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:

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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