A performing arts theatre which battled through the pandemic by moving productions outdoors, online and into empty shop units claimed the top honour at the Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield & Tamworth and Cannock Chase Chambers of Commerce’s annual awards.
Lichfield Garrick Theatre took home the Large Business of the Year prize at the annual dinner and awards, held at the Drayton Manor Hotel.
The black-tie event – sponsored by Amazon, Birmingham City University and Shakur Investments - was attended by nearly 300 people and hosted by sports broadcaster Jack Woodward.
This year’s awards were judged by head of the Solihull Chamber Sam Frampton, Michelle Spaul of Delta Swan, Visit Knowle’s Kim Hulse, Amy Jacklin from Virgin Money and Omar Rashid, HR expert and co-president of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce.
Judges were impressed by how the Garrick remodelled its business following the Covid-19 lockdowns by staging outdoor and online performances, as well as taking in-house productions on tour and arranging performance activities in empty shop units.
These initiatives led to a high proportion of ticket sales from new audiences – including online panto viewers from as far away as Australia, Hong Kong and the United States.
Since the lifting of Covid restrictions, 29 per cent of people booking to attend shows at the theatre have been new customers.
A citation from the judges added: “We were also impressed by the level of involvement in the community, working with local businesses and charities on projects including foodbanks, the provision of warm spaces and workshops for those going through challenging circumstances.”
Ten further awards were handed out at the dinner, including the Young Professional of the Year which went to Madeleine Williams, paralegal and trainee solicitor at Lichfield legal practice Adcocks Solicitors.
Judges praised Madeleine, who is due to qualify as a solicitor in Spring 2023, for “going above and beyond for often vulnerable and elderly clients”.
They added: “She has taken the initiative to reform and reshape outdated policies and procedures to give a more seamless client journey.”