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The Stand Comedy Clubs - General Manager

Salt 'n' Sauce Promotions Ltd
THE STAND COMEDY CLUB
GENERAL MANAGER

Located at head office 5 York Place it is a permanent full time position up to £40,000- £50,000 depending on experience.

THE BEST JOB IN LIVE COMEDY. Salt 'n' Sauce Promotions Ltd is seeking a new general manager for the world renowned The Stand Comedy Clubs. Have you got what it takes to lead the UK's best comedy venues? We're looking for an exceptional, driven individual with passion, heart and wit. Sometimes controversial, always interesting, we’ve maintained our “people over profits” ethos through two decades of growth. An opportunity not to be missed!

Your application must include a Covering Letter, CV and a statement about how you meet the job criteria.

Closing date 7th January 2019 and application to eva@thestand.co.uk

Job Description

General Manager – key duties Job Description

  • Overall management of the company ensuring efficient and profitable operations, leading and co-ordinating a diverse staff team, and ensuring objectives are achieved.
  • Leadership and co-ordination of a team of senior managers
  • Acting as chief officer to the board of directors, preparing meetings including regular operational reports
  • Ensuring HR and other policies are in place to fulfil all statutory requirements.
  • Leading on negotiations with staff on wages and other contractual matters.
  • Ensuring there is a programme of staff training and development and that all staff are suitably motivated.
  • Represent the company in discussions with statutory agencies, the local council and relevant business or community organisations
  • To act as a spokesperson for the company to the public, press and media.
  • Lead on identifying and securing sponsorship for general programme or specific events.
  • Via consultation with stakeholders and company directors, help develop then implement a five-year business plan and ensure this is periodically reviewed by the board.

Finance

  • Ensuring adequate systems are in place for financial monitoring and preparing regular financial reports on sales and costs
  • Leading on preparation of annual budget and ensuring that all managers and budget holders are in control of spending
  • Working with the company’s accountants to prepare the annual accounts.
  • To sign off on any leasing arrangements for vehicles and plant.
  • To review and rationalise the company’s storage facilities.

Venue management

  • Ensuring the efficient management of three purpose-built venues, providing leadership and support for the venue managers in each and overseeing company-wide policies and action.
  • Recruit and manage three venue managers
  • Ensure that company objectives in terms of programme, product, staffing and customer service are delivered in each venue.
  • To oversee the complaints procedure
  • Negotiate company-wide agreements with suppliers
  • Negotiate lease renewal or amendment when necessary
  • Prepare and monitor a programme for major repairs to venues

Programme

  • Provide leadership and support to key managers working to prepare and promote the artistic programme in each venue.
  • Support programmers in delivering on programme objectives, ensuring venue management make any operational changes required
  • Oversee press and publicity programme, supporting the relevant manager ensuring venue management deliver at point of sale.
  • To act as principal client contact for IT consultants on development of website, digital platforms, and box office systems, signing off specifications and overseeing tendering.
  • To provide overall leadership for the company’s work during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, including programming, temporary venue acquisition, staffing and management, budgeting and liaison with relevant third parties.

Job Specification

Essential Requirements:

Knowledge

  • Business and Events Management.
  • Experience of Bar Management.
  • Business Accountancy.
  • Statutory Employment Regulations.
  • Health and Safety Regulations.

 

Skills

  • Ability to lead and manage teams.
  • Ability to delegate effectively.
  • Demonstrate high levels of verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to negotiate with a variety of stakeholders.
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Effective time management.
  • Ability to prioritise.
  • Effective decision making.
  • Problem solving.
  • Understand and interpret spreadsheets.
  • Manage budgets.
  • Plan and manage change.
  • Experience of identifying and securing sponsorship for general programme or specific events.
  • Ability to prepare and monitor financial reports on sales and costs.
  • Ability to prepare annual budgets and ensure all managers and budget holders are in control of spending.
  • Work with the company’s accountants to prepare the annual accounts.
  • To sign off on any leasing arrangements for vehicles and plant.
  • Clean driver's license

 

Understanding

  • How to implement company values and ethos.
  • How to develop and motivate staff.
  • How to promote and develop The Stand Comedy Club as a brand.
  • How to ensure company objectives are delivered in each venue.

