MTW Recruiting: Chair of the Board of Trustees

Music Theatre Wales is the UK’s leading national contemporary opera company, dedicated to bringing the finest work to the public.

Ever since the company’s formation in 1988, Music Theatre Wales has been recognised as a vital force in UK opera, presenting new work on an intimate scale that is bold, exciting and different and is particularly characterised by the powerful impact it makes on audiences and artists alike.

We are based in Cardiff and as a Welsh company, funded by the Arts Council of Wales, we aim to deliver outstanding work within Wales for the benefit of Welsh audiences, presenters and artists; and deliver more for Wales by showcasing contemporary culture developed in Wales at premier venues and festivals in the UK and beyond.

Music Theatre Wales is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. The current Chair of the Board of Trustees, Geraint Davies CBE, will be stepping down in 2018 at the end of a decade under his leadership which has seen MTW build on its local reputation and achieve national and international renown for innovation and excellence.

We’re on the cusp of an exhilarating new phase in our creative development and we’re looking for the right person to lead us through it as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Whatever your background and experience, if you share our excitement about the work of MTW and believe that your personal attributes, knowledge, understanding, skills and experience are a good fit with the role description and person specification below, then we would love to hear from you.

Please note that the role of Chair of the Board of Trustees is not remunerated, but reasonable out of pocket expenses can be paid.

Role description

The Chair, working closely with the CEO, will:

  • Provide inclusive leadership for MTW and its Board of Trustees for the effective governance of the Charity. This will entail setting the Board’s agenda, facilitating a proper and effective relationship between Trustees, and between the Board and its sub-committee(s) and keeping the Board focused on strategic matters
  • Ensure that transparent information is provided to Trustees, giving them enough time to consider critical issues and setting realistic deadlines for informed decision-making by the Board
  • Make sure that the Board is regularly refreshed and appropriately balanced, enabling individual Trustees to identify the ways in which their particular set of skills and experiences could be of benefit to MTW
  • Support new trustees by providing a comprehensive induction programme
  • Foster the development of the Board as a whole, making sure trustees keep abreast of the latest guidance on good practice and any changes affecting their legal status, roles and responsibilities as trustees
  • Monitor the effectiveness of individual Trustees and the Board as a whole, undergo an annual performance review as Chair, facilitate an annual review of the Board’s effectiveness and conduct an annual performance review of the CEO
  • Act as a spokesperson and ambassador for MTW in a variety of contexts such as performances, functions, meetings, the press and broadcast media, alongside or in the absence of the CEO and Artistic Director
  • Fulfil the statutory duties of the Chair of a charitable organisation
  • Keep an eye on the big picture, enabling the Board to identify and manage risks and embrace opportunities and safeguarding the overall reputation and financial health of MTW

This role description is indicative only and not exhaustive. The Chair will be expected to perform all such additional duties as are reasonably commensurate with the role.

Person specification

In addition to the qualities required of every MTW trustee, we are also looking for:

Personal attributes

  • Authentic, passionate enthusiasm about the work of MTW that is plain for all to see, underpinned by a strong commitment to upholding its raison d’être and pursuing its strategic goals
  • An ethical approach to leadership that ensures consistency between what you say, how you behave, the systems and processes you endorse and the culture you foster within the company
  • Willingness to encourage intelligent, challenging debate, listen to the views of others, seek expert advice and learn through rigorous processes of critical self-awareness, while still being prepared to make hard decisions when necessary
  • The judgement to discern when difficult conversations need to take place and the self-assurance to tackle them with tact, diplomacy and discretion
  • Availability and willingness to give the time the role demands, especially in challenging circumstances
  • Strategic intelligence and the capacity to command respect within and beyond MTW
  • A track record of successful achievement throughout your career

Knowledge and understanding

  • The work, history and ambitions of Music Theatre Wales
  • The role of the arts in society including the current issues affecting the sector
  • The governance of charitable arts organisations
  • The political contexts in which MTW operates


  • Strong interpersonal skills including listening, motivating and challenging others, developing relationships, team-building, team-working and team leadership
  • Navigating change
  • Managerial skills including line management, performance review, chairing meetings, leadership and crisis management
  • Networking and advocacy skills and the ability to act as an ambassador for MTW
  • Financial management skills
  • Welsh language skills would be an asset but are not an essential requirement


  • Senior strategic leadership within an organisation
  • Financial oversight at a senior level
  • Business planning
  • Engagement with the arts

Time commitment

Four meetings of the main Board per year. There are currently two sub-committees of the board: Finance & General Purposes (F&GP) and a sub committee set up to oversee this recruitment process. The Chair will be expected to sit on the F&GP committee which meets four times per year. The Board aims to hold one ‘awayday’ each year in addition to regular meetings.

The Chair is expected to have regular meetings with the Chief Executive and represent the Charity at various meetings with partners and key stakeholders.

It is expected that the time commitment of the successful candidate will be roughly three days per month, though this could increase at times when the Company is recruiting senior staff or managing major change or transition.

The process

Music Theatre Wales wishes to apply the same principles of equality of opportunity to the appointment of a new Chair as it would to its employees. MTW aspires to be an Equal Opportunities Employer; no job applicant, employee or appointment shall receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of: gender, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, age, care of dependants, political or religious belief.

Expressions of interest, including a CV should be emailed to the CEO, Carole Strachan at Please ensure that your submission addresses the person specification in detail and provides evidence of the ways in which you believe you fulfil the criteria. We hope that a new Chair will be in post by the end of March 2018 and expect to hold interviews before Christmas 2017.

All expressions of interest will be considered by members of the Recruitment Sub-Committee who may subsequently invite you to meet with them for a conversation about your submission. The decision to appoint a new Chair will be taken by the full Board of Trustees advised by the Recruitment Sub-Committee.

The Chair is appointed for an initial term of three years and may serve up to two further terms of three years.

September 2017


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