Blog 2018/19

Week 40: Megan Stokes, Theatr Clwyd

We had two great guest nights for our Roundabout performances in collaboration with Paines Plough in July. The productions are held in a pop up theatre space that feels like you’re in a magical and intimate circus tent. The shows are played by the same three actors but they tell three very different stories. It was an amazing opportunity to introduce guests to theatre that was completely unique and like nothing they had seen before.

This month, I made the journey to Cardiff to attend the Arts & Business Cymru Awards Ceremony along with my fellow interns. We spent the day setting the tables, prepping the goody bags and getting everything ready for the evening ahead. We welcomed guests as they started to arrive on the pink carpet and the Awards evening began! You may have spotted me as I was centre stage handing out the awards to the celebrities and winners – thank goodness we didn’t have an Oscar moment mix-up!

Throughout my internship, I have utlised my Illustration degree with the creative tasks that come with working at a theatre, so I jumped at the chance to have a stall at the theatre’s craft fair selling lots of my illustration work.

I am looking forward to the Family Arts Festival starting this week and I am excited to see the outcome from the MoneySuperMarket’s support from earlier this year.

As this is my last blog of the internship, I would like to say a massive thank you to both Theatr Clwyd and Arts & Business Cymru for the unique opportunity and experience I have gained to kick start my career in the arts. I would also like to thank my business mentor, fellow interns and colleagues for all the support in the last 10 months. I am also pleased to say that Theatr Clwyd have extended my contract so my time as an intern isn’t over just yet!

Week 39: Gwenan Jenkins-Jones, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

Graduation has been and gone and I honestly can’t believe that it’s the end of the academic year already. Stewarding the event in my very own graduation gown (shout out to Bangor University!), seeing the students celebrating with their families and friends, and welcoming new Fellows to the College on such a bright and sunny day was a lovely experience –good luck to all RWCMD graduates!

Staff turned stewards for graduation

This week, Arts & Business Cymru held their annual awards at the Wales Millennium Centre to encourage, acknowledge and celebrate what can be achieved when the private sector and arts organisations work in partnership. I worked during the event with fellow interns Meg, Emma and Sara, helping with the load-in, setting up the Donald Gordon Stage (where the Awards would take place!) and assisting with the ceremony run-through. The night consisted of a three-course meal, entertainment by Only Men Aloud and the amazing Upside Down Circus, a silent auction for a Kevin Sinnot Painting, and plenty of glitz and glamour.

During the awards itself, it was my pleasure to give certificates to finalists as well as raffle prizes to the lucky winners, who alongside the winning auction bidder, helped us raise over £10,000 on the night. Seeing so many fundraisers and businesses in one room, and hearing about how they have all contributed to Welsh communities in their own unique way was inspirational. Having secured a corporate sponsorship myself with estate agent Hern & Crabtree, I look forward to seeing what we will achieve together over the coming year as we take musical workshops to schools across South Wales.

Week 38: Emma Hastings, Wales Millennium Centre 

On Tuesday the 18th of June The Centre had our biggest members’ event of the year for Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet. The event was led by my colleague Bethany and spanned pre and post show including an exclusive Q&A session with Sir Matthew Bourne and drinks with the cast.  It was a great way to re-engage warm relationships with our members and supporters. Feedback on the night and post-event was glowing.  It was lovely to see our members so excited by this opportunity to engage with the New Adventures company. The cast, crew and Sir Matthew Bourne were extremely talented, witty and very humble.  They were a credit to themselves and I definitely look forward to the opportunity to work with New Adventures in the future.

The Summer Development Forum was hosed by The Centre on the 03 July in our Radio Platfform studios. I always look forward to these sessions to catch up with the Arts & Business Cymru Interns and other fundraisers in the sector. It’s a great support network to come together and discuss challenges and the best methods to tackle issues faced. This session featured Marie Wood speaking about engaging Trustees and gaining fundraising advocates.

In other news this month, I have been prepping for an internal job interview which took place at the end of June. Interviews – specifically Internal Interviews – are something that I struggle with in confidence, however I am really pleased to have had this experience. Upon reflection, this interview was a great indicator of progression. I am really proud to have come so far and have grown personally and professionally – and am hugely excited to report that I was successful in this opportunity and will be staying on as an Individual Giving Officer at Wales Millennium Centre!

Week 37: Megan Stokes, Theatr Clwyd

The time has flown by once again and with only one month left of my internship to go, I have started to look back over how much experience I have gained at Theatr Clwyd over the past nine months. I have had a huge amount of support from Arts & Business Cymru, Theatr Clwyd and my Business mentor. My business mentor has helped me with my personal and professional development and I am grateful for all the support, advice and time he has given me – I don’t want it to end!

This month I have been working on researching for future projects in the development department. I have been researching new trusts and foundations that we could apply to for future community projects. I have also been putting together a proposal for young people’s membership that I hope can expand the current Theatr Clwyd membership scheme. I have also been working on a donations tracker that helps us see our weekly targets for box office donations.

Me and my colleague Claire, were invited to see our very first opera by a loyal supporter of the theatre. We went to see Welsh National Opera’s newest production, Don Pasquale. Set in Cardiff by a doner kebab van, it tells the traditional story of Don Pasquale with a modern twist. The larger-than-life characters filled the theatre with laughter as they performed with their powerful, operatic voices. I am extremely grateful that I have the opportunity to discover new theatre and experiences.

I am looking forward to the Arts & Business Cymru Awards as it’s less than 2 weeks away – good luck to everyone who has been shortlisted!

