Changing the world – one producer at a time

The world is a troubled place and there are many stories that need to be told and need to be heard. I am hopeful that some leaders get the need for the arts. In sharing an article about New Zealand’s arts recovery boost I wrote – The arts heals, the arts enriches life, the arts educates, the arts gives employment, the arts boosts community, regional and national economy, and artists pay taxes and generate revenue for the treasury. But in the UK overall the arts are seen as a drain, a luxury, almost an annoyance, and not a vote catcher.

I am preaching to the choir. And I worry that the arts is still, too often, preaching to the same community. In creating the Diploma in Creative Producing, and trying to nurture the next generation of inventors, employers and enablers I want to feel they can change the world. That they can make the stories which flow from their good hearts, and reach the un-expected ears of those who need the stories, and need to feel healed and enriched by those stories.

I have a problem. I am a white, middle class, privileged male who has spent 40 years working with other privileged folk supported at times by government funding, or held safely within the ‘club’ of a venue or a big producer or an educational institution. I am not a world changer, but with your help, I may be an enabler of others to understand the tools and the rules (which they can then break and find better ones), and fashion new theatre for new audiences.

As Erica Whyman said in the Stage last week “We have an extraordinary theatre culture, battered by underfunding and riven with inequality, but also bursting with ingenuity, skill, mischief and profound engagement with and respect for our audiences. In recent years – too late too slow – we have fought for much-needed diversity in who makes and leads work, and these gains must not be lost

May I ask for your help. I want to feel that by the time we have run 2-3 courses of the Diploma, that the alumnae reflect the true diversity of the population of the UK and that enough of them are out there making stories and reaching diverse communities that we will never again be too late or too slow in making change.

In years to come no-one will doubt Lyn Gardner’s assertion that their “real purpose is to work for and with the widest possible range of people. Like a spider’s web, the theatre organisations that are strongest and most necessary are the stickiest – those that gather, support and work with the most people around them” Help me to find producers of the future who will not let any communities slip through the web, using ingenuity, skill and mischief to reach a place where the arts is seen to be a vital part of the rebuilding of our countries and a true healer.

Please help me by being an amplifier of this aspiration. Here is a message you might consider passing on through your networks. Thank you, hopefully.

Applications are now open, and places being awarded, for the first cloud-based Diploma in Creative Producing from the CGO Institute. A new way to study deeply the tools and the rules of producing, whilst balancing life or starting your own business. Ideal for a new entrant into the business or someone shifting/returning to the arts with a passion for making a change they want to see in the world, one show at a time. A 16-week course from Nov 2nd. Maximum 14 Scottish, UK and International students led in classes, seminars and tutorials by experienced current practitioners from UK, US, Australia, Singapore and Saudi Arabia

“We want to do everything we can to ensure that the participants in the first few cohorts on the Diploma really reflect and champion the diversity of the UK population, and take up the challenge to replicate that diversity in the stories they help to bring to the stage and the audience they attract into the theatres and spaces we perform in. How will theatre be different post-covid? Join us and think about a new future in which you will be the inventor, employer and enabler of theatre and the performing arts.” Chris Grady / CGO Institute

“The course is vital in the current state of the world today, to act as guiding lights for artists who have ideas that can impact change… Producers support artists in charting journeys and pathways to realise stories that are yet to be told and to offer reflection to the world” Mohamad Shaifulbahri / Joint Artistic Director, Bhumi Collective / Singapore & UK)

If you have a moment to cut and paste this, share it with any networks that you have, I would be most grateful. In teaching marketing 101 I talk of reaching out to your ‘Christmas Card List’ for help – that is what I am now doing. Help me reach people and communities I don’t know where the world-changers may be wondering what the pathways might be to becoming a theatremaker or producer and shaking up this old world of ours.


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