Throughout lockdown it has been a pleasure to offer 24 two-hour workshops under the banner Producing-Proper Job-Honest (PPJH). Around 300 aspiring theatre professionals (or just curious minds) have gathered from their bedrooms and gardens across the UK as well as zooming in from Portugal, Korea, USA and many other lockdown locations. There are always two key themes – What is a Producer ? and What are the pathways into the profession ? We also explore any question which is bubbling in the room on that day – which could be raising investment, serving a community, ‘holding’ artists so they can fly, building a cv & personal brand, taking a show to a festival or understanding copyright. In two hours I hope to give a taster of all the things which anyone might want to learn more about.
I guess I am offering the TIC (tourist information centre) for the myriad attractions of being a producer. Some of the pathways are steep and rocky, some are more gentle, and some offer spectacular views from the top gallery of a packed theatre where your show is causing an audience to cheer. Along the way there are great places to meet fellow travellers, such as Producers’ Pool which I have had the privilege to run for the last 6 years. It’s a meeting place for producers to refresh themselves, learn about new destinations and then get back on the path.
My reason for setting up PPJH was purely selfish – whether meeting 30 shining lights at the National Student Drama Festival, or 20 young leaders from the Mousetrap Foundation, I am being fed with their energy and can-do attitude. To use the phrase from my last blog about artistic director and serial inventor Kris Stewart – to every question around “Can I?” the answer from me is always “Yes If”. The challenge for early career producers (and their fellow SPA travellers – self producing artists) is believing that they Can do it. They can make work differently. They can break down barriers and glass ceilings. They can take work to audiences who might traditionally not engage with the work presented in the past. They can find honest inspiring collaborators and mentors to help them on the way. And they (and we) can get through the last 2 years and once again be in rooms and spaces and parks and inspiring settings bringing music, drama, light and laughter into a sharing place.
I talk in all my PPJH events about four pathways – Print a business card and start; Get a job and learn inside; Go study a Masters; Or choose the new pathway of an online Diploma in Creative Producing. I talk about all the courses I know, and encourage anyone interested in the world to go and talk with peers about their pathway choices, their experiences of learning or doing. In these 2hr workshops we explore much more – and I hope that I will see many of my participants in theatres in the future. They may become producers, they may work onstage or backstage, they may be directors or designers or playwrights, or they may be part of the cheering crowd relishing the power of the arts.
Do come visit me at the TIC for producing…
Next Open Workshops (PPJH) are Mon 17th May 4-6pm, Fri 4th June 3-5pm, Mon 14th June 7-9pm and Fri 25th June 10-12noon (all UK time) Open to all https://buytickets.at/chrisgradyorg/516062
Or book a 2hr workshop for your University, Network, or peer group. Upcoming dates for me are a return visit to the amazing Mousetrap Foundation on Mon 7th June, an invitation from my old home at Mountview on Thur 3rd June and a workshop with the Scottish Refugee Festival on Fri 18th June. Do email me chris [at] chrisgrady [dot] org if you would like a date in the coming weeks.
And a quick PS – for the last few weeks my website has not automatically shared my blogs with subscribers. I think you have missed around 7 articles. Now, thanks to my old associate Tom and my digital hand holder Zooby, I am back up and running with a new ‘theme’. Still tidying up some of the pages. Thank you to them and to Emily Ingram and Joanna Morley who will be working with me in the coming weeks to bring PPJH to the creative producers of the future.