National Theatre
Defining a culture and vision to guide the National Theatre through vital change
The challenge
The National Theatre’s team found itself in a state of deep uncertainty. Everything about its world had changed in a few years, with the intense disruption of the pandemic and Brexit compounded by issues like changing audience expectations and funding models.
Their new executive director knew the National needed a new strategic vision and a complete cultural refresh - one that could give its team a renewed sense of energy and purpose.
The solution
The National Theatre is committed to public service over profit and image, but it needed to adopt a more commercial mindset in some areas – such as its approach to strategic priorities through to defining its values and culture. We attended board meetings to educate key stakeholders on why branding, people and culture are so important.
Following this, we:
  • Engaged with over 29 departments in creative ways to gather insights, such as through interactive capture boards, workshops and interviews
  • Consulted with a true cross-section of employees, including those from underrepresented groups, who ranged in seniority, tenure and department
  • Spoke to external stakeholders, industry leaders, freelance creatives and the subsidiary board
From our conversations, we developed new mission, vision and purpose statements. The new target culture created values and behaviours for practical guidance to help deliver on the mission day to day by outlining expectations. To help embed the new strategy and culture, we created tools such as a culture book and a manager toolkit, to support leaders and employees alike, to embody and drive changes from the inside.
We also advised on a five-year corporate strategy and business plan to complement our values and culture work, so the commercial strategy complemented the cultural change.
The impact
Our work has given the National Theatre the energy, alignment and focus it needs to thrive commercially and creatively – both now and as it evolves in the future .
Kate Varah, Executive Director, praised our support and expertise:
"Working with People-Made ensured this was a smooth and carefully plotted project, delivered collaboratively and with flair. People-Made’s skills lie in detailed planning, meticulous research, and the ability to bring stakeholders from a wide range of seniority levels together - through varied engagement that sensitively provides insight, as well as their ability to deftly distil a complex brief and shape compelling narrative with copywriting expertise. We’re very grateful to them for the guidance and care.”
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