What does working in production involve?
A lot of people think that producing is just about the money side of things, because you do have to put together a budget, and that is a large part of the role. You have to get the money and decide how to distribute it between set, costume and venue. But there is also an element of logistics, setting up meetings and making sure that everyone in your crew knows what they are doing and getting on with the tasks. It can be creative as well: you need to work out what you want to do versus what is possible, and you have to get around budget problems. I enjoy seeing something through from the very beginning to the end product.
Which shows have you been involved in?
Last year I produced Thark, Pripyat, and The Weir and I production managed for A Christmas Carol which was a non-student production. I was also the co-producer on XX which we took to Edinburgh Fringe!
How do you secure funding for a production?
There are a few different funding bodies, some of which are specifically for student drama. So you have to put together a bid, which includes mini biographies of your team, your vision for the show, some set designs, and why it is financially and logistically viable. You bid for a venue and you’re in competition with other shows, and once you’ve got it, you send your document to the funding bodies and ask them for money.
What’s difficult about your role?
Being the person that says ‘no’. Directors sometimes have outlandish ideas, and you just have to say ‘that’s not going to be feasible’ or ‘we can’t afford that’. Which is really hard to do, especially when you think that it’s a good idea! You have to be the realistic one. For example I’m part of a theatre company called ‘Poltergeist Theatre’ which I set up with Jack Bradfield. He’s a great director, but he’s definitely someone that I have to rein in… (laughs)
What did you expect when you started producing?
I started accidentally so wasn’t expecting all that much. I underestimated how close you get with your cast and crew. You become such a team because you spend so much time rehearsing together and everyone feels so proud of the end product.
Is there anything you are currently producing which we should look out for?
Much Ado About Nothing in 7th week of Michaelmas. There will be a Christmassy feel to it. We are focusing a lot on what the characters see and what they misunderstand, which is where a lot of the comedy comes from. We also have some surprises instore with the set which I won’t divulge now – it’s going to be very exciting!
Do you have any advice for people wanting to get involved with drama?
People shouldn’t be put off by how insular it seems. People look at the drama people as separate, but they’re all nice people and you should get stuck in if you’re interested!