MT Rainey OBE appointed chair of Poole Arts Trust

Poole Arts Trust, the charity that runs Lighthouse, has announced the appointment of Dumbarton-born MT Rainey OBE as its new Chair. 

The former Deputy Chair of Channel 4, she brings a wealth of experience from commercial roles in the creative industries that saw her honoured with an OBE for services to advertising in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. After eight years in the USA as Planning Director at Chiat/Day working with Apple and other early Silicon Valley companies, MT founded and was CEO of top advertising agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe. She also served as Vice Chair of Creative Skillset, the UK Sector Skills Council for the Creative Industries and is a Trustee of The Booker Prize.

“It’s a privilege to be asked to Chair this very loved, respected and important organisation,” says MT. “I’ve been coming to Lighthouse since I first had a home here in Poole in 2004 – in fact, it was one of the reasons I came. For an arts venue outside of London the quality and diversity of the programme is amazing.”

An avid consumer of the arts in all their guises, MT is looking forward to bringing her background in Brands and Marketing to bear in a sector she knows and loves so well.

“We have very loyal audiences, and while some elements of the programme bring in new audiences, I still think not enough people in this area know what a jewel in the crown they have on their doorstep and how many choices they have at Lighthouse on any night of the week. I’m hoping I can bring my specific expertise to bear on that particular challenge.”

Since joining the Board of Trustees in 2020, MT has been contributing her expertise to a range of projects supporting the team to develop the new website and recent brand refresh that has seen the logo updated, new signage and the adoption of the tagline ‘Different Every Day’.

“The team crafted that strapline and to me it brilliantly encapsulates the promise of Lighthouse,” she explains.

In common with venues across the country, Lighthouse continues to recover from the pandemic and audiences are returning in encouragingly greater numbers. But with rising costs in every aspect of the business, the worsening effects of the cost of living crisis, soaring energy prices and deepening economic hardship, there are enormous challenges to that recovery.

However, having recently retained Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation status, MT is certain Lighthouse will meet such challenges with characteristic creativity and ingenuity.

“Lighthouse is incredibly well led by Elspeth and her team who have steered it carefully and successfully through the various challenges of the last few years,” she says.

“The role of the Board now is to make sure that this precious asset is sustainable into this uncertain future, and I think that this will increasingly mean working together with other arts organisations to make the case for the importance of the arts in a healthy society. It will also be about making sure that we offer value for money to our audiences and reaching out to forge even deeper ties with our communities.

“So, it’s a serious job, but it’s also seriously good fun.”

Lighthouse Chief Executive Elspeth McBain is delighted that MT has accepted the role as Chair. She says: “We are thrilled to have MT Rainey as our new Chair of the Lighthouse Board, and already her extensive experience and expertise is having a real impact. I am excited to be working with her, and her enthusiasm and knowledge of the arts is a great asset.”

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