As lockdown continues around the world in varying degrees of severity, the only things that seem to get traction on the news are scandal, disaster, and fluffy kittens. I am finding it impossible to get any traction on news about the invention of the CGO Institute inside lockdown, the recruitment of a Faculty of 20 global theatre leaders to teach, and the gathering from a standing start of 9 amazingly varied creative producers of the future.
I had one inspiring theatre marketing specialist sending around a first news story when we launched, and then one of Scotland’s best PR specialists doing a 2nd push to the media when we were awarded a grant from Creative Scotland to reach more divergent producers across Scotland in the 2nd wave of development of the DipCP. Nothing except, ‘not interesting enough to the public’, from the public facing media, and ‘we don’t cover education and new initiatives like this’ from the trade facing media. I’m used to it throughout my career – the press tends to only react after an invention has reached a certain level of attention. They don’t seem to ‘get it’ before it reaches a critical mass without press coverage.
So maybe the next thing to do is to ask each of my creative producers to invent a story of theatre, scandal, and fluffy cat pictures – sort of Blofeld the musical !
But I am the lucky one, I have a programme running, the faculty and cohort of producers are knee deep online each week looking at new ways to make theatre, tell stories, find funding, and be the future of the industry. They are reaching out to amazing mentors who are at the forefront of UK and International theatre. They are preparing their careers.
At the same time we are growing Producers’ Pool with a new gathering in Scotland to complement the more English/London UK & International division. These monthly meetings are about harnessing the ‘glass half full’ approach to this pandemic. SPAs (Self Producing Artists), producers, festival and venue managers desperate to get their spaces and programmes restarted, come together to ‘dream realistically’. The South West England division of Producers Pool is looking at how they can bring theatremakers together across the region. The Scottish division will for the first time seek to welcome producers of all artforms, traditional music, exhibitions, lyric arts, gigs, comedy as well as theatre and participatory arts. We all have much to gain from clinking our half-full glasses to the future, and finding ways to top up anyone in our midst who’s tea cup or wine glass is getting low.
Across the UK we are blessed to have this kind of informal collaborative networks. Talking with a producing colleague in other countries there are fewer ways to connect the successful with the aspiring, the ‘haves’ with the ‘have not yets’, the new ideas with the old school. Here we have things like the Diploma bringing creative leaders to learn from the new generation, and through Producers’ Pool bringing anyone into the room to share collective skills.
I will continue to drive CGO Institute and Producers’ Pool forward. I’m delighted now to be joined one day a week by Scotland based theatremaker Emily Ingram to work on the marketing and comms with me. I am so grateful for the hard slog and time of the marketing and press specialists who tried to get press interest before. For now we rely on word of mouth….and that has served CGO pretty well for 15 years of inventing.
Thank you for reading. Please spread the word
Applications are welcomed for the 2021 DipCP – email for application forms
Membership of Producers’ Pool is FREE to producers/programmers of other people’s work (a small charge for each meeting is levied)
And if you wonder what the fuss is about, and are an interested journalist (blog or paper) do get in touch with us.