Producers Place #5: Theatres as Producers: What I Talk About When I Talk About Producing

INVITATION:

Producers Place #5: Theatres as Producers

What I Talk About When I Talk About Producing

Tuesday Nov 10th 1100-1530pm

Free, including lunch

@ Aberystwyth Arts Centre

The Producers Place network is back with an event in partnership with Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

It’s a friendly and informative day-long event for anyone who is interested in or connected to producing in the performing arts, such as independent producers, venue producers, artist producers, artists and companies

Theatres and Arts Centres are producing because there is a shortage of suitable touring product and of independent producers in their area. They want to support artists and see producing as a valuable contribution. Venues also see that it is beneficial to be involved in the creation of work for their audiences. But do venues have the right skills, experience or capacity? And how do they develop this sustainably for the future? How do we share skills and experience – making links between the independent sector and venues?

Agenda:               Theatres As Producers

1100 hrs:              What I Talk About When I Talk About Producing: Forum Sessions

An opportunity to share, chat, moan, rant, discuss and problem solve together with experienced producers on hand from the Producers Place steering group. You can get great advice, ask basic questions or have wider discussions on subjects such as Artists and Producers, Venues and Producers and The Role of Scratch Nights, Festivals and Sharings. 

1215 hrs:              Lunch

1300 hrs:              What I Talk About When I Talk About Producing: Panel Session

A panel discussion looking at different examples of producing and why people do it. Looking at in-house producing within venues to independent production outside Cardiff, this will take account of the strengths and weaknesses of current models with contributions from:

  • Sharon Casey – Theatre & Arts Service Manager at Caerphilly Borough Council
  • Gareth Lloyd Roberts – Director at Aberystwyth Arts Centre
  • Sandra Bendelow – An independent producer with Scriptography Productions
  • Kate Wasserberg – Artistic Director at The Other Room

1430 hrs:              What I Talk About When I Talk About Producing: Q&A Session

Mel Scaffold is Company Producer at Theatre Bristol which has played a significant role in the emergence of Bristol as an artistic centre, transforming the city and building its capacity to work with artists. Mel offers bespoke support to companies enabling them to grow and develop strategically balanced with hands-on project producing. As part of this support, Mel currently works with Action Hero to help them plan and manage their work around the world and spends two days a week as Development Facilitator for Gloucestershire Creates.

Producers’ Place is a network for producers in Wales. The network aims to strengthen links between people who self-identify as producers in the arts (whether they have that job title or not) to foster dialogue, share ideas and offer practical support to participants.

Contact Gill Ogden at ggo@aber.ac.uk  to book a free place or for further details.

Supported by the Arts Council of Wales

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Meet The Producers #8: Emma Evans – Producers’ Place October 11th

Another profile of one of the producers at Saturday’s event… Emma Evans. Emma will be participating in the session about Artists and Producers.

Producers’ Place #4: Meet The Producers is this coming Saturday. Some tickets are still available here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/producers-place-4-meet-the-producers-tickets-13151343021

Name Emma Evans
Age 33
How do you describe what you do? Consultant and Producer
How did you get started? By accident – but it had a lot to do with the Sherman Youth Theatre
What work are you proudest of? Bringing Peeled by Itzik Galili to Diversions Dance Company in 2007
What’s been the most challenging? My role as member of Council for Arts Council Wales
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone wanting to do what you do? Be tenacious
What’s your ambition for theatre from Wales?  Or dance or music or anything else? My ambition is for Wales to be a place where people can make brilliant work that connects with audiences.
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Meet The Producers #7: Deborah Keyser – Producers’ Place October 11th

Here’s another of our producers… Deborah Keyser. Deborah will be involved in the break out session looking at Booking A Tour.

