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Year of the Producer Blog: Final Reflections

Inspired by our adoption of Stage One as the charity for the 2012 Whatsonstage.com Awards, we’re declaring this the “Year of the Producer” on Whatsonstage.com, and are running a 12-month editorial series of interviews, blogs and other features to give theatregoers a greater understanding of the crucial role of the producer and an insight into the people who put on the shows they love.

In this blog post, Stage One apprentice producer Mill Goble, who's coming to the end of a six-month placement with Seabright Productions, reflects on her experiences on the scheme.

As I approach the final week of my Stage One Apprenticeship, I’m starting to reflect on the amazing experiences I’ve had along the way. This time last year I was being plunged into the deep end with literally a few days between starting my placement and helping to run the Ghost The Musical press launch at Abbey Road Studios. Now I find myself as the General Manager for the Terror 2011 season at Soho Theatre, which today has been nominated for an Off West End Award for Best Entertainment.

Prior to my apprenticeship I’d produced various small fringe shows in London, Edinburgh, and the South East, but the sheer scale of the productions I’ve worked on over the last year has been incredible. Whilst working for Colin Ingram Ltd on Ghost, one of my tasks was to co-ordinate travel and accommodation logistics for the entire company for the previews at the Manchester Opera House, including booking over 200 hotel rooms – no mean feat when the requirements would change on an almost daily basis.

At Seabright Productions, we took 12 shows to the Edinburgh Fringe, including Steven Berkoff’s Oedipus, Potted Potter, Hardeep Singh Kohli’s Chat Masala, and Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, and I was given responsibility for the general management of two of the shows – Cabaret Whore: More! More! More! and The Fitzrovia Radio Hour.

Upon my return to London, I’ve spent the vast majority of my time working on the Terror season, and it’s been a great experience to have such a hugely collaborative show entrusted to my management. Having worked with several of the show’s collaborators in Edinburgh, I knew they’d be a fantastic team to work with on the show, and they really have been very supportive. It’s been a very intense process, and many of us have worked long hours and extra days to bring the piece to the stage. I’ve compiled scripts and programmes, become extremely familiar with health and safety legislation, recruited a special effects consultant, assisted with marketing campaigns, worked with our press agents on press releases and the organisation of the photo call, written copy for flyers and posters, and even sourced props and costumes.

With an artistic director, two play directors, two cabaret directors, and five playwrights, the creative team have brought a variety of different perspectives to the show and its themes, and the production crew have worked tirelessly to achieve everyone’s visions. Producing the show in the brand new Downstairs cabaret space at Soho Theatre has had its challenges, as the performances take place all around the audience, including the bar area and the back of the auditorium, and some of our effects have made unusual demands on the venue. However, with a bit of ingenuity and ‘thinking outside the box’, we’ve created an immersive atmosphere and placed our audience in the centre of the action.

When Terror ends at the end of next week, so does my apprenticeship contract. I hope to start my own commercial producing company, and the past year with my mentors has certainly given me the confidence, and the networking opportunities, for me to be able to take this next step in my career. I already have a long list of ideas and some productions already in the pipeline, and I have no doubt that Stage One will continue to support me over the following years to achieve my ambitions.

For more information about Year of the Producer, and the producers taking part, click here.


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