Week 36: Gwenan Jenkins-Jones, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

The 4th June was an important date in the College calendar – the night of our President’s Dinner! Hosted by our President, Lord Rowe-Beddoe, the evening was an opportunity for the College to welcome through its door some of its most valued of contacts – from stakeholders, Trustees, corporates, philanthropists and political bodies – to thank them for their support and to treat them to a three course meal and a special performance by prize-winning students. As there was a very important announcement to be made this year, it was crucial that everything ran smoothly.

I was made event manager and so was responsible for taking care of the event’s running order, briefing and taking care of performers, cueing the technical team in regards to microphone use, and liaising with catering throughout, updating them on timings to ensure that each course was served promptly. Then Lord Rowe-Beddoe made his announcement; that he will be stepping down to make way for a new President; HRH the Prince of Wales!

Our patron for 20 years, we are absolutely thrilled to be one of a very small number of charities to have HRH Prince Charles as President, but it is also an end of an era for us, as Lord Rowe-Beddoe has had a huge impact on the College and has played an important part in its development over the past 15 years. We are immensely grateful for all he has done and are delighted that he will continue to work closely with us in the newly-created role of Chairman Laureate.

I also have some good news myself. After eight months of working here as an intern, the RWCMD have offered me a two-year full-time role as Development Officer! Having attended our Principal’s presentation on her new 5 year strategy, and had a taste of what is in store for the College I can’t wait to get stuck in. I will start officially in August and I am over the moon to stay on and continue fundraising for this amazing organisation.

Week 35: Emma Hastings, Wales Millennium Centre 

Wales Millennium Centre had it’s first abseil on Saturday 8 June! What better way to celebrate our 15th Birthday than with 100 people abseiling 34m over the front of our iconic building to raise £15,000 toward our outreach work, creating access and positive transformational experiences for the communities across Cardiff and South Wales.

Myself, and many of my colleagues, were supported by the Centre, family and friends to complete the abseil. It was definitely one of the most exciting, scary and rewarding experiences of my life and I am so proud that I was part of it.  Walking into the office every morning this week has been slightly surreal; however, I am very glad to have both feet firmly grounded at my desk.

Our target was to raise £15,000, with a potential stretch target of £20,000. Thanks to the generosity of everyone that donated, and the motivation and drive of the fundraisers, I am so pleased to say we absolutely smashed both targets and raised an immense £26, 190.97.

It is safe to say the event was a huge success and enjoyed by all!

This week has been busy preparing for our biggest event of the year – an all supporter’s event for Romeo and Juliet on Tuesday 18 June, including an exclusive Q&A session with Sir Matthew Bourne and post show drinks with the New Adventures cast and crew!

Theatr Clwyd recently hit our fundraising target for our very first fundraising appeal to help save the paint bridge at the theatre! I have since been sending out lots of thank you letters to everyone who has donated.

I went to see ‘Junior Justice’ which is a creative engagement project touring 20 primary schools in North Wales. The project aims to educate year 5 and 6 children about the criminal justice system in a creative and interactive way. In the 2 hour session, we follow the true story of an 11 year old boy who is arrested for arson. The children are encouraged to play different roles including taking part in the jury to decide if he is guilty or not guilty based on the evidence they have collated. ‘Junior Justice’ was developed in partnership with North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) and is sponsored by ScottishPower Foundation and has been shortlisted for an A&B Cymru Awards this year.

Theatr Clwyd was closed to the public for a staff training day this week. The day consisted of various workshops to help members of staff learn what everyone’s roles are at the Theatre. I spent time with wardrobe to learn how they are going to draft patterns to make the costumes for Mold Riots. I then spent the afternoon in the paint frame learning how the scenic artsits create a realistic cloudy sky backdrop. I even got the opportunity to go up on the paint frame and I was proud to know that the vital piece of equipment will now be saved thanks to the generous donations from the Theatre’s audience members.

Week 33: Gwenan Jenkins-Jones, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

With the RWCMD celebrating its 70th birthday this year, a few weeks ago we held an event especially to focus on the very significant contribution that philanthropy has made to the development of Wales’ national conservatoire. We invited those who already hold the College close to their hearts to hear more about how far it has come since its beginnings in Cardiff Castle, and about how transformative major gifts, including leaving a gift in their will, would be for the future of this much loved institution and its students, as well as the surrounding community, the rest of Wales, and the arts world as a whole.

During the event we had performances by a Junior Conservatoire harpist and a final year singer from our BMus course, both of whom have benefited from the generous support of donors through bursaries and scholarships. A talk was given by a representative of the Hugh James law firm who spoke about the importance of leaving legacies, and who did so in the only way suitable for an arts organisation like ours – through using characters from Shakespeare’s King Lear! The evening finished with a celebratory glass of wine and the opportunity to browse a display of materials from our archive, looking back at the College’s 70-year journey.

Fundraising can often be about short-term goals - the glamourous VIP events, big grants for upcoming projects, and shiny new sponsorships - but it is also about the slow burners, and although we may not see the benefit of this event for many years, it’s all about helping the College to secure a long–term sustainable strategy and about inspiring our supporters to be part of the College’s journey through helping it – and its students - thrive for generations to come.

Week 32: Emma Hastings, Wales Millenium Centre

The Cardiff City Football Club Awards was an incredible event, held in a beautiful venue, City Hall. With over 250 attending it was a great opportunity to get to know the team of one of our Corporate accounts, Sony, and to network with other organisations there. Attending the event has led to a meeting with the Partnership’s Manager for the WRU, allowing us to benchmark packages and sponsorship opportunity concepts against other organisations in Cardiff.

