Carousel Theatre for Young People
Carousel Theatre for Young People (CTYP) uses performing arts to inspire, challenge, encourage critical thinking, and get creative juices flowing in young people with the aim of producing engaged citizens. In their 39th season, Carousel Theatre is the only company to produce a full season of professional main stage theatre for young people in BC. Its unique programming and excellent reputation has seen the company grow extensively, but in their 39 year history they had never done any strategic planning. To strengthen alignment between artistic output and operational infrastructure, CTYP turned to Vantage Point’s Strategic Planning Consulting.
As a newcomer to the role with a background outside of the arts community, Managing Director, Aliyah Amarshi, brought a fresh perspective along with her passion for working with creative people. She quickly determined that CTYP needed a more focused approach; they needed to refine their priorities to set them up for sustainable growth as demand for their programming increased. Frankly, they needed a strategic plan. However, a big hurdle to engaging a strategic planning consultant was the cost. Aliyah had talked to peers about Vantage Point’s services and had heard great things, but it was a bursary provided by the City of Vancouver that allowed them to move forward.
CTYP began strategic planning with Vantage Point in January 2014. Our two phase approach to the process: preparation & planning was customized to the unique requirements of their team. Vantage Point acted as the facilitator, supporting their development of a plan that is right for the organization. Expert volunteer facilitators, like Randy Schaefer, are dedicated to giving their time and sharing their knowledge. CTYP developed a plan that is immediately applicable: it is a living document that guides future decision making, goal setting, priorities, and operations planning. After three days of working with Randy and two independent meetings, CTYP walked away with a final document which captured the essence of the five elements of the strategic plan: vision, mission, success, priorities and values.
Through Vantage Point’s strategic planning consulting, Aliyah, the board of directors and senior team have a solid guide for CTYP’s future. They’ve focused their ongoing activities on five priorities. And while it’s only been a few months since the plan was approved in September, they’re already seeing results. They now have clear focuses to build their operational plan from. The tools and tactics they learned and advanced throughout the process have empowered their board to initiate movement on policies and procedures that had previously been stuck sitting; adopting tools such as board member agreements, and performing necessary revisions to their bylaws. As a result of the process, CTYP is equipped with a foundation to make upcoming strategic decisions. The plan and process empowered them to take ‘big leaps’ and their strategic priorities are providing the confidence to take some risks in areas where they had previously held back.
“Vantage Point provided us an opportunity to open discussions and make decisions”, says Aliyah. “We now have structure in place to effectively grow. We have tools to draw from to continue actualizing our plan. It’s early days yet, but we are confidently making – sometimes hard - decisions to realize our mission.”