Barnsley show business gets business coaching support

29 November 2010

Staff at Barnsley’s Lamproom Theatre have received specialist business coaching to help ensure a glowing future. 
Charity Barnsley Theatre Trust has a small team of five to oversee day-to-day running of the Westgate venue and relies heavily on volunteers. Apart from a £20,000 grant from the council, all costs are met through donations and revenue from shows.
Now business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley is providing free marketing advice to help the theatre keep its supporters informed about what’s on and attract new theatre-goers.
Marketing specialist Kevin Steel has worked with manager Ruth Pearson to launch a monthly e-newsletter and save costs by sending out electronic versions of its brochures. The theatre’s website is being developed while links have been forged with other local businesses with plans to set up a corporate seat sponsorship scheme     
Kevin said: “I’ve been able to help increase the confidence of staff as well as suggest ways in which the theatre can further engage with its audiences and run more effectively and efficiently. 
“I also encouraged the theatre to explore landscaping work at the rear which is now being undertaken by the council and opens this area up to a potential new audience.”
Ruth said: “I think our audiences really appreciate what we do and that they can see live performances with it being too expensive, but of course we have to be mindful of economic factors. Kevin is helping us to make improvements in the way we do things and it’s paying off.”
Businessman John Kelly spearheaded a fund-raising campaign to provide a theatre for Barnsley after the closure of the Civic Hall in the mid-1990s. 
He spotted potential in the then-dilapidated former Methodist Chapel, built in 1780, and later used by the Boys’ Club Association - one of only a handful of buildings in Barnsley to have a Grade II listing.
Barnsley Theatre Trust was formed in 1998 and, after a £100,000 revamp, the new Lamproom theatre opened its 187-seat space within a year.
The Lamproom has two companies plus youth group LYTE and, for five-to-11-year-olds, The Lamplyters group .   In-house performers do several productions throughout the year, including a traditional Christmas pantomime. This year’s show – Dick Whittington - will have a record 46 performances starting on December 11. The venue also hosts professional touring productions. 
John’s actress daughter Katherine, who plays Becky McDonald in Coronation Street, is a former LYTE member, and performed at the Lamproom.
Last year Katherine, John, mum Anne and sister Grace, who also started out at the Lamproom and is now studying acting in the United States, last year appeared on ITV’s All Star Family Fortunes and won £30,000 which was donated to LYTE. Katherine followed this up with an appearance at the theatre with Coronation Street co-star Antony Cotton.
The Enterprising Barnsley programme offers business support to Barnsley businesses with growth potential. Enterprising Barnsley has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
The Lamproom Box Office can be contacted on 01226 200075 or visit For more information on Enterprising Barnsley go to
Notes to News Editors:
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre, University Campus Barnsley and Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide an integrated programme of business support. For further information, contact programme Martin Beasley on 01226 772648 or at
Additional media contacts: Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07910 165 444 or at or Deborah Wain on 07903 466228 or at

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