Got this by e-mail from a Wales-based producer who isn’t able to come to the Open Space on the 19th….
“I think it’s great that somebody is asking this question!
I was once told that all producers are actually ex-performers who have realised that they are better at producing than performing. This annoys me. I think the role of the Producer should be as dynamic and hold as much potential for change through the projects they deliver as the artists they are working with. Otherwise they begin a process of facilitation not collaboration, which brings me to the next point
I hear Producers being talked about as ‘arts administrators’. And I hate this, and the image it provides. Personal POV
There is a lack of producers in all art forms across the country. This is a fact. We shouldn’t feel alone in this situation in Wales.
Arts Organisations have been supporting the development of Directors, Writers and Artists for some time. The producer has not received the same treatment, I feel that this is going to change in the near-ish future, but the effects won’t be felt for a long time, unless we do something about it to speed up the process. That opportunity is in our hands.
I feel that part of the problem is that many artists won’t have had the opportunity to work with an effective producer and therefore demonstrate need for development of the role. There are likely many reasons for this (funding being one) but the point is that if the role of the producer is not truly recognised (and by recognised I think I mean given space to have impact due to many factors) then it is unlikely to be truly valued. And then we will continue to find ourselves in a situation where Producers are called upon to book the tour and in some cases bring in the cash. Of course – because there isn’t anywhere to go and learn how to ‘be a producer’ – it doesn’t help so those out there currently doing it have had to find a way to make it happen.
I have always thought of a producer as someone who is able to capitalise on opportunities, be the conduit between artists and audience/ artists and venues and see the bigger picture. There are some interesting models outside of the one-on-one format– Theatre Bristol is of course quite an established one but they really seem to be working well with that community of artists in a productive way. Is there space in Cardiff for the same or similar?
I guess this also begs the question, ‘where are all the people who want to be producers?’