With the end of the internship in sight, I’ve decided to push the last of my time and experience at the Centre to the fullest, and have joined ‘CLWB’ – our social planning committee. I’ve also taken up Welsh lessons, after completing my online course, and gained enough confidence to attend ‘CLONC’ (Welsh sessions every Friday morning, for Welsh speakers of all stages).  CLWB has added to my workload, however I’m really excited for the challenge and experience that managing these events of this scale will present (250 people), like the Abseil and Christmas Party.

For the last leg of the internship I am working across both Trust & Foundations and Individual Giving streams of income. It’s been great getting back into the researching side of Trusts and complements the stewarding focus of Individual Giving.

We’re very pleased and proud that our Corporate Development Manager, and resident ‘Lean, mean cycling machine’, Asha, has completed her mission of 900 miles across 9 countries, in 12 days! Despite snow storms, freezing temperatures and all round miserable weather, she has powered through and smashed her fundraising goal for the Centre – Da iawn Asha!

Week 31: Megan Stokes, Theatr Clwyd

This month, I saw Home, I’m Darling for the very first time as it returned home to Theatr Clwyd after its West End run earlier this year. It did not disappoint! We gave a tour of the set of Home, I’m Darling to two of our most loyal supporters. They enjoyed getting a backstage experience and being able to walk around the impressive set.

I also got the opportunity to see Wave me Goodbye, an adaptation of the children’s book written by Jacqueline Wilson. It was amazing to see how the small stage could be transformed into multiple different scenes which felt like you were in a child’s big imagination.

I received the good news this month that my first application I submitted was successful! Moneysupermarket have kindly supported an exciting new addition to the Family Arts Festival this year; free Circus Skills workshops. Over 5,000 people came to our Family Arts Festival last year to enjoy high quality, low cost experience of the arts for all of the family. The Circus Skills workshop will showcase a new art form to our local community.

Today we launched our very first fundraising appeal; to save the paint bridge. One of only a handful left in the UK, the paint bridge is an original feature from when the theatre was built in 1976. The bridge is a vital piece of equipment that allows our scenic team to paint the large backdrops that grace our stages at Theatr Clwyd but it is in urgent need of repair. If you would like more information about how you can help save the paint bridge being taken out of service, please click here

Week 30: Gwenan Jenkins-Jones, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

Last week I went to IOF South West’s Fundraising Conference in Bristol. I find leaving the office a great way to learn as the physical distance helps me look at the work we do at the College with a new perspective and helps me think about how I can tailor what I’ve learnt to suit our particular needs. The plenary session about Mental Health First Aid really gave me food for thought. As fundraisers, we are often put under immense pressure to raise money, and being responsible for whether a project can go ahead or not can weigh heavily on our shoulders. The self-care tips were very helpful and something I will share with the rest of the team.
Although most of the fundraising we do at the RWCMD is arts-related, student welfare is also a high priority. Anybody who has studied at university knows what a stressful time it is and conservatoire study can also bring particular pressures. Students are in a competitive environment where there is continual scrutiny and evaluation around performance, and high levels of perfectionism mean that they demand a great deal of themselves. I am currently in the research stage of trying to fund additional mental health mentoring and counselling for the College in order to provide them with the support they need to thrive as young people as well as artists.

On a separate note, in July, our opera students will be giving a performance of The Gondoliers by Gilbert and Sullivan in the Sherman Theatre. In the build up to that, Cardiff Friends of WNO and RWCMD Connect members were invited to a talk by renowned baritone, Donald Maxwell. They were treated to the history of this particular opera and its creators as well as a duet between one of our students and Donald himself! When we see the College production of The Gondoliers we will certainly view it with much more knowledgeable eyes.

Week 29: Emma Hastings, Wales Millenium Centre

April has been another hectic but exciting month, which has flown by once more!

Sadly our last man standing in the Development Team, Mike, has moved on to pastures new.  He has taken an incredible opportunity within the Development Team at Techniquest, working within both Individual Giving and Trusts & Foundations fundraising streams – we wish him the best of luck!

On a happier note, we have a new Trusts & Foundations Manager in place! Esyllt has so much knowledge, experience and passion. I am really looking forward to working with and learning from her.

After a phone conversation with one of the Trustees from the Gibbs Trust, following a recent application, I was really pleased to have received a small £2k grant from them towards our Performance Platfform programme!


My colleague Lucy and I attended St David’s Hotels’ 20th birthday celebrations ‘Partying like it was 1999’, featuring ‘90’s bangers’, the return of the ‘Appletini’ and a cheeky Michael Bublé tribute act.

It was a great experience to see how Corporate events differ and are received by attendees, whilst gaining new ideas for future WMC events. We were on a lovely table with people from DS Smith and one of our corporate partners, Sony, resulting in a very generous and kind invitation to the Cardiff City Football Club 2019 Awards this weekend with Sony! So it’s been a busy month of networking!


Week 28: Megan Stokes, Theatr Clwyd

I was sad to say goodbye to one of my Development Team colleagues at the Theatre this month. We have worked together on a variety of projects over the last 6 months and she has played a big part of my internship. But I am looking forward to new challenges and taking on more responsibilities!

Therefore, I took the lead on organising the next member’s event this month, our Autumn Season Launch! The last few weeks I have been busy cordinating guest speakers, performances and ensuring it would be an evening full of exciting announcments and news. The event took place last week and all the members who attended gave such positive feedback.

In the first half of the event, Liam Evans-Ford (Executive Director) and Tamara Harvey (Artistic Director) interacted with guests about Theatr Clwyd’s recent news, including Home I’m Darling winning an Olivier Award! We also discussed all the awards Theatr Clwyd has been nominated in the last 12 months which totalled to 24 nominations!

We also announced our exclusive offer to Theatr Clwyd members that they have free admission to Powis Castle to see Worlds Apart at War, a coproduction with The National Trust, over the 2 years the production is running. Worlds Apart at War tells the untold stories of a group of pupils and teachers who were evacuated to the castle in 1939.

After an interval of nibbles and drinks, we announced the exciting new Autumn Season with a few special guest speakers. We ended the evening with an exclusive, sneak peek perfomance from Milky Peaks which the Theatre is currently supporting the making of. This complimented our fundraising message that we support new and emerging talent.

Week 27: Gwenan Jenkins-Jones, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

It’s the Easter break and it’s been a quiet few weeks with less events on than usual and more time to reflect on the past term and to plan what is to come. Although I miss the hustle and bustle of students going to and from lectures and singing in the corridors, I can still hear the odd aria, marimba solo, and jazz riff through the practice room walls – yes, the College is alive with music, even during the holidays! This constant connection with all that the students do is something that I really enjoy about working here. Being able to hear and witness how they are benefiting from the funds raised by myself and my team keeps me motivated, inspired and tapping my foot along with the music!

We are taking advantage of this time to plan for the summer term, and trust me, it’s going to be a busy one! ‘Thank you’ are possibly the two most important words in fundraising, and we will be holding several events to thank those who have made a significant contribution to our development as Wales’ national conservatoire. These include our ‘President’s Dinner’, hosted by Lord Rowe-Beddoe, and our ‘Principal’s Tea’, where our new Principal, Helena Gaunt, will report back to supporters on the past academic year.

We will also be saying a big thank you to two very generous donors of ours, Philip and Christine Carne, who won the Arts & Business Cymru Robert Maskrey Award for Arts Philanthropy last year. They have recently gifted the College with funds to build a balcony, which will give our students a beautiful outside space that will look out over Bute Park. The Carne’s, as individuals and as founders of the Carne Trust, have also supported College scholarships, design exhibitions, drama productions and more for several years and we will use the opening of the Carne Balcony as opportunity to celebrate and thank them for all that they have enabled us to achieve. By the time the students return, the balcony will be ready, and I can’t wait to see the difference it makes to the College community.

Week 26: Emma Hastings, Wales Millenium Centre

This month has been particularly busy at the Centre.

The “Mirror Crack’d” event, which I planned, was a huge success and inspired some great feedback from our lovely members and corporates! It was a great opportunity to share some of the incredible things we as a team do at the Centre, chat with new and existing supporters and enhance awareness. This is particularly important as we move towards establishing ourselves as a producing and receiving house.

The production of the “Mirror Crack’d” was performed in the New Theatre, an intimate Edwardian setting. The play featured lots of twists and turns which kept you guessing ‘whodunnit?’ until the very end! I’m very grateful and proud to have experienced this opportunity as part of my internship. The event could not have been so successful though, without the support of my team.

It’s been an educational few weeks attending the gofod3 conference in Cardiff and the Digital Fundraising IOF conference in London with Megan (fellow intern). Both of the events were really insightful regarding current and future trends in the third sector. The sense of community through networking at these events was refreshing. It was particularly motivating to see people freely sharing the successes and challenges faced across charities both large and small.

This past week has been ‘Open Your Eyes Week’ for children and young people in schools across Cardiff. It’s been a great experience! The end of the financial year brings about setting new ‘Horizon’ goals. ‘Open Your Eyes Week” and “Horizons” were brilliant chances for me to reflect on my progress since the start of the internship. I’m pleased to have noticeably improved my confidence and presenting skills. I have provided actively engaging presentations in four different schools, enabling me to act as an ambassador for the Centre and inspire the minds of the next generations.

Week 25: Megan Stokes, Theatr Clwyd

This month Sir Ian Mckellen came to Theatr Clwyd for his birthday tour. He is celebrating his 80th birthday by touring 80 regional theatres in the UK. He is donating the proceeds back to the theatres to help support the next generation of theatre makers.

We wanted to show how much we apprieciate his generous support so we made a very special video of 80 people saying thank you. The 80 people included staff, audience members, our companies and even Buster the theatre cat! Over the two nights he was here, he met the audience after the performance with a donation bucket and raised over £1000 for Theatr Clwyd in cash donations.

I submitted my second trust and foundation application this month to help support our workshops in the local community. I am getting more experience with writing compelling applications with a limited word count.

This month we have been focusing on cordinating events. Our next member event is our Autumn Season Launch. There will be a variety of guest speakers and fun ways to hear about what the Theatr has been up to recently.

I went to my first Institute of Fundraising conference with my fellow intern, Emma, to learn all about digital fundraising. The talks were about communicating your fundraising through digital platforms including video, social media, emails and webpages.

I was pleased to hear the news that fellow intern Sara has been offered a job at Rubicon Dance! She is a natural fundraiser and I am excited for her journey for the next 12 months.

Week 24: Gwenan Jenkins-Jones, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

A month has passed since the RWCMD’s St David’s Day Gala in New York and I can now reveal that as well as raising substantial amounts of money for scholarships for US and Welsh students, that the night also resulted in the creation of the Catherine Zeta-Jones Scholarship Fund! Many valuable relationships with corporates, organisations and individuals have been forged and strengthened further since the event and we are delighted with how things went in terms of our American strategy. I am now working on creating a photobook, promised to special guests as part of the Gala package, to capture special moments of the evening. 

The end of each academic term brings with it a flurry of activity and this term, I was given the responsibility of organising a concert for our Friends Connect members. This is the first time I have managed an event from start to finish; from booking rooms, sourcing student performers, writing invitations, programmes and briefing notes, arranging a post-concert buffet and organising performers backstage during the concert. The feedback from members was extremely positive and has certainly helped to boost my confidence!

This leads me on to some more good news - with the help of my Arts Mentor, Marie Wood, through A&B Cymru’s brokerage service, I have secured a corporate sponsorship with Cardiff estate agent, Hern & Crabtree! The business will be supporting two music workshops for local schools here at the College where children will learn about the brass and woodwind sections of the orchestra before hearing the instruments in all their glory at our lunchtime concerts. My Arts & Business Cymru CultureStep application for additional funding was also successful, and so we will be able to further our outreach and take these workshops to disadvantaged areas outside Cardiff. I am over the moon to witness the start of this brand new relationship between the College and Hern & Crabtree and look forward to see how things develop.

Wishing my fellow intern Sara all the best with her new role at Rubicon!

Week 23: Sara Wiliam, Rubicon Dance

These past few weeks have flown by and the end of March is fast approaching! I found out that we were awarded £500 through the Virgin Money Heart Of The Community Fund which was down to a public vote. This money will go towards funding our summer school which will be happening in July.

I attended the Gofod3 event this week which was organised by WCVA. It was an event full of different workshops and sessions such as discussing the future of charity digital, leadership in the third sector and tips regarding online fundraising. It was a great event and a true reflection of our thriving third sector in Wales.

Over the past six months I have gained invaluable experiences and have learned so much about working and fundraising within the arts. With my internship coming to an end at the end of this month, it is my pleasure to announce that Rubicon have offered to extend my time here for a whole year! This means that I will be here until March 2020. I am over the moon that Rubicon have offered me this opportunity and I am very much looking forward to carrying on with my professional development and gain even more skills and experiences within the arts sector. With so much to do with our capital project as well as various other exciting projects, I am certain that I will be very busy for the next 12 months! I’d like to thank Kath, Lynne and Goody for their invaluable support so far – onto the next 12 months!

Week 22: Emma Hastings, Wales Millenium Centre

The month of March has absolutely flown in and with the start of spring weather brings the half-way point in the internship! In addition to our big half-way meeting I’ve been working on my personal development and asking the rest of my team for some one-to-one feedback to really get the most out of this internship. My team have been brilliant and given some great constructive points for me to work on and develop, both professionally and personally.

I’m also really pleased to have received a small core funding grant of £1,500 from the Edgar E Lawley Foundation from my term in Trusts and Foundations before Christmas.

Art @ the Senedd was a brilliant opportunity to showcase a small part of the culture and talent that Wales is absolutely brimming with! Theatre Genedlaethol Cymru’s snippet of ‘Nyrsys’ or ‘Nurses’ was beautiful – the addition of the Sibrwd commentary app really increased the accessibility and inclusivity of the performance for non-Welsh speakers.

In other big news – 34m to be precise – myself, along with some of my lovely, albeit crazy colleagues, will be abseiling down the iconic Wales Millennium Centre to raise money that will provide creative pathways out of poverty for young people across South Wales. The abseil will be happening, come rain or shine, on Saturday 08 June 2019 – so please come along and support! If you would like any more information about what your contributions are going towards or would like to donate you can do so here. Thank you for your kindness and generosity – Diolch yn fawr!



This month has been a busy one! I returned to Glyndwr University (where I studied my degree) to  lecture at their Creative Futures Conference. Myself and Becca from A&B Cymru, talked to students about the internship programme and what a unique opportunity it is. We hope it has encouraged some students to apply next year!


It was surreal to see my face in the local newspapers this month! The story discussed  what I am currently doing at Theatr Clwyd and how I first discovered the internship programme. You can read about it here…

Also this month, I submitted my first application to help fund this year’s Family Arts Festival. I am now working on applications for a wide variety of projects and getting further experience in new areas of fundraising. It has been useful to look at the business plan and learn what language is most compelling.

Membership had it’s first anniversary this month, which means we are working towards hitting our member renewal target. We have so far reached 76% of our target and are aiming to achieve 100% by the end of March.

I have started a prize draw which offers signed posters to audience members who have donated when booking their tickets.  I have sent out a couple of posters for every production which is a nice way to say a special “Thank you” to everyone who donated to the Theatr.

I have been busy working on a secret project recently, which involves getting lots of video content together. I look forward to sharing it when it’s finished!

Week 20: Gwenan Jenkins-Jones, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

By the time this blog is out, the RWCMD and Welsh Government’s St David’s Day Gala in New York will have been and gone. Our aim: to present Catherine Zeta-Jones with her Honorary Fellowship, to raise money for scholarships for students from Wales and America, and to strengthen our support and relationships in the States. The red-carpet celebration took place in the iconic Rockerfeller Centre in New York City where guests were treated to a gourmet three course meal, Welsh-themed cocktails, a feast of performances by our Welsh and American students and graduates, and the chance to bid in an auction for prizes and special experiences such as a pint with Matthew Rhys! Being amidst all the hustle and bustle and facing the challenges of organising an event the other side of the Atlantic has been a real eye-opener and a fantastic experience for me. I’ve attended meetings galore and have spent hours researching in preparation for the event and I can’t wait for the staff to return to Cardiff today so that I can hear more about the successes of the evening!

Last week I had my halfway-point meeting with my arts mentor, business mentor, line manager, and Goody, the Arts & Business Cymru Operations Manager to discuss how things have developed for me over the past five months. The time has flown by and even though I only started the internship in October, I have learnt and experienced a lot. Over the last month, I have been to a Friends Connect Committee meeting to consider funding applications, been in discussion with a local business about a sponsorship proposal, been to London to celebrate the College’s Philanthropy Partnership with UBS and have organized for our members to go behind the scenes of the College’s NEW: 2019 project, and all on top of Gala organising! Let’s see what the rest of the internship will bring!

