What might happen to CGO Institute when I retire ?

When lockdown happened in March 2020 everything planned in my creative life disappeared, as it did for millions of freelancers everywhere.  As someone never short of an idea or ten, I invented my own training world and programmes using a new fangled toy to most of us, Zoom.  Over 4 years I have run 50+ 2-3hr workshops entitled Producing Proper Job Honest, 4 x 16 week Diplomas in Creative Producing with folk now getting great jobs around the UK and world, 2 x 5 week Essential Creative Producing courses (with one more planned in June) and we have kept Producers’ Pool running in a hybrid form monthly throughout the lockdown years.

But as I gently contemplate the R word, with some pleasure and a few quiet new ideas, I wonder whether to wrap up the CGO Institute at the end of this year, or whether there is another way forward.

So this Blog is to quietly put it out there that I would love to see whether anyone might be interested in taking the ‘goodwill’ with the accumulated lessons and structures, and doing something useful with it all.

I’m not looking for lovely friends to give me advice. My own head has plenty of voices exploring different options and I don’t need any more really. But I am interested to hear from any individual who might like to lead a suite of training programmes.

Who might you be ?:

Here are a couple of character profiles with imagined names and experience – just as we explore when planning marketing and fundraising plans.

Jo (33) – They have been a freelancer and have an array of subsidised and small commercial projects under their belt as a producer. They are interested in having a couple of steady projects to nurture and grow over the long term, and have always loved inspiring and being challenged by the next generation.  Generous in time and skill sharing, they would like something taking 2-3 days a week in times of running the programmes and 1-2 days a week of short projects and growing the business.  They need flexible hours but like some key routine focus.  They are especially keen to grow their awareness of international theatremakers and projects, relishing working with new producers from around the world. They can see how to make CGO Institute financially supportive for them.

Sam (48) – Sam’s a writer and self-producing artist and has recently been involved in a project with new producers exploring the shifts in cultural, economic and ecological landscape.  Although their work has been in one area of the arts they have a passion for the broadest use of theatre and the performing arts to make a difference in the world. They are young at heart but realise the future of theatremaking needs new voices and new models for the future.  Years ago they did an MA and enjoyed the rigour of self study and group explorations with fellow students.  Sam is particularly interested in seeing how the CGO Institute has sought to complement the existing MA provision and make it accessible to those who need to be supported in confidence to be the entrepreneurs of the future.

Are you like Sam or Jo or completely different but would like to explore doing something to empower future theatremakers.

I had a lovely email last night from Cheryl who completed our Essential Creative Producing course last week:

I found the CGO Producer Course incredible.  There was so much information packed into the 5 week’s that it catapulted my theatre career from stagnancy to vibrancy within this short window of time.  Chris is incredibly generous with his ideas, encouragement, sharing his wealth of knowledge and inviting you into his world.  I came to the course wanting to learn about producing for my plays, I left with a greater vision, hope and a wonderful creative community.  Thank you so much.  This was a game changer for my career.

I would love to read comments like that in a few years time from people who have experienced CGO Institute (or whatever its new name might be) – and the quote is only different because it has Jo, Sam or your name in it.

I’m off to Devoted and Disgruntled in Leeds this weekend.  I wonder whether I will meet the CGO Institute director of the future.  Do come and say hello.

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