COLIN Marr, Eden Court Theatre & Cinema’s outgoing chief executive, has been named Business Leader of the Year – at the Highland Business Awards.
The award, voted for by a judging panel compiled by Inverness Chamber of Commerce, was especially poignant as it came at the end of Marr’s final week as chief executive of Eden Court Theatre & Cinema.
Judges were impressed by how Colin had taken on a failing venue 20 years ago and turned it around to become one of the Highland’s most-visited attractions.
The multi-arts complex now attracts over 300,000 people and 90 per cent of all Highland residents have been through Eden Court’s doors. They were also impressed by the fact that Eden Court CREATIVE is recognised as the largest creative learning programme of any theatre in the UK.
Accepting the award Colin emphasised the ways that Eden Court helps the business community of the Highlands. He highlighted the £10 million annual economic impact, the work done to successfully turn around the lives of some of the Highlands’ most deprived young people and the number of people for whom Eden Court was an essential part of their decision to live in the Highlands.
He said: “Creating an environment for business to thrive is about more than broadband and transport, it’s also about attracting talent and community cohesion and arts and culture play a vital role in that.”
“I would like to thank the business community for their support over the last 20 years. I am leaving Eden Court in safe hands with 200 brilliant staff, 300,000 fantastic audience members and with continued support of the business community it will go from strength to strength.”
The award comes hot on the heels of the launch of The Marr Fund. Set up to honour Colin’s many achievements over the past 20 years, The Marr Fund will ensure Eden Court CREATIVE, the creative learning programme Colin was so committed to, will continue to thrive.
The Marr Fund, which was kick-started with a £10,000 donation from an anonymous donor, is accepting donations made by businesses or individuals. Funds raised will go directly to ensure that Eden Court CREATIVE continues to play an important role both at Eden Court and in community settings and schools across the Highlands.
Eden Court board members, staff and patrons bid a fond farewell to Colin who now embarks on a new adventure as Theatre Director at Edinburgh Playhouse and look forward to welcoming Eden Court’s interim chief executive, Mike Griffiths, on November 1st 2017.
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