Week 19: Sara Wiliam, Rubicon Dance

It has been another busy month here at Rubicon Dance! Our Schools Festival was a huge success. With over 60 schools from Cardiff and the Vale taking part over the three nights, a total of 1034 performs were given the opportunity to perform on the main stage at St. David’s Hall and we had an audience total of 3,705 people! I am extremely glad to have been a part of the festival and it was a pleasure to see so many children and young people performing and enjoying. 

Gwenni, Emma and Megan came over to Rubicon to see how we operate. I showed them around our current building in Adamsdown and explained more about our capital project and our crucial fundraising strategy that we are focusing on. As our organisation is much smaller than RWCMD, WMC and Theatr Clwyd, I believe it was beneficial for the other interns to see how a smaller - yet equally busy - organisation works.

I also attended two A&B events: the Fundraising Symposium and a Working with the Media course with Golley Slater. Both events were very useful; in the symposium we were given advice and tips on grant application writing from renowned Trusts & Foundations: Foyle Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. On the media course I learned more about PR and how to make the most of the media and its ability to reach out to people.

With half term next week, we have several CPD and Wales Wide Training Programme events taking place at Rubicon. I will be attending the Best Practice Forum where Arts Care Gofal Celf, Theatr Felinfach, Dance Blast and Rubicon Dance will be giving presentations. I will also attend a session led by Arts Council of Wales which will focus on the Well-being of Future Generations Act and its importance within the arts.

Week 18: Emma Hastings, Wales Millennium Centre

It’s Opera Season at the Centre and what better way to kick-start the season of new performances than with a visit from a very special guest? HRH Prince Charles joined us in the Royal Box for the WNO’s opening performance of Un ballo in maschera so it was in-at-the-deep-end for me, putting my new fundraiser’s networking skills into practice!

RawFfest, a national arts festival that’s run by and for young people, got off to a lively start with their vibrant launch event in our Glanfa space.  It was an extraordinary display showcasing the abundance of talent and creative flair of young people.  Dance, song, and spoken word were used, and the participants transformed into truly professional performers. It was an amazing event to be part of and a great way to learn about the direct impact the Centre’s work can bring to people’s lives; something which is key to understand as a fundraiser. I was lucky enough to be able to help run their screen-printing table, which was a nice way to bring my creative background into the internship!


It’s lovely to catch up with the rest of the interns this month at the A&B Cymru Fundraising Symposium and Media training and at my visit to Rubicon Dance to see Sara and her team during their exciting capital project!

Looking forward to what the next month brings!

Week 17: Megan Stokes, Theatr Clwyd

Last month, I coordinated my first event which was a Panto afternoon tea exclusively for members. I used my creativity to make top-trump style place settings of all the characters from Dick Whittington. The event received a lot of positive feedback and we also received donations from the group that attended. It felt like the best send off for this year’s panto!

This month I had various trips down to Cardiff for all things Arts & Business Cymru related! I attended the Awards Launch where the award categories were announced. I also attended a Fundraising Symposium at Hodge Bank, where we had presentations from 3 foundations; Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Foyle Foundation and Paul Hamlyn Foundation. It was useful to get their perspective on the applications they want to receive. This week I also attended an A&B training course about working with the media.

I combined my trips to Cardiff to visit two of my fellow interns at their organisations. I visited Emma at the Wales Millennium Centre which is a much larger organisation with teams of people working on each area of fundraising. In contrast, I then visited Sara in Rubicon Dance which is a much smaller organisation where they focus their fundraising strategy on trusts and foundations applications. Both Emma and Sara shared some helpful tips on making applications as I am hoping to work on that in the second half of my internship.

This month, we have been working on membership as we are getting closer to the theatre’s first renewal period. We will soon be launching two brand new types of membership: Joint membership and Gift membership and we are aiming to hit our 50%-member renewal target!

Week 16: Gwenan Jenkins-Jones, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

It's nice to start a new season at the College and things are already getting busy! Events organising is top of my list of 'things to do.' Preparation for the New York St David's Day Gala is well underway, and we also have a concert to celebrate our London-based UBS Partnership, a special event for our Friends, the reception at the opening night of our David Seligman Opera School’s production of Albert Herring and 'Behind the Curtain' events with our Connect members to organise. As part of one of those sessions, I had the opportunity to attend a master class by the pianist Yulianna Evdeeva and see her giving the students world class advice – it was inspirational!

Next week is the Orchestradventure concert series! The College is touring this event around Wales. With music, singing and dancing, the College Symphony Orchestra and presenter Tom Redmond will bring new life to a program of music. He will present the instruments and methods of working in the orchestra to school children by using an interactive presentation and live musical displays. Many of the children will have participated in workshops and other educational experiences supported by the Experiencing the Arts Fund: Creative Collaborations, funded by the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government. I have the responsibility of organising the concert reception in Cardiff and I look forward to meeting the College's supporters and special guests and seeing our students presenting the power of music and the arts to the children of Wales.

This week I visited Sara, another intern who is placed at Rubicon Dance, to get a taste of how that organisation raises money and what they achieve. Rubicon is doing fantastic work across Cardiff and beyond and with their capital appeal to reopen Roath's library as a dance studio, Sara has a lot to keep her busy!

Week 15: Sara Wiliam, Rubicon Dance

After a relaxing time over the Christmas holidays I am now back to the bustle of Rubicon!

We have new software for our fundraising work and I have been feeding our targets and our data into the new system. This is a huge step forward for Rubicon as our fundraising objectives for the next few months are now clearly visible and measurable.

I found out that two of my funding applications have been successful! The first is for an event in partnership with the Age Cymru Gwanwyn Festival. The second was with the Virgin Money Foundation. We now have the opportunity to earn up to £1,000, depending on a public vote. Earlier in the month I attended the Virgin Money Lounge to raise awareness among the lounge's visitors.

