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Accessibility and training: young producers on the difficulties of making it

As the Tricycle Takeover begins, we talk to three of the young producers involved on their work on the scheme and how hard it is to get into the business

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The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn is currently undergoing a capital redevelopment, but that doesn't necessarily mean work there has stopped. As well as the theatre's upcoming co-production with the National Theatre of Francis Turnly's play The Great Wave - directed by Indhu Rubasingham - the theatre's community work continues. Tricycle Takeover is a programme where young aspiring theatre makers take over the running and programming of the theatre, connecting with the wider community through events, talks and performances. Here we talk to three of the young producers taking part in the programme about their work on the scheme and how hard it is to make it in the business.

Samara Roach-Keiler
© Mark Douet

Name: Samara Roach-Keiler
Age: 18

What exactly are you working on as part of part of this year's Tricycle Takeover?
I have produced a series of events and workshops to go with the Wembley Young Company's new play The Invisible Boy at the Yellow Pavilion centre. These include a Culture Clash event, two Q&As (one including the Tricycle's Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham) and a puppetry workshop.

What made you want to get involved?
I've always had the desire to be involved in the theatre industry, after growing up on musicals and being a part of school productions. I was also excited by the prospect of serving the creative needs of young people in my community. I've lived in Brent my entire life, but have never seen an event on the scale of Takeover before - I had to make sure that I was involved!

What do you see as the main challenges in becoming a producer today?
The accessibility to trainee roles and jobs. After being a part of this project, I've seen that there is quite a lot out there for people to do, however it can be hard to find a place to start by yourself if you are a novice to the industry.

What have been the biggest challenges on this project?
Getting the general public of Brent to respond and take part has been challenging at times! However I think that the way the Takeover programme has been put together, with events taking place in six different community venues has meant that we've reached groups of people who wouldn't usually in the arts.

What do you think is one of the main issues with theatre today?
Theatre is still primarily marketed towards those who are already ‘in the loop'. Hopefully, smaller theatres can extend their reach into the communities they serve, as I believe that they need to be championed as centres of culture and a way into the industry. For many, the prices of larger theatres in the West End are prohibitive, so it's crucial that people, especially in areas like Brent are informed of the latest production or work experience opportunity.


Sam Luffman
© Mark Douet

Name: Sam Luffman
Age: 24

What exactly are you working on as part of this year's Tricycle Takeover?
I have programmed two Masterclasses - a Film in a Day workshop with TEA Films where participants shoot and edit a short film that will then be screened in the cinema space. The second is a Stage Combat Masterclass with True Edge. I'm also working with the Tricycle's Community Company on their performance We, Too, Are Giants, a piece of new writing written by Chino Odimba especially for Takeover. I've also have been given the task of programming the cinema space, with films on the theme of community. Which includes a Hairspray sing-a-long!

What made you want to get involved?
It's an exciting opportunity to work with a theatre which is passionate about bringing 'unheard voices to the mainstream'. I was particularly drawn to this year's Takeover as it has a focus on community and taking work beyond the venue, engaging with young people who may not have had access to the arts before and taking work out into the community of Brent.

What do you see as the main challenges in becoming a producer today?
The lack of free training opportunities and routes into the vocation. With significant cuts to the arts at present it is increasingly hard to find opportunities like Tricycle's Takeover, which allows young people to take ownership in producing for a professional theatre.

What have been the biggest challenges working on this project?
The reduced footfall into the Tricycle's building during the theatre's refurbishment has meant we've had to work extra hard to promote Takeover to audiences. In some ways this has been a great challenge, as its given us the opportunity to take work out to the community and across Brent and focus on people who may have never visited Tricycle before.

What do you think is one of the main issues with theatre today?
Funding cuts! Due to the funding pressures, theatres and artists are missing out on producing more creative work that takes risks and challenges their audiences. Theatres are being pressured into programming work that is commercially successful to bring audiences in.


Simon Paris
© Mark Douet

Name: Simon Paris
Age: 23

What exactly are you working on as part of this year's Tricycle Takeover?
The Minding The Gap Young Company, as well as producing the Produce a Track in a Day Workshop and Comedy for Beginners workshop.

What made you want to get involved?
I wanted to learn about producing in a large company and finding out the challenges and obstacles that are involved and how to overcome them.

What do you see as the main challenges in becoming a producer today?
Having to commit to some things when others are uncertain. For example, it's nerve-wracking booking a venue without having all the funding fully secured yet.

What have been the biggest challenges working this project?
Figuring out the target audience, then developing the events that would be suitable and offering something for our target audience to gain.

What do you think is one of the main issues with theatre today?
That funding for funding for subsidised theatres is such a gamble, that theatre isn't created on a open basis, it's whether or not you win the gamble (or have a wealthy background).

Tricycle Takeover runs until April 13. For more information head to the theatre's website.

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