 

Desirable Requirements:

  • Work experience within performance venues.
  • Ability to produce policies and procedures regarding employer/employee rights and responsibilities.
  • Effective marketing strategies.
  • Experience of negotiating leases, contracts, services.
  • Ability to use financial software packages.
  • To review and rationalise the company’s storage facilities.
  • Work experience of a creative arts festival such as The Edinburgh Fringe.

The Stand Comedy Club History

In the beginning

The Stand Comedy Club began life in August 1995 in the basement of WJ Christie’s pub off Edinburgh’s Grassmarket as a temporary platform for local comedians who found themselves without a stage during the Edinburgh festival. The experiment worked well enough to try a regular event, and The Stand ran its first regular club night on Thursday 21st September 1995: seven people came and the total box office was £22.

In March 1998, after two and a half years of staging shows in various public houses, the club moved to a new purpose built venue at 5 York Place, on the edge of the city's New Town, just five minutes’ walk from Princes Street. Within the year it was running every night of the week – one of the very few comedy venues in the UK to do so.

Almost as soon as Edinburgh was up and running the search began for premises in Glasgow. By the beginning of 1999 the basement of a former secondary school in the city’s west end had been identified as a potential venue. By the end of the year the company signed a 25 year lease and awarded a contract to convert the premises into a new comedy space.

Glasgow’s first ever purpose built comedy club opened on the 14th April 2000. Initially open five nights a week the club soon bedded down and trade grew steadily. By 2003 the Glasgow club had joined its Edinburgh counterpart in opening seven nights a week.

In October 2011 The Stand opened its third venue, this time in Newcastle. Converted from the basement of a warehouse building in the tiny cobbled street of High Bridge, right in the city centre, the Newcastle Stand is the biggest with 300 seats.

The Newcastle Club is very much part of the Stand family but has a great local team behind it and also has its own distinctive voice. The club is the North-east’s only purpose built, full-time comedy club.

Who runs the Stand?

The clubs are run by a limited company Salt 'n' Sauce Promotions Limited. The company is owned by seven shareholders and managed by a board of directors which meets quarterly. The board sets policy, provides financial oversight and appoints senior managers.

Each venue has a full time manager and one or more assistant managers responsible for operations and the staff team in each. A headquarters team in Edinburgh provides support for all clubs in programming, promotion and administration including personnel, finance, and procurement.

The general manager provides operational management for each of the three venues and leads the central HQ team.

Our comedy

From the beginning, the club set itself the aim of promoting the development of live comedy in Scotland (and now North East England) in general and adopted the following objectives which remain unchanged to this day:

  • maintaining a regular venue with high quality entertainment at a price potential audiences can afford;
  • encouraging new performers by creating a comfortable, friendly atmosphere in which to get started and develop skills;
  • encouraging new writing and performance which contributes to, and reflects, contemporary Scottish (and North East) culture.
  • Making the performance of comedy open to as wide and varied a section of society as possible by encouraging new and diverse voices, in particular, female performers.

 

We like comedy that challenges pre-conceptions, routines that’ll make you think as well as laugh. We resist plagiarism and seek originality.

We insist on the audience not talking during the performance and have thrown out those who do. If someone doesn’t listen they’ll not get it. And we long ago banned weekend hen and stag parties trying to have a party within a party and spoiling the fun for everyone else.

Over the years we’ve been a breeding ground for new talent with household names like Frankie Boyle and Kevin Bridges starting here.

Each of the three Stand Comedy Clubs are open most nights – at least 350 a year. More than a thousand performance each year involving around 1600 performers playing to audiences of 140,000 people. In Glasgow we are a major venue in the city’s comedy festival, doubling the number of shows we offer.

In Edinburgh we are the fifth largest venue on the fringe and we hire other spaces for that festival running up to ten rooms each with around eight performances per day. At peak in 2015 we sold as many tickets in Edinburgh in three weeks in August as we did in all three clubs during the rest of the year. That has fallen back a bit but the Fringe is still a very large and important part of our annual programme.