Next week our Schools Festival starts at St David's Hall. It's a festival where over 60 Cardiff and Vale schools come together to perform. The festival will take place over three nights. As well as being on hand to help, there will be a display stand for our fundraising work where I will encourage people to join our 'Friends of Rubicon' scheme. I look forward to seeing the children enjoying these events.  For many of these children this is their first chance to perform on the stage at such a great venue – this links directly into Rubicon's mission statement: accessibility and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the arts.

I also attended the Arts & Business Cymru Awards Launch this week where I caught up with the other interns and my business mentor. I'm also looking forward to welcoming Emma and Gwenni to Rubicon at the end of the month!

Week 14: Emma Hastings, Wales Millennium Centre

New Year, New Challenges! Following a jam packed 3 months with the Trusts & Foundations Team, I’ve made the move over to Individual Giving with Bethany and Cecily and have not been disappointed! I love how the individual giving team opens up a new way of engaging with the Centre. Each task is fresh and swift, as we immerse ourselves with our lovely members, mailings, campaigns, donations, events and more!

We may not be far into 2019 but I’m beyond excited to lead on one of our member’s events! ‘The Making of: The Mirror Crack’d’ is an exclusive event showcasing the Centre’s own production ‘The Mirror Crack’d’; the first stage adaptation of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery. The event will feature ‘Killer Cocktails’, a private exhibition and an insightful pre-show talk by award-winning executive producer, Padraig Cusack. It’s still in the planning stages, however it’s a great learning experience and I’m looking forward to the final event in March.

I’m really pleased to have received a grant of £1,000 and smaller donations of £200 which contributed to our 30 Days of Giving campaign: Pump Up the Volume. This brought our total to a truly generous £9,000!

Whilst undertaking some internal training, updating support boards around the Centre and creating reports to generate upcoming membership expiries, I’m looking forward to the Arts & Business Awards Launch, seeing my fellow interns in the Centre and visiting Rubicon Dance later this month!

Week 13: Megan Stokes, Theatr Clwyd

Megan creative intern

In December, we hosted an Arts & Business Cymru event at Theatr Clwyd where guests got the chance to network with each other and learn about both Arts & Business Cymru and Theatr Clwyd’s news and upcoming events. Guests also had an exclusive sneak peak of one of our Christmas shows, Hansel and Gretel – The Fairy-tale Detectives, an interactive children’s show that encouraged the audience to take part and help the characters solve a crime. The show took place throughout the whole building… including our office… which was a lot of fun when you didn’t know who was going to come around the corner!

The Development Team hosted a Hansel and Gretel Afternoon tea for the former Friend’s group to say thank you as the money they donated contributed to the Theatr receiving new caption boxes. It is important to host these events for members of the former Friend’s group as we want to continue building on these relationships as part of our new fundraising strategy for the Theatr.

Hansel & Gretel Afternoon Tea

We are currently in the middle of planning another Development Team event, a Panto afternoon tea which is an event exclusively available to our members. We have included a suggested donation to encourage people to donate when booking their tickets. It will be held on the stage and there will be some exciting guest speakers too.

We think it is important to support other charities so on Christmas Jumper day, all Theatr Clwyd staff wore their most festive sweaters to raise money for Save the Children. In total we raised over £100.

Theatr Clwyd was in the news this month as our Artistic Director, Tamara Harvey, stepped in to perform in this year’s panto Dick Whittington when the lead actress injured herself during the opening number. It’s true what they say, ‘the show must go on’!

Week 12: Gwenan Jenkins-Jones, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

After staying calm for months, I am now able to talk about the College's secret event, our royal celebration! On 7th December, HRH Prince Charles, along with a number of special guests, celebrated his 70th birthday at the College. He was welcomed by our brass students and a harp recital in the foyer (with royal harpist Anne Denholm, leading), followed by a cabaret performance and lunch for those who had made the day possible with their financial support.

I've been preparing since October; communicating with over a hundred guests, writing briefing notes, creating bilingual materials and helping the development team in any way possible. Each member of College staff played their part in organising and working together. We succeeded in creating an unforgettable event! It was an opportunity not only to celebrate our patron's birthday, but also the talent of our students and alumni, as well as promoting the organisation nationally, and showing our appreciation to all the individuals and organisations that contribute to the development of our national conservatoire. It was also an opportunity for me to have a picture with Matthew Rhys, of course!

The event was huge, but the College's life does not stop for anyone! The students have been running a feast of performances throughout the festive season, including concerts sponsored by our Connect members. I helped to organise invitations for these events and it was nice to meet those people who support the organisation and enable us to continue attracting international artists to perform and work with our students, carry out a diverse performance program, and offer support with their various projects.

The students have finished for the season but we are busy preparing for 2019 starting with our next venture; Gala in New York!

Week 11: Sara Wiliam, Rubicon Dance

It's hard to believe that my third month here at Rubicon is almost at an end! Many things have evolved since my last blog - here's a little taster…

I can announce that an application for an £18,000 grant that I submitted back in October has been successful! This was a grant for a new website so a brand new site will be developed in the New Year. This is a very positive development for Rubicon to make our website a clear reflection of the wide range of work that we are doing, and to raise awareness of our fundraising plans for our capital project. I am delighted that this application has been successful and I'm really looking forward to being part of the redesign process.

I also had the opportunity to go to the Cardiff Development Forum meeting. This is an opportunity for different fundraisers in the arts to come together to discuss their work. The theme of the most recent meeting was corporate fundraising and it was interesting to hear the ideas and experiences of other fundraisers in this area. It was also good to see many previous interns at the meeting that continue to raise money in fundraising roles in the arts. This is a clear testament to the success of the Creative Internship scheme and inspires me to follow in their footsteps.