Producers’ Place #4: Meet The Producers is this coming Saturday. Some tickets are still available here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/producers-place-4-meet-the-producers-tickets-13151343021

Name Deborah Keyser
Age Forty-seven-and-a-third
How do you describe what you do? My role as Director of Creu Cymru is diverse… at any one time we’re producing and managing tours, brokering relationships between makers and presenters, facilitating consortium working, developing new productions/events, delivering Continual Professional Development for our members, connecting with international networks, consulting with ACW…
How did you get started? A circuitous route: from performing, through working for the BBC, stints in journalism and PR, to opera producing, orchestra management, festival administration… and plop into the Welsh presenting sector.
What work are you proudest of? So many fantastic projects – but most recently, being part of the team that gave Creu Cymru a new, very relevant direction following the ACW investment review of 2010.
What’s been the most challenging? Being part of the team that gave Creu Cymru a new direction following the ACW investment review of 2010!
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone wanting to do what you do? Listen; talk (not at the same time); think; understand; plot; DO.
What’s your ambition for theatre from Wales? That more makers are enabled to make world-class work; that makers and presenters collaborate to develop that work and to thrill more and more (and more) people with it. Amen.
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Meet The Producers #6: Laura Drane – Producers’ Place October 11th

Laura Drane will also be involved in one of the breakout sessions, discussing the relationship between Artists and Producers.

Producers’ Place #4: Meet The Producers is now only five days away. The last few tickets are available here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/producers-place-4-meet-the-producers-tickets-13151343021

Name Laura Drane
Age 37
How do you describe what you do? Out of choice, I’d say I was a creative producer. Generally I work with clients or off my own back to initiate productions and projects in response to a need, opportunity, challenge, idea, etc. Most of my work manifests as festivals, productions and projects in the performing arts, but not always – for example, recently I did a street art/ flypostering project with Micah Purnell around Cardiff, and earlier this year I did the third science festival of my career, Amazed By Science in Cheshire. If I’m feeling poncey, I say my work places artists/organisations and audiences at risk of change through an encounter. Oh and I am a sometime consultant and facilitator.
How did you get started? I worked at the Edinburgh Fringe whilst I was a student at uni there – everything from tearing tickets and managing queues, to programming and venue-managing. I also did student shows with EUTC/ Bedlam as a producer too – our production of Miller’s All My Sons was selected for National Student Drama Festival and I was commended to join the National Student Drama Company. After university, I was taken on as a producer for Illyria, the UK’s leading outdoor touring theatre company. (How I really got started is actually something to do with Starlight Express, the 80s musical on rollerboots – dare to ask me.) I’ve been freelance/ running my own small agency since 2002.
 What work are you proudest of? I love working with the team at Jodrell Bank, the iconic Lovell radio telescope south of Manchester. I’ve been working with them on and off since 2007 – on Manchester Science Festival, on an orchestral world premiere called Wonder, and recently again on Amazed By Science. But my proudest moment was working to produce their science content for the gigs that Elbow and Paul Weller played there for Live From Jodrell Bank. It even won the “Extra-Festival Activity Award (for extreme creativity)” at the UK Festival Awards in 2012. More recently, I’m super proud to have been associated with Karol Cysewski’s work this summer at the Edinburgh Fringe; and also to have raised £33k myself for a new youth opera I’m going to be working on in 2015.
What’s been the most challenging? Too much to recount in detail (I’ve done more than 60 projects in over a decade), but much of it would involve breakdowns in communication, or badly managed expectations. I often tell people that the thing about freelance is that I very much thrive on the risk/ reward ratio (ie get it right, and I get the glory; get it wrong, and well, you know). I’ve had some really tough moments, but I’m glad I’ve had more that’ve gone my way than not.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone wanting to do what you do? Try, try and try again. Get some experience doing anything and everything around what you think you’d like to do just to see how it all works, or doesn’t. Make yourself available, ask questions, remember faces, names and companies, and above all, see LOTS of work.
What’s your ambition for theatre from Wales? To make work that connects artists to people and vice versa, and which illustrates something what it means to be fully human. I’m not sure that’s unique to Wales though!
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Meet The Producers #5: John Carey Williams – Producers Place October 11th

John Carey Williams – Producer at Theatr Iolo – will be involved in one of the break out sessions talking about Booking A Tour

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/producers-place-4-meet-the-producers-tickets-13151343021

