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We're looking for a new General Manager


Based in South East London, an ideal opportunity to manage an established creative community institution, which delivers exceptional group and individual teaching across the spectrum of the arts, as well as regular community arts events, ranging from Family Jazz concerts to exhibitions.

The Board of the Blackheath Conservatoire (the “Conservatoire”) is seeking a proven, operationally focused and creative General Manager to lead the Conservatoire. We are looking for an experienced manager with drive, discipline and creative flair to continue the steady progress towards establishing a successful and sustainable educational charity whose aim is to deliver high quality education and experiences in art, music and drama to the local community of all ages.

Established in 1881 by William Webster, the Conservatoire is part of the oldest surviving purpose-built cultural complex in London, and a much-loved local institution. It was founded to provide art, music and drama education to the community and its values remain those of Creativity, Quality and Community. 

As General Manager, you will be an excellent manager and artistic leader. You will be able to ensure the smooth running of the Conservatoire and lead the staff team. You will work in close collaboration with the Board (to which you will report), local neighbours and strategic partners.

You will have an extensive and proven track record of leadership, including team, budget and project management, as well as outstanding communication, interpersonal, and people management skills. Thriving on a busy and varied workload within a highly creative environment, you will be committed to widening access and developing new audiences for the arts. In addition to a strong customer service ethic, you will be able to demonstrate experience of identifying and cultivating new partnerships, attracting supporters, building a strong donor base, and maintaining strong relationships with key individuals and organisations. Experience of work with freelance artists and musicians, community organisations and/or higher education environments would be an advantage.

To apply for this position, please send a CV and cover letter to board@conservatoire.org.uk.  

Closing date:  Friday 17 March 2017 12 Noon (no agencies) Interviews: April 2017                     

The Conservatoire is committed to equal opportunities and diversity.

The Conservatoire is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales Company No. 3448894 Registered Charity No. 1072627     


Post:                 General Manager, The Blackheath Conservatoire

Reports to:     The Board of the Conservatoire

Directly responsible for: Blackheath Conservatoire staff (salaried & hourly paid) including those in, programming and tuition, marketing and events, building management, finance, fundraising and development, administration and front of house.

Contract:                              Full-time, permanent


The General Manager is responsible for achieving the business objectives of the Board and providing the artistic leadership to create a versatile, creative and sustainable educational charity. Reporting to the Board, the General Manager is responsible for leading and managing the Conservatoire’s staff team, and for delivering key objectives in relation to business strategy and overall financial health; artistic direction and programming; fundraising, marketing and safeguarding; and conservation and development of the buildings.

Key responsibilities:

•       To help design and implement the Board’s strategic vision for the Conservatoire

•       To take overall responsibility for the financial management of the charity.

•       To ensure the efficient operational management of the Conservatoire

•       To take a leadership role in strategically enhancing and diversifying both the artistic programming and the breadth of the Conservatoire’s student demographic.


The main duties and responsibilities of the General Manager include but are not limited to the following:


Ø     Together with the Board, regularly review and update the Conservatoire’s business plan and strategic aims.

Ø     Establish, maintain and/or enhance new and existing partnerships.

Artistic Programme

Ø     Lead programming of all artistic programme activities, with support from theProgramming and Tuition Manager, tutors, partner organisations and other staff as appropriate, identifying new tutors and potential collaborators.

  • Work with staff to develop programming that engages audiences across the local communities in Lewisham and Greenwich.
  • Ensure effective contracting and communication procedures with tutors.
  • Maximise the potential of collaborative working within programme development.

Community Engagement Programme

  • Identify and develop new initiatives in community engagement, educational, participatory and outreach work that extend the Conservatoire’s student groups and engage target groups currently under-represented in the Conservatoire’s students and audiences.
  • Respond to community needs and seek opportunities to develop the Conservatoire’s role locally in collaboration with other relevant local organisations. 

Marketing and Audience Development  

  • Ensure effective marketing of all artistic, community and commercial events and opportunities for hire in conjunction with the Marketing and Events Manager
  • Explore opportunities for support and partnership with local authorities and other appropriate institutions and organisations
  • Effectively communicate the Conservatoire’s achievements and activities to raise its profile, and encourage participation and support


  • As the Conservatoire’s lead officer, take a proactive, hands-on approach to general management duties associated with the Conservatoire.
  • Lead and manage all direct reports, and oversee freelance tutors, including as appropriate implementing formal Performance Management processes, inducting and mentoring new staff. 
  • Maintain and motivate a collaborative and inclusive staff team ensuring full engagement of the Conservatoire team with the strategic intent and artistic vision of the Board.
  • Act as the Safeguarding Lead for the Conservatoire.
  • Hold a Personal Alcohol Licence and be Designated Premises Supervisor.

Ø     Maintain close liaison with the Chair and Board of Trustees including preparation of reports for Board meetings and attendance at Board and other meetings.

Ø     Work with the Administration Manager to ensure the effective delivery of all customer- facing procedures.

Finance & Fundraising

  • Provide leadership and vision in the management of finances to ensure long-term sustainability and proper financial controls.
  • Working with the Head of Finance ensure that all activities undertaken within or in association with the Conservatoire are delivered within set budgets, that financial information is reported accurately and promptly, and that effective and timely invoicing and payment processes are implemented.  
  • Work closely with the Board on strategic matters relating to finance and fund-raising and in the development of funding bids.
  • Develop a strong donor base.
  • Deliver funding agreements, ensuring the Conservatoire makes a positive and well-regarded contribution to funders' key goals and objectives.
  • Work closely with the Marketing and Events Manager and the Fundraising Officer on operational delivery.
  • Ensure fulfilment of the Conservatoire’s legal obligations to its funders, Companies House, Charity Commission, Local Authority and other statutory bodies such as HSE, and other public interest safeguards.
  • Supervise the preparation and presentation of the annual budget and forecasts to the Conservatoire, including reviewing salaries and providing details to support the Conservatoire’s income projections.

Promotion and advocacy

  • Establish and maintain contact with those leading equivalent areas of activity in other comparable organisations.
  • Maintain an active interest in artistic and community programming innovations, keeping up-to-date with the activities of other comparable organisations and the wider venue management profession within the UK.

The post holder must:

  • Ensure the Conservatoire is at all times observing its statutory, legal and ethical obligations.
  • Observe, promote and develop the Conservatoire’s Policies and Procedures, in particular being at all times committed to our Equality and Diversity Policy and adhering to all policies and procedures relating to our Financial Regulations, Safeguarding policy, and Health and Safety in the workplace. 
  • Act with professionalism and integrity at all times in the carrying out of any duties for and on behalf of the Conservatoire.
  • Build positive relationships with all key stakeholder groups, including tutors, students, audiences, participants, donors and the wider local and regional communities.
  • Ensure that personal leave is taken at times which do not conflict with the efficient discharge of the above duties.
  • Undertake such other duties or responsibilities as may, from time to time, be reasonably expected within the scope and grading of the role.

Further information

NB This role requires regular attendance at evening concert and other evening and/or weekend events

This job description reflects the core activities of the role at the time of appointment.  However, the post-holder must be willing to adapt to changing organisational priorities, which will inevitably lead to changes in duties. The post holder is required to undertake such duties as may reasonably be expected within the scope of the post. All members of staff are required to be professional, co-operative and flexible in line with the needs of the Conservatoire.