Arts centre marketer moves on

Looking ahead: Gillian Thompson is leaving Frankston Arts Centre after nearly a decade. Picture: Gary Sissons

Looking ahead: Gillian Thompson is leaving Frankston Arts Centre after nearly a decade. Picture: Gary Sissons

IT’S the people that Frankston Arts Centre marketing head Gillian Thompson will miss the most when she finishes up at the centre on Friday (26 August) but the shows must go on.

The business development and marketing coordinator has decided to leave and strike out on her own after nearly a decade in the job.

She has seen many positive changes to the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula arts scene over the years.

“The thing is a lot of art type people live on the peninsula and we’re renowned for our art. We’re doing lots of groovy things. People love it. It’s just something different.

“It’s actually a wrench to leave. It’s a great team here. It’s a lot of hard work but whoever gets the job is very lucky.”    

She moved to Australia from England ten years ago and initially didn’t plan to “work for someone else” rather than set-up her own business but the theatre lover felt the Frankston Arts Centre gig looked too good to ignore and planned “to give it two years”.

Personal show highlights over the journey include circus dance spectacle Circa (“Beyond belief brilliant, Beautiful and challenging”) and an Australian Ballet production of Bolero (“Outstanding and fantastic”).

As for marketing the arts, she notes the rise of social media has brought the arts closer to audiences.

“I think we’re far more vibrant now. When I first started there were only about 3000 people on the database and that’s at 19,000 now. The first year I was there was when Facebook started so we got onboard with that.”

As she looks forward to her next challenge there is a bit of advice for her eventual successor in the marketing role.

“The biggest challenge for anyone walking into this role is working for council. If you’re from a commercial environment you’ve got to get to know bits and pieces about council,” she said.

“You’ve also never got enough time but we’re very much a ‘glass full’ team here. Everyone’s optimistic and we always want to deliver the absolute best we can to our audiences.”

Frankston Council CEO Dennis Hovenden wished her well before her departure.

“In the time Gill has been at Frankston Arts Centre, she has been a dynamo of positive energy, bringing fantastic new ideas to light, working hard while providing plenty of laughter and smiles along the way.

“We have all appreciated Gill’s willingness to embrace new and different approaches towards promoting the activities, shows and programs offered at the Frankston Arts Centre.

“On behalf of council and the local arts community, I would like to sincerely thank Gill for her many years of dedication and wish her the best for a bright and successful future.”

Thompson says she now wants to work with companies to help them understand great customer experiences are vital to building a company’s brand.

“This has been a dream job but my next dream job is going freelance for a while. I’m going to see what opportunities are out there.”

First published in the Frankston Times – 22 August 2016

This article was amended on 23 August to note the Frankston Arts Centre database of customers now numbers 19,000 and not 90,000 as originally stated.

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