Yesterday I officially sent digital certificates to 9 aspiring producers confirming that they have been awarded the CGO Institute Diploma in Creative Producing. They are the first of the CGO diplomats to go forth into the world. And on the same day I had a pre-course meeting with the next 9 producers who will start their 16 week course on 12th April.
I was told yesterday by New York/Broadway marketing guru and serial inventor, Susan Lee, that to do something once is a miracle. To do it twice is a trend, and to do it three times is a tradition. So the first 9 are the miracle producers of the future. The next nine will be trend setters. I am now starting to recuit those who will be part of the CGO tradition.
Reflecting on the 18 – we have producers from the USA, Scotland, the Netherlands, Cornwall, England, Italy, Estonia and Malaysia. Their specialist passions cover Musical Theatre; Intersectional work exploring race, sexuality and gender; New writing and political theatre; Work for young people 16-25; Work to enrich and engage with inner city communities; Dance/Movement focussed multidisciplinary theatre; Comedy; Live Art; Verbatim theatre; Live Events/Festivals and Physical Theatre. They are taught by a Faculty of 25 practitioner experts in their individual fields – and we all learn from them as the seminar/workshop based Zoom sessions progress.
Every producer has a mentor that we choose with them, to help guide them on their path. Some are balancing this course with lockdown parenting, producing shows for 2022, working within recognised theatre companies in the UK, and balancing this Diploma with another degree programme in a different field. The advice from one of the first cohort to the new arrivals was rather wonderful “Be realistic (with your time), this course will live with you forever”.
What is rather wonderful about the two cohorts is the range of ‘lived experience’ they bring into the room from diverse cultural heritage, geographic & societal background, age and experience, lived and learned knowledge. Some have known from childhood that they were born to be producers, others have successful careers in other artistic fields and are now bringing focussed attention to the role of the Creative Producer. It is a pleasure to get to know them, and to hear their plans for new shows and new ways of working for 2022 and beyond.
My last Blog highlighted the ShowMe festival of workshops which Emily Ingram and I have pulled together with an amazing array of speakers. This is offering useful nuggets of the rich deeper work which we do with the Producers in the DipCP. It is designed for Self Producing Artists (SPAs) across Scotland (thanks to Creative Scotland) and beyond (thanks to the cloud). Alongside these I continue to run 2 Producers’ Pool events a month – one for Scottish practitioners (1st Wed of the month) and one for UK & International practitioners (last Wed of the month). Lockdown seems to be giving me new energies for making stuff happen. Full list here
Much of the success of attracting interest in these programmes has come from the series of workshops I offer to individuals and groups called Producing – Proper Job – Honest. (PPJH) The first was at the National Student Drama Festival in April 2020 when I launched the DipCP programme idea. Since then I have done 19 cloud-based workshops for producers from St Andrews in the north to Porto in the South. Thanks to Artistic Director Jamie Phillips, I am back at the NSDF on 1st April . his is followed by the University of Portsmouth on Fri 2nd and an open one as part of ShowMe on Sunday 25th April (book here) PPJH offer me the chance to meet the broadest possible spectrum of interested students and aspiring professionals. I make a point of giving information on all the pathways which a producer could take, including Nick Hennegan’s theatre Diploma and the long established courses at Mountview and Central. Hopefully this helps give everyone I meet the chance to research different training, and to consider non-training pathways too.
The 1st cohort of DipCP have now launched The Fifth Producer – a collective managed website which aims to offer resources and opportunities for early career producers. The 9 of them have such different aspirations, that they will be a great holding ground for many many different ideas. They are already building information which can be shared, and hosting gatherings for producers. This is a great initiative, and I wish them all well. I can’t wait to be sitting in live performance space soon and seeing one of their shows as one of a suitably excited paying audience. The landscape of theatre and the arts will (and must) be different in the future. These first 9 Diplomats will make sure of that. And you can sign up for their collective Newsletter here
If anyone reading this would like to know how to become part of the third cohort of the DipCP starting in November 2021, about the PPJH workshops, or any of the future programmes for the CGO Institute – just get in touch.