Why Do You Want to Be A Theatre Producer Anyway?

Firstly – an apology: posts for today and Monday are being exchanged because I haven’t had time since Tuesday to finish writing up the post about how the June Event went. So that’ll be up on Monday, and this is up a few days early! Hope you enjoy!

Reading this article, (which I linked in my post last week about getting a production internship, but it’s worth a reread!) reminded me why I want to be a Theatre Producer, which is a question a lot of people ask me.

Everyone has their prejudices – lots of student thesps are convinced anyone who wants to be a producer is in it for the money (spoiler, this is a terrible idea – if you want to earn lots of money, stay far away from the arts and go and work in a city office or as a lawyer), while my friends who want to work in the city think that I’m a failed actor, who wants to stay in the fringes of theatre (this is getting marginally closer, but still very wrong). Then, of course, many people just don’t know what a theatre producer does, but assume that it must be a weird thing to want to do…

To all those people, this is why I want to be theatre producer.

First and foremost, theatre is an incredibly wonderful medium for exploring questions and being at the heart of that is a thrilling, exciting and humbling experience.

Forget a whole blog post, I could write a whole book about how wonderful theatre is as a medium for raising questions and exploring human experience, and enabling a sense of common be created. I’ll limit myself to saying how much you can do with characters proposing a wide variety of understandable view points; as an audience try to understand characters, in order to understand the play, we also start trying to understand viewpoints different to our own, while identifying with experiences and emotions we share, leading to a greater willingness to understand others, and a stronger sense of community, which, hopefully, are extendable into the rest of the world, and our everyday experiences. This is, of course, true of all art: books, visual art, film… and all these art forms are also wonderful and valuable (I am, after all, doing a degree in reading books, and I think they’re pretty great!). However, I think the particular value of theatre is in it’s immediacy and it’s communal experience. Unlike a book, you have the whole experience in one uninterrupted flow and, unlike most of the forms mentioned, the experience of the art is communal. You share the experience with other audience members, and unlike a film, you also share it with the cast. It’s a wonderful space for exploring societal questions communally and developing that sense of humanity as a whole made up of different individuals sharing experiences and emotions.

You get to be involved in theatre projects from the start…

As a producer, professional and even student, you get to be involved in the projects exploring all these questions which need asking, or exploring human experience, right from the start. You can choose which projects you think are interesting, or valuable, or will bind a community together through shared appreciation of comedy, and spend your energy making those happen.

You can help develop the vision for every different element of a production, and share that vision with amazingly talented people who can make it happen! (I can occasionally visualise what sort of set I think would make a production the best it can be. But I’m in awe of set designers and builders, who can take mine and director’s ideas, and turn them into exquisitely detailed, huge sets.

You can follow and shape your projects…

Not only are you, as a producer, there from the beginning, but you are there throughout. You see and are involved in every step, to a greater or lesser extent. You hear everyone’s ideas about what could make the production even better, and you try to work out if it’s possible to incorporate them. You see the seed grow into a tree as it were, and you get to see the audience pick the fruit from it! It’s such a wonderful experience seeing an audience enjoy a play you’ve produced, and get what you wanted to explore from it…

I could write a lot more about all the amazing things which you get to do as a theatre producer, but I think I’ll just leave you with a quotation from the article I linked in my opening paragraph which resonated particularly strongly with me:

When you find something you really believe in, and it does work – then you will feel, as James Cameron so deftly put it – “on top of the world”…

I hope you enjoyed this little insight into my love for producing, and theatre in general! Keep your eyes peeled for my next posts – how the June Event went, and an update about my Edinburgh project this summer!

Emily xxx

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6 comments

  1. Love the James Cameron quote, Emily, although I think James Cagney said it, long before, in Public Enemy and, OK, he wasn’t talking about theatre production, but, hey, as a writer you get the best use out of what’s available, n’est-ce pas? I love your passion and conviction but you’ve left out the tough bits. I wish you the very best of luck. I’ve never trained to do anything but I worked as a journalist for 25 years, write and publish books. I’ve even made a short film – yep, writer, director, producer and I fed the crew and cast. I wrote a screenplay three months ago that someone in Toronto wants to stage before a live audience. And I do all this shit for the same reason as yourself, I believe, because I love it. Thanks for dropping by my blog. I’m going to follow yours.

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    • Thanks for the info about where the quote cane from – good to know! What would you say are the toughest bits? I’ve found a few things very difficult so far, but mostly I’ve loved every minute… And I think if people didn’t do it for the love they might tire of the more difficult aspects. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts, I’m really glad you enjoyed the post.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I produced my short film on a shoestring and that was borrowed. So, two professional actors, cameras, lighting, sound; keep everyone happy and involved. Getting all of them together for a 14 hour, one day shoot. Makeup, set design etc the day before the shoot, I fired the camera and sound, had to find replacements within 24 hours. Some people just didn’t turn up, no explanation, no warning, like stills photographer. Had to use my iPