing on writing two trusts applications, as well as attending meetings with potential corporate sponsors and continuing with on-going research tasks. It has been great to see and learn how relationships with businesses can build, and how those relationships are developed over time. The A&B Cymru sponsorship training was really useful to bring into my learning at RWCMD, especially with elements such as how to set the price of your sponsorship, and how to match a project with the right sponsor. It was interesting to see how everyone in the training session priced the sponsorship differently, as it really shows how difficult it can be to put a price on how valuable a relationship is for both parties.

I have also been meeting with my business mentor, Anna, who has been helping me plan for after my internship. We have been looking at how I can prepare myself for applying for jobs and planning to make sure I have the skills employers are looking for. It has been useful to speak to Anna about what I would want out of a job and confirm my ideas about what I want to do next. 

Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll be submitting my applications and starting the planning for our summer events at the college! 

Week 27: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

Over the past few weeks, I`ve been learning the ropes of account management here at the Centre, arranging meetings with corporates, booking in tickets, getting to grips with adding on their contributions in Tessitura (tricky!) and benefitting from one of Arts & Business Cymru’s training courses on sponsorship, which is helping me to shape a proposal I am currently working on. During the course there was an engaging talk from Pat Ashman of Principality Building Society, who gave the attendees some valuable insight into the business perspective of a sponsorship. I found the course particularly useful because it had a mix of presentation about fundraising guidelines from the perspective of the arts organisation, discussion from the viewpoint of the business, and also group activities which enabled me to put the new skills into practice.

We also held a supporter event here at the Centre a couple of weeks ago around Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes which gave me the opportunity to put some names to faces at last. Getting to know the supporters hardly feels like work and is more of an enjoyable part of it, but there is a lot of work that goes on beforehand to ensure that they receive the best hospitality we can offer and added benefits such as Q&As with dancers from the show and post-show set tours can be delivered. All in all it was a successful evening, with one supporter who previously held firm that he was a not a fan of dance shows ensured us his mind had been changed by the end of The Red Shoes - and he’d be back for the next one.

Lastly, I was delighted to discover that my first trust application for our community outreach work surrounding Tiger Bay has been successful! 

Week 26: Bethan Lewis, Artes Mundi

I am now more than half way through the internship, a point for a certain amount of reflection. It has been a packed 6 months full of events, an exhibition, hosting Plus Tate and a very busy fundraising schedule. I did not realise quite what we have been able to achieve in that time until reflecting at my half way meeting.

I have just drafted and completed two Trust & Foundation applications and am in the process of applying for funding from overseas sponsors for a major project coming up in the Autumn. I have been updating the CRM database over the past couple of months and have been interested in using technology and business collaboration tools to make the workplace communication more efficient. I found the Nesta / ACW Digital Innovation in the arts very valuable as it gave so much information on workplace communication and the advantages of recording data for fundraising purposes. I recommend reading the reports of the creative partners (including G39/Artes Mundi) that took part in this project.  I have had the opportunity to attend various training dates including the A&B Cymru training as well as Tech training on Google Analytics. I am also in the process of reporting on a major online giving campaign.

The Artes Mundi team have been busy fundraising for interim projects and looking ahead to Artes Mundi 8. Nominations for Artes Mundi 8 launch on April 4th so keep an eye out on our website.

In the last few weeks I’ve been offered a great opportunity and have accepted a Development Officer position in South Wales. I am thrilled to be able to take the skills I have learnt through the Creative Internship Programme and apply them in a fundraising role. I would like to thank A&B Cymru, the Artes Mundi team and my mentors, for the overwhelming support I have received during the internship. 

Week 25: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

It’s been another busy month, and I think I’m starting to realise that there probably won’t ever be a quiet month with this job.  Every quiet moment is a moment to step back and once you do, ideas and possibilities flood in to fill any empty space.

Recently, I’ve tried to look at the bigger picture, and as a result am keen to improve our systems for individual giving and corporate sponsorship. Attending a session with A&B Cymru yesterday on successful sponsorship strategies, I feel a renewed determination to make sponsorship work for The Gate, and it was incredibly helpful that A&B Cymru had invited Pat Ashman of Principality Building Society to come and talk to us. It was a fantastic opportunity to ask questions and hammer out any queries attendees had, punctuated by practical tasks to make sure we could apply our new knowledge.

I’ve also really benefited this month from working with The Funding Centre, where I have learnt so much that is applicable to my work at The Gate. Going through the process of putting together a membership scheme, I have also found a renewed sense of urgency in working on something similar with The Gate.  

Week 24: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

Since my last post I have mainly been focusing on developing of a new project for a potential Awards for All application. I have been tasked with the research and development of this project, which has been particularly exciting as it has meant I have taken the lead on its creation, in addition to developing new skills writing an application for lottery funding.  I’m excited to see how the project will take shape and am proud to think that I could potentially see something I’ve designed taking place at the Sherman, a theatre I’ve attended since I was very young.

Alongside developing my Awards for All application, I have also been building up a body of research on corporate trusts and foundations, to add to a general prospect list.

It has been a busy few weeks at the theatre, with rehearsals and performances of 11 different productions since my last blog! Last week I had the opportunity to sit in on rehearsals for The Last Ambulance, a new play by Sherman Theatre’s Associate Artist Conor Mitchell, produced in collaboration with Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and directed by our Associate Director Gethin Evans. I studied Theatre and Drama in university, but haven’t been in a rehearsal room for some time.  It was a brilliant reminder of why I’ve chosen a career in the arts. Seeing Gethin in the creative process and getting to know the cast was thoroughly enjoyable and I’m very much looking forward to seeing the work performed at the college later this month.

I recently assisted with an A&B Cymru Members event for A Play, A Pie and A Pint: World Domination, the fifth in our series of Sherman Theatre co-productions with Òran Mór. The event was sponsored by Broomfield & Alexander and it was a great opportunity for me to meet A&B Cymru business members and add to my experience of working at events.

Week 23: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

6 months have completely flown by and I’m now at the half-way point in my internship. I’ve been really enjoying my time at NTW, and I’m now planning my remaining months here to make sure I squeeze as much as possible into these 3 days a week. I’ve been finding it really useful to take a step back and look at everything I have achieved so far here, and what else I want to learn from the organisation. It’s also been a great opportunity to look at our fundraising as a whole and develop our plans as we make progress.

I’ve been focusing a lot on research in the past couple of weeks, making sure I’m fully prepared for the applications and projects I’m working on. I also attended the A&B Cymru  Lottery Funding training course which gave a really great background to different kinds of Lottery Funding, which will inevitably be useful in the future.

We are now in the run up to NTW’s first production of 2017, Lifted by Beauty: Adventures in dreaming, in Rhyl, North Wales. Inspired by the people of Rhyl, the production takes place across the town as a promenade style performance. The team at NTW are all busy planning and preparing for the production at the end of March, and I’m excited to see how the artists have responded to the community it’s within. 


In September, RWCMD had its first US Acting showcase of recently graduated North American and Canadian Acting and Musical Theatre students to the New York entertainment industry. RWCMD is attended by an increasing number of international students, and in response, they are building stronger international relationships.

As part of this growth of our networks in the US, I have been looking at the possibilities this holds for the Development team, and how we could further expand our network of supporters in the future. This research has given me more of an insight into the attitudes American people may have regarding individual giving. Philanthropy, especially within education, is remarkably different in the US and Alumni donations are much more widely expected than in the UK. In areas such as LA and New York, where the performing arts and film industry are prevalent, it is important for students to have the chance to network and make their presence known within the industry. This raises the profile of RWCMD, and as such, creates the opportunity to show our contacts in the US why they should support our students.

As well as this focus on our international networks, I have also been working on trust applications and research for corporate sponsorships, and working with the team on a variety of upcoming projects at the college.  In the next few months I’ll hopefully be working on more events too, giving me the opportunity to plan events for our donors and learn more about event management. 

