Looking for trainee unicorns

Each week, until November, I intend to use my blog to chart the development of the CGO Institute from the idea (Sat 28 March 2020), through launch at the virtual NSDF Conference (Sun 5th April – see blog Launch into the clouds) and onward to the arrival of the first cohort in the cloud on 2nd November 2020.  That’s the plan. It is a selfish practice, to help me see the progress I am making, and hopefully a helpful one to generate thoughts and discussion about the course and the world we are preparing for.

Today, Easter Saturday, week 3 I think of Lockdown in the UK, I am sitting looking out at a deserted Blackness-on-Sea Square, a locked down village pub and shop, and a low tide empty beach. It is a strange time to predict a new world.  But I hope that the planned Diploma in Creative Producing will come at the right time for a re-emergence of creative practitioners across the Globe.

The producer Josh Foyster described producers as unicorns – he suggested that every creative practitioner, company or theatremaker is looking for one to help them realise their project. This was reported by Lyn Gardner, one of the UKs most respected critics and commentators in The Stage, and discussion followed.  I have enjoyed finding images of unicorns to pepper my website.

Immediately following my talk ‘Producing, Proper Job, Honest’ for the NSDF I had three enquiries for places. Each are now preparing their short assignment/application to be considered for a place. The instant response was exciting – but I have to remember that there is a heavy slog now to Base Camp.

This week I completed the gathering of the first 20 Faculty Members who will be with us as we start the Diploma. Most are now up on the website allowing potential participants in the course to see the diverse people who will be guiding me, and them, through the first 16 week course.  Everyone I asked to join said yes. That was my second of many excitements of the week.  Thank you to all of them spread across Scotland, England, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia and the USA.

And then I had tea with the marketing and digital experts Emma Martin (UK) and Ellen Burgin (UK/Australia) – at the Zoom Coffee Shop, bring your own cake or easter egg in one case !!  They put me through my paces to explore how best to use the Facebook and Twitter platforms to amplify the message about this course.  My challenge is, from a standing start, and without being affiliated to a massive University or funded machine, to make a noise in the ears of the exactly the right people.  Maybe you can help…

  1. There’s a Press Release – please shout if you would like to write about it.
  2. Are you part of a network where there might be theatre/arts folk who could be interested to share the word – here’s some pages on the website.
  3. Are you rich in creative friends on your facebook or twitter platforms. Could you help to amplify the message.  Here’s the facebook page for you to Like and talk on…1 day old and being built slowly with loving care by Emme and Ellen.

My fascinating and slow work this week has been to choose one country and to focus on who I already know there who could reach out to the theatre/arts community, or help me find aspiring producers who might want to study.  I have started with Brazil, moved to Korea and India. A few contacts who may have time to connect me with more people. Maybe you know someone I should know.

Next week Russia, USA and China.  I have been so lucky to have had a really helpful response from a lead player in the ITI (International Theatre Institute) and the British Council who have pointed me to bureau chiefs or lead officers in each of these and other countries.  Step by step I reach out to them.

I have to be patient. I have to be steady in the work. I need to find a wonderful group of 6 practitioners to make sure the course runs in November, and we will be delighted with 10-12 if that happens.   If you are a reader of this Blog and you are isolated and locked down, with a moment on your hands. Please have a read of my vision of the Diploma on the website, and wonder whether there is any group I could talk to by Zoom or individual I should know.  Thank you.

But now. It is Easter Saturday and I’m treating myself to Brunch, and being a good citizen and washing the car.  The sun is shining. The Saltire is flying outside the pub. The rooks are going about their business of nesting. Nature goes on.  Stay safe to one and all this week.

Thank you for reading

Chris  

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