A top theatre and conference centre has somebody new to blow its trumpet and help raise funds – a talented clarinettist.
Musician Hephzibah Leafe, 22, is working with Venue Cymru in Llandudno to drum up new business and sponsorship opportunities.
Her appointment as a creative intern was organised by Arts & Business (A&B) Cymru, which is dedicated to bringing the worlds of arts and business together.
She’s making history as the first ever A&B Cymru intern in North Wales.
The music graduate who gained a Master’s at Bangor University still plays with the university’s symphony orchestra and the Menai Wind Quartet.
She has also has joined the Conwy County Borough Council Choir and teaches clarinet and saxophone in what’s left of her spare time
Hepzi, as she calls herself, said: “I love my new role at Venue Cymru where I am initially concentrating on corporate development and meeting business sponsors.
“We want to develop and grow the theatre’s Corporate Club which involves members signing up annually for which they get the benefit of invitations to shows and marketing opportunities.
“However, I also want to help develop the theatre’s website and work at supporting Conwy Arts Trust in developing educational projects which is something I’m really interested in.”
Hepzi previously worked as an intern with Ensemble Cymru which coincidentally has a residency at Venue Cymru.
She added: “The theatre has a Take Part art project which runs for two days in January. Last year the event attracted 10,000 visitors over two days which is amazing and shows how popular the project is.
“However, we need to raise funds to pay for the event, which is free to participants and visitors. And we need to increase the work we do with educational projects and it’s important we find sponsors to come on board and help in the delivery of these important projects.
“I think it’s important to have interns with a musical or art background to come in and look at things from a different perspective and with a fresh pair of eyes.
“It’s all about getting new businesses on board and involved with the theatre.”
Venue Cymru marketing manager Richard Jones explained that fund-raising and sponsorship were increasingly important at a time of austerity.
He said: “We have a very positive relationship with our current sponsors and Hephzibah’s role is to continue to build on those partnerships while developing new markets and opportunities.
“She will also be helping to develop our website and looking at improving our social media platforms which are so important to us.”
“However, we need to work hard alongside our Friends of the Theatre Group and our Corporate Club members to ensure we are always ahead of the curve.”
Lorraine Hopkins, the North Wales manager of A & B Cymru, explained that the internship had been made possible thanks to funding from the Colwinston Charitable Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation and Arts Council of Wales Lottery.
“For some time, Wales has suffered from a lack of professional arts fundraisers. This problem is increasingly serious in the current economic climate.
“A & B Cymru believes the only way to address this is to attract new graduates into the field.
“Hephzibah, who has some fundraising experience from a previous role at Ensemble Cymru, will prove to be a gold nugget for North Wales.
“At the end of her internship she’ll have some fantastic fundraising experience and skills and will be able to help other arts organisations attract much-needed sponsorship.”
“Fundraising needs to be approached in a professional manner and we need to demonstrate to business just how much they can benefit from association with the arts, in terms of marketing, community engagement and even staff training and development.
“Hephzibah will work closely with her mentor and I have no doubt we will see positive results which will help A&B Cymru build on the success of the scheme in future years”