Week 22: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

As the weeks pass by, I’m finding myself continually challenged in new ways at work which is proving deeply rewarding on a personal level as well as a professional one. Since my last blog, I’ve been delegated corporate accounts to manage – a task which I am about to throw myself into wholeheartedly. I’ve also submitted my first trust application which I worked on from scratch – researching the trust and proposing a project match for the grant, then writing and collating all the information for the application myself. It was no small task, but all the more satisfying now that it’s complete - and will be followed now by some external trusts and foundations mentoring with Richard Tynen at The Funding Centre, arranged by Arts & Business Cymru. Without the help of Robert, my business mentor, and Owain, my mentor at the Centre, I also wouldn’t have been introduced to a new corporate contact and currently be liaising with them to scope out support for our creative learning activities.

Because I enjoy having the opportunity to get stuck into a variety of tasks, I’m lucky at the Centre to be part of a team who continually make me feel involved and set me new challenges as well as allowing me to challenge myself and supporting me every step of the way - and the support that I get through Arts & Business Cymru and my fellow interns also provides another valuable touch-point for self-reflection and improvement. This part of the internship is something I really value and I think that although my day-to-day workload is increasing as the months go by, and it can be easy to skip past mentorship - sitting down with my colleagues and feeling like they have confidence in me to take on new things and are considering valuable next steps for me to take is a big positive.  

Before the next blog entry, I hope, having been shown the ropes of account management, to be fully involved with that and introduced to the partnership contacts. I am looking forward to an upcoming event that we are putting on for our corporate supporters too. Until next time…

Week 21: Bethan Lewis, Artes Mundi

I've had a busy past month with the Artes Mundi 7 conference and awards at the end of January. Alongside this we hosted two PLUS Tate events, when directors of the Plus Tate network galleries came to Cardiff for the conference, awards and various other seminars. There has been an enormous amount of press coverage following the announcement of the winner John Akomfrah with his piece 'Auto Da Fé' . Bedwyr Williams was awarded the Derek Williams Purchase Award for his work 'Tyrrau Mawr' which will be on permanent loan to National Museum Cardiff.

The awards were not only the culmination of lots of hard work from the whole team but a great opportunity to maintain existing relationships with sponsors and cultivate new donors and links for the future. This was a great opportunity to develop my own project management and event planning skills. 

I'm in the process of drafting my first trust application and developing exciting corporate partnerships made earlier in the year. We are now in full swing developing fundraising strategies and planning for Artes Mundi 8. 

Week 20: Clio Ryan, The Gate Arts Centre

It seems hard to believe that already the internship is coming to the half-way point. Only working 3 days a week for The Gate, weeks go by much faster and a month is only 12 working days meaning that prioritising time is a crucial skill. Preparing a document for trustees summarising all fundraising that has taken place since I started and planned for the coming months, it slightly shocked me to see in writing all that we had so far managed to get done. I think with this internship, it’s not until you stop to take stock that you realise exactly how far you’ve come or how much you’ve had the chance to learn and build experience.

We continue to be incredibly busy with current fundraising projects focusing on capital needs, exciting new projects and programming and core needs as we build sponsorship, apply to trust and foundations and looking at individual giving that will all hopefully enable us to continue to offer more for the community. It’s all hugely exciting and I honestly can’t wait to see what we can pull off. In the meantime, lots to be getting on with!  If you fancy lending a helping hand and happen to be in the John Lewis upstairs café in coming weeks, vote for the Gate to receive a share of their funding!

Week 19: Nathan McCarthy, Sherman Theatre

Returning to work after the Christmas break, we have been busy preparing to open our spring season programme. One of the best things about working in a theatre like the Sherman, is that you get to experience such a wide range of shows and get to meet a whole host of casts and creative teams. There is already a real sense of excitement around preparations for two of our upcoming productions: Killology, our co-production with Royal Court Theatre, and our community production Love, Cardiff - A City Road Story which has been supported by the Heritage Lottery fund.

