Backstage at The Lowry: Tony Smith, Commercial Director

I’ve been the Commercial Director here at The Lowry since 2008. I joined the company in 2005 as Head of Corporate Relations, having moved across from IWM North – where I was part of the pre-opening team.

In my role I am responsible for maximising our revenue generating opportunities by bringing the managers of The Lowry’s catering, corporate relations (that’s our conferences, events, weddings and Christmas parties offer) and retail together to work cohesively.

If you consider that on any one day we might have a wedding reception in our Compass Room, a conference taking place in a meeting room and a drinks reception in our Gallery – not to mention over 150 people sitting down for dinner in the restaurant and over 2,000 theatregoers arriving to watch a performance in one of our theatres – it’s important we’re prepared!

I’m also responsible for the public face of the building – our ‘front of house’ team, who oversee more than 300 volunteers; ‘facilities management’, who look after maintenance and security – and currently have a particular focus on reducing the environmental impact of the building; and the ‘theatres technical’ team, who work closely with the visiting production companies on the technical logistics of the shows on our stages. All in all, they’re about ensuring our patrons have the very best visitor experience possible.

As the Commercial Director, I also get to work on lots of one-off projects that help generate an income for the organisation. Recently, I have been supporting Hyde’s Brewery on the launch of a Lowry Collection of ales to mark their move to The Quays. Those ales will be available in the majority of their 60 pubs and at a number of bars across the country and we’re hoping to get them in our own bar and restaurant, as well as the gift shop, very soon.

Another project I’ll be working on in the near future is part of a great scheme led by a charity called IdeasTap. We’ll be supporting people trying to establish themselves in the creative industry by offering them the opportunity to design product to sell in our gift shop. It’ll give them a chance to pitch their ideas and turn them into reality – as well as learning more about the processes involved in becoming a supplier to a businesses such as ours.

There are five directors, including myself, that report to the chief executive and we work together to ensure that all activity across the organisation supports the Business Plan. The Lowry is first and foremost a venue for art and entertainment – but there’s an incredible amount of other activity that takes place within the building to support that, which makes it a great place to work whatever your passion.

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