We asked Steve how he had evolved from being a journalist and theatre reviewer to author? Steve told us that as a theatre reviewer, he had been fortunate enough to see a number of shows that had been directed and produced by Stephen Leatherland and he had consistently been impressed by the standard and quality of the production values. His company, Theatre Productions Limited, has an outstanding international reputation and is managed and staffed by a professional and passionate team who have a combined experience of over 100 years of producing first class musicals, plays, pantomimes, concerts and variety shows. They also take a keen interest in discovering, nurturing and developing new talent, which puts them at the cutting edge of the theatre world, so they seemed like the perfect choice. Steve sent the synopsis, character biographies and Act One off to Stephen and was delighted when he expressed his interest in producing the play.
When Stephen invited him to a meeting, at the company’s headquarters in South Derbyshire, Steve liked him immediately. One of the most important factors, for Steve, was finding someone who he felt he could trust and work with. As a new writer, he felt the need for someone with sound judgement, great business acumen, vast experience in the entertainment industry, as well as lots of patience to guide and advise him through every step of the way ahead. He knew that sounded like an extremely tall order, but he felt Stephen ticked every box and more. Steve had a really strong positive vibe after the meeting and, subsequently, when the contract was offered he had no hesitation in signing it. Steve enthused that everyone at Theatre Productions is totally committed and went on to tell us he fells Karie Musson, the Sales & Marketing Director, is probably the most dynamic businesswoman he has ever met; Sue Preston, the Press & Marketing Officer, is superb and Russell Goold, has an enviable reputation as one of the most skilled Technical Director’s in showbiz.
Also at every stage of the process, Steve is consulted and fully involved and therefore is sure the next few months will be very full, hugely enjoyable and extremely rewarding.
Although Steve admits to being cautious, taking one step at a time and has currently not started work on a follow up production. He admits he does not want to be seen to be trying to run before he can walk and would rather concentrate fully on this project than going off on a tangent and start the next. Because he is centrally involved with the continuing progress of ‘Dying for Fame’, he couldn’t contemplate attempting to churn out something else. Personally, I don’t think writing plays should be akin to the production line in a sausage factory.
Obviously, with this being his first play, Steve is keen to be instrumental and influential at each and every step of the way. One thing is for certain, he has clear and strong ideas about what each character should look and sound like, how the set should look and what the tone of the piece should be. Fortunately, Stephen Leatherland and Steve have discussed these, and many other issues, in great detail and share remarkably similar views, so immediately there is a great compatibility between the men. They have worked together so closely that Steve finds it inconceivable for one to progress the piece without the input of the other. He will be attending auditions, casting sessions and rehearsals, as the pair agreed from day one.
As a theatre reviewer himself we wondered how Steve thought he would react when the reviews started to come in? Steve rightly pointed out that it will greatly depend on what they say! But he added he has several really close friends who work in showbiz and never ever read reviews. They have advised him not to read the reviews at all but, he suspects his natural curiosity will get the better of him. He hopes the critics approach the play objectively and judge it on its merits. In Steve’s experience, most reviewers tend to enter the theatre auditorium without any pre-conceived ideas and they formulate their critique based on what unfolds before them.
However, he is learning that there are some people in the entertainment industry who are only ever happy when they are raining on somebody else's parade. It's a competitive, dog-eat-dog industry and, perhaps, some people may see this as a golden opportunity to wreak their revenge upon me for something he may have said about them in one of my reviews. At the end of the day, though, he knows there's nothing I can do about that. Steve added that, to be realistic, any writer has to accept that their work will not be everyone’s cup of tea – after all, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.
As soon as we have further details about Dying for Fame playing in our area we will make them available.