One of my main objectives by the end of my internship is to be more confident at networking events. As a result, my business mentor - Lynne Sheehy - suggested that it would be a good idea to go with her to the Cardiff Business Club to help me develop networking in this environment.  At their event last week I had the opportunity to practice and improve my networking skills as well as meeting new people and raising the profile of Rubicon. I'm very grateful to Lynne for asking me to join her.

I look forward to continuing to develop and learn in 2019. Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!

Week 10: Emma Hastings, Wales Millennium Centre

As always, it’s been an eventful few weeks and it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here at The Centre!

Our 30 days of giving campaign – Pump Up the Volume – kicked off on 20 November and has been an absolute blast: 30 days, 30 vulnerable young people, £15,000.  The sense of community engagement and generosity from all the staff, participants and members of The Centre has been overwhelming!  Our day of fundraising in St David’s was a great way to bring Radio Platfform and the campaign to the people of Cardiff, raising awareness and funds for the project.

Pump Up The Volume

With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve waved goodbye to Wicked and launched into Matilda! I was lucky enough to be able to attend the dress rehearsal and was not disappointed. We hosted an event for our partners, Howell’s School, where the kids could have their hair braided and ‘pose for paparazzi’, with a backstage tour to see the set. It was great to see them enjoying such an exciting and energetic environment!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, The Centre sent to me,
Twelve corporate supporters,
Eleven proposals pending,
Ten dev team members,
Nine charities hosted,
Eight hundred lives changed,
Seven radio Interns,
Six learning ‘Platfforms’,
Five thousand raised,
Four calling members,
Three new partners,
Two costume changes,
And The Centre Christmas Party!

Week 9: Megan Stokes, Theatr Clwyd

This month has been all about Panto, Panto, Panto and Panto! I say it 4 times because that’s how many times I have been to see it already!

I assisted on organising my first event which was a Panto Rehearsal Reception for members to see behind the scenes of Dick Whittington. Everyone who attended gave such positive feedback, it was a real success!

The main project I have been working on this month was Giving Tuesday which happened to coincide nicely with Panto Guest Night. This was the very first ever fundraising event at Theatr Clwyd so although we wanted to raise money, raising awareness about donating to the Theatre was just as important. We held a silent auction where people could bid on Theatr Clwyd gifts and experiences and we also gave out sweets and mince pies with a suggested donation. The total amount of money we raised on Giving Tuesday was £728.09!

But it’s not just Panto I have been working on – Oh no it isn’t!

The gift aid claim I helped with last month was accepted which allowed the theatre claim £4,305.59. We also had an away day team meeting at Tŷ Pawb where we talked about our strategy for next year as we start to move into the Capital Redevelopment project.  Finally, I have been involved in the Box Office training where they have started to ask customers for donations and started to use my Art and Design background to create fundraising flyers, posters and cards.

Week 8: Gwenan Jenkins-Jones, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

Gwenan Creative Intern

One of the things that I love about this internship is that there are so many opportunities to learn. As well as receiving advice from the College Development team, I am also able to draw on the experiences of others in the organisation. Paula Morris, my business mentor, wants to help me develop my networking skills at the Cardiff Business Club evening next month and Arts & Business Cymru offers our internship training courses from a variety of experts in their field.

Last week I went to the IOF (Institute of Fundraising) conference in Exeter and the day was extremely beneficial. There were sessions on Emotional Intelligence, Big Donations, a session on how to gain public confidence and much more. It was also interesting to meet other fundraisers and listen to them talking about their charities and their personal experiences.

Back in the office I've been busy putting into practice what I've learned! I have started to apply for funding for NEW: 2020, a week-long project where our final year drama students will work with young directors and playwrights to present four new plays in Cardiff and the London Gate Theatre.

I'm also preparing for our next ‘Friends Connect’ concert that will celebrate the contribution of our Associate Members to the development of our Young Conservatoire students. Every Saturday, 8-18 year olds receive the only training of this kind in Wales where they can learn in a specialist environment, benefit from intense musical education and realise their full potential.

With Christmas coming, things are going to be getting even busier here at the College and I look forward to the student’s end-of-season performances.

Week 7: Sara Wiliam, Rubicon Dance

Sara Creative Intern

Over the last few weeks I have been busy investigating, drafting and sending applications to different Trusts and Foundations. Since the beginning of my internship I have been working on a total of eight different applications; I've been surprised how what I’ve achieved in such a short space of time!

With the focus on improving and perfecting these funding applications, it's easy to forget about all the work your organisation does every day. This is why I am very pleased that I have the opportunity to see several company sessions. It's a chance for me to see the fruit of Rubicon's work as well as making me feel that my fundraising is of value.

Rubicon works with around 2,000 individuals each week in schools, community centres and health settings. In Llanrumney I attended an over 50’s dance session and in Newport I visited the NuWave session - a group that likes to focus on the different aspects of dance performance. Next week I will be going to see schools sessions in Cardiff as well as seeing parent and child sessions in Penarth. I look forward to visiting residential home sessions and a stroke recovery session next month too. Having seen these sessions reminds me of the wide range of Rubicon's work and inspires me to be even more passionate about raising money for the organisation.

NuWave Session at Rubicon Dance

I attended the Arts & Business and Spindogs Digital Marketing Strategy last week. As I do not have much experience in the digital world, this was a really useful course to explain how to build an online presence. Working on our online presence will be crucial in promoting our capital project as well as expanding our online audience.

Week 6: Emma Hastings, Wales Millenium Centre