Funny business

Of course we want to make money. We have comedians and staff to pay, and venues to maintain. But money isn’t everything, and naked pursuit of profit is not what we’re about.

For 20 years the company has got by. No-one got rich but we’re still here. We have survived when many others have gone to the wall. We started with a box office of £22; in 2016 our turnover was £5.5M. That’ll come down in the current year as we lost our major outdoor venue during the Edinburgh festival at St Andrew Square.

Each club has a full bar and Edinburgh and Newcastle also have kitchens and a food service. The gross profit from food and drink sales is essential to keep the venues going and we aim to provide good value for money in both.

Today there are 70 people on the payroll. That includes many part-time front of house staff so our full time equivalent is about 40. During the Edinburgh festival those numbers can treble. From the start we have paid bar staff above the going rate – we paid the national living wage before it was called that. We are now an accredited Living Wage employer and even our 16 year old temporary staff giving our flyers in the fringe get a minimum of £8.75 an hour (soon to be £9).

Keeping in Touch with our Customers

We utilise entries gathered from our nightly prize draws in each venue and an online sign-up form to grow our mailing lists, who we keep in regular touch with regarding up-coming shows and special offers. Our total mailing list, including all three venues and a list specifically for the Edinburgh Festival, comes in at nearly 15,000 addresses post GDPR. The largest single list is for our Glasgow venue, which comes in at just over 4500. We also maintain a Members mailing list, for those who join our Stand Together scheme for £15 a year. There are currently roughly 1000 registered members.

We’re also extremely active on social media, with our two person team coming top in a Fringe survey of online activity for August. Our venue pages on Facebook are followed by over 30,000 people, with over 40,000 Twitter followers spread over the three venue accounts. We are also currently expanding our reach in to Instagram.

What’s On

Our club programme available at all venues consists of touring and local talent shows - alongside company-crafted productions - and charity benefits.

Touring Show and Local Talent

The Stand attracts attention from a diverse assortment of agencies, managers and performers from the UK and beyond.

Touring show take place dependant on our own production programme and are scheduled, where possible, to run consecutively in all three clubs or at later dates if venue capacities are compatible. Our talent can be known from TV, Radio, Internet, podcasts - or even the WWE ring!

We’re renowned for managing our audiences and comedians sensitively. This is one of the main reasons why Work-In-Progress shows from high-profile comics such as Dylan Moran and Jason Manford can still be found at our venues.

Regular monthly shows produced by local talent are offered and managed jointly. This allows The Stand to support the local comedy community should they have an avant-garde production approach to new writing and ideas.

Comedy Crafted Productions

Red Raw is our long-running weekly beginner’s showcase is regarded as the best open mic night in the UK. It takes place every Monday in Edinburgh, Tuesday in Glasgow and Wednesday in Newcastle. It’s not a gong show, and our “no heckling” rules are firmly in place – we want everyone to have a fair chance. With up to 10 new acts on each line up, the show has become synonymous with first breaks into comedy for fresh talent but also offers a relaxed space for professional comics to drop in and try new material.

Our weekend line-up is booked to run the same prime-time line-up Thursday through to Saturday. This aids programming and travelling comics tremendously whilst allowing us to offer a different price point for audiences.

Kids Comedy is presented in various formats as daytime events at weekends with at least one show taking place specifically for the 5-12 years age range per month. The Stand Newcastle offers these shows at least twice per month and also offers a special menu.

A range of local talent shows take place during afternoons at weekends. Our longest running version hailing from The Stand, Edinburgh with Stu and Garry’s Free Improv show which attracts travelling groups which we may not have been able to welcome at the weekend due to single-sex policies.

Charity Benefits

The Stand is keen to support not only talent and staff but the wider local community by offering at least one benefit show per month, per venue. The organisation representatives are responsible for ensuring ticket sales, but our programming staff book the line-ups, with talent offering their services for free and all money taken on the door being kept by the charity. From 2015 to date over £83k has been provided to worthwhile causes.

How to apply

 

Your application must include a Covering Letter, CV and a statement about how you meet the job criteria.

Closing date 7th January 2019 and application to eva@thestand.co.uk