Name  John Carey Williams
Age  29
How do you describe what you do? Everything but directing the show and performing in it (although these days I have a marvellous team who do far more of the work than I).
How did you get started? I started in the bar and box office at Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold (my home theatre) and worked my way up.
What work are you proudest of? I’m most proud of getting the money (£350k) for Theatr Iolo’s latest initiative, Momentwm,which will support emerging artists and producers in Wales. It’s funded by the Arts Council of Wales and the Esmeé Fairbairn Foundation, and has been a tough slog through many funding rounds.
What’s been the most challenging? When I started at Theatr Iolo, the landscape for the sector had changed overnight following the Arts Council of Wales’s Investment Review in 2010. The company’s traditional audience base had been sidelined and it was thrust for the first time into a cut-throat, competitive market. Realigning, restructuring and motivating the team was a real challenge, but I’m proud of what we’ve achieved.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone wanting to do what you do? Get anything (job, experience) you can get in the theatre and do it whole-heartedly. It’s a tough industry, and it’s important to be known.
What’s your ambition for theatre from Wales? For it to be better, and to place the audience experience more centrally.
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Meet the Producers #4: Sian Thomas – Producers Place October 11th

Sian is another of our guests on our panel discussion on October 11th at Chapter.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/producers-place-4-meet-the-producers-tickets-13151343021

Name Sian Thomas
Age 57
How do you describe what you do? I work with artists and attempt to make their vision a reality. I get them round, over and through the hurdles associated with making work in a budget restricted environment without compromising the quality and integrity of the work.
How did you get started? I began making theatre back in the early 1970’s at Llanover Hall, working with Mike Pearson who was my mentor/teacher, eventually forming a theatre company in 1974 that premiered with our version of Abelard and Heloise at the Sherman on my 17th birthday.

Fast forward past 30 odd years of national and international touring, making and teaching physical theatre, moving to live in Spain for 12 years (more creating and teaching) and a return to Wales in 1996.

Then there’s a gap of 9 years where I was a single mum and did lots of different jobs to pay the rent and put food on the table whilst staying in one place.

In 2006 I set up mes:a which was an artist collective, I was the Creative Producer for the 3 year pilot and worked with Marc Rees, Eddie Ladd and Sean Tuan John 3 very different artists with different needs and expectations. When the funding came to an end I continued to work with Marc.

What work are you proudest of? As an actress, my interpretation of Heiner Muller’s Medea Material with the Spanish theatre company La Tartana 1989-90

As a producer, Adain Avion, the Cultural Olympiad project in 2012 as winner of the Artists Taking the Lead commission with Marc Rees. The scale and complexity of the project was extraordinary and we were a very small delivery team.

What’s been the most challenging? As part of the Adain Avion project, getting my head around and adhering to the regulations set by LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) and the complexities of insuring such a large and high risk project.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone wanting to do what you do? Love your job, it’s too hard to do it without passion. Work closely and respectfully with the artist, listen to their needs and be firm with the budget. Take care of all of your team, happy people work harder! Always take a break after a big project.
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Meet The Producers #3: Michael Salmon – Producers Place Oct 11th

Michael Salmon is a guest on our panel discussion on October 11th at Chapter.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/producers-place-4-meet-the-producers-tickets-13151343021

Name Mike Salmon
Age 28
How do you describe what you do? Producer and Project Manager
How did you get started? I started in theatre administration back in 2008 when I joined the Sherman Theatre Company (now Sherman Cymru). After a brief stint working in feature film finance, I joined the newly created NTW as one of its founding members.
What work are you proudest of? My input into the foundation of NTW and the establishment of my own company Waking Exploits.
What’s been the most challenging? Working on aspirational projects with short lead-in times and small budgets (this is a positive challenge to have as a Producer and also a thrill!)
What’s the best piece of advice you could give someone wanting to do what you do? Do it, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. People will depend on you, and you need to be confident that you can deliver. People are always happy to help and share knowledge, so don’t be afraid to ask.
What’s your ambition for theatre from Wales? I have an ambition and passion to see the best work from Wales staged throughout the UK and internationally on a regular basis. We have a wealth of talent that we need to be proud of.
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