TMA to open up membership and consider name change

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All individuals working in theatre management will be eligible for membership of the Theatrical Management Association from 2014 as part of an internal review of the organisation, which is also considering a name change.

In its business plan for 2013 to 2017, the TMA says it hopes to introduce a professional membership scheme open to anyone working professionally in theatre management at any stage of their careers, regardless of whether their employer is a TMA member.

Currently, the TMA offers membership schemes that are predominantly for theatres and touring companies, which cost from around £250 up to almost £4,000 per year.

The new membership, based on the salary bracket the individual falls within, will primarily provide access to networking events and professional development opportunities alongside industry news updates. The association also hopes to introduce accredited training.

Meanwhile, there are plans to review the benefits and pricing of TMA’s corporate membership scheme, which is aimed at consultants and suppliers to the theatre industry, in a bid to increase more participants.

David Brownlee, TMA general manager, said: “At the moment, if you want to join the TMA you have to sign up to lots of terms and conditions around what you do with your employment relations – such as recognising unions and paying certain rates – which means for lots of organisations, TMA membership is not appropriate because they can’t afford it. This change in introducing a professional membership will mean people who work for those organisations have an opportunity to engage with the TMA without being large, well-established arts organisations or commercial producers.”

He added: “We want to be able to be far more inclusive and culturally diverse in our membership, and open to anyone serious about developing a career in theatre management and being a leader, either now or in the future.”

Before introducing its new scheme, the TMA will also undergo a brand review in 2013. In light of plans to become more of a campaigning organisation that engages with national and local government and external bodies, Brownlee said that “a name change is not currently being ruled out”.

He added: “If you ask most people who work in the industry what TMA stands for, about 70% will get it wrong. Also, if you were to say ‘TMA’ to somebody working in local government, or indeed in most national government departments, it would have very little resonance at all.

“So we need to work out what is the best way for us going forward.”