The main focus of my workload has continued to be the creation of a guest list for all upcoming Sherman events. I would say it is almost finished but, as a guest list it will always be a working document, to be added to and updated. I am also starting to help collate information for reporting to funders who helped to support some of the projects that took place around our Christmas productions.

Before Christmas I met again with my Business Mentor’s colleague Sandie, for a one to one session on public speaking and presentation skills. In January, I attended the first Cardiff Business Club event of the New Year held at the Hilton Hotel. The speaker at the event was Aileen Richards, the first woman on the board of the WRU, and it was really interesting to hear about the wealth of experience she has gained from working all around the world.

Week 18: Alex Roberts, National Theatre Wales & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

In the past month, I have been working on a variety of different tasks at NTW including submitting two trust applications, continuing to work on our Invest in New Ideas campaign, and starting the planning for our next steps in individual giving.

In the spirit of the new year, and as we approach the half way point in our internships, I’ve been focusing on what I want to achieve throughout the remainder of my placement and what skills I want to strengthen in order to secure a job in fundraising for the arts. I’ve also had the opportunity to attend further training, such as on safe guarding and child protection, learning invaluable skills which I will take with me wherever I work next. It has also been a good time to reflect on what I have learnt so far and realize how much I have already learnt from NTW.

One of the best things about the Creative Internships is having the support to help guide you through new areas of work. This month I have met with my business mentor and attended a TEAM panel meeting, both of which have given me the opportunity to hear a different perspective on the work I’m doing, and get feedback which can help me grow and develop as a fundraiser. This has been really useful when looking at our current individual giving campaign, and thinking of what else we could do in the future.


In the past month I have been planning what else I want to learn over the rest of my time here at RWCMD. One of the areas I haven’t had a lot of experience with is corporate fundraising, so in the past few weeks I have been focusing a lot on the research this entails. I have been looking at possible opportunities for corporate sponsors, and ensuring that our values are in line with the organisations we might work with.

When looking to build relationships with businesses, we need to do comprehensive research into the values and branding before deciding if it is a relationship we want really to build. This is an area of research I enjoy really doing, seeing the opportunities for creating relationships with mutual benefit, and how these partnerships/ sponsorships can make a tangible difference to both organisations and the communities they support.

Over the next few weeks I will also be working on a trust application, researching further prospective trusts and starting to think about the events which I will be running later in the term. I’m now at a point in the internship where I can really appreciate how much I’ve learnt as a Creative Intern, and be confident that I can put my knowledge to use whilst continuing to learn over the remainder of my placements.

Week 17: Eleanor Prescott, Wales Millennium Centre

Happy New Year from the Centre! I am now in the fourth month of my internship, and as 2017 begins I am taking the opportunity that a new year presents – as many of us do - to reflect on what I’ve achieved in 2016, and more importantly what I hope to accomplish in the coming year through the rest of my time here. This means going back over my objectives, planning mentor meetings to review my progress, and always considering the areas where I would like more experience and saying yes to as much as possible.

Just before Christmas, I was able to finish and submit my first couple of trust applications, and the coming months will see me writing more of those - which I am looking forward to getting stuck into as the Development team works hard on fundraising for Tiger Bay. I have also written my first project report, reflecting on City of the Unexpected… I can hardly believe that sunny weekend was four months ago.

Since I started, I have taken on a multitude of tasks and I’m starting the year with new responsibilities too – I am now in charge of compiling the guest list for our supporters lounge. This involves pulling daily reports from Tessitura that identify which ticket buyers are entitled to use the lounge on a particular performance, and a further activity report to show if there are any specific requirements that a guest might need, or to clarify whether or not a guest has specified that they will or will not use the lounge. Then I compile the information in Excel and distribute it to the relevant teams via email. This is not only beneficial in strengthening my Tessitura skills, but I get to know the preferences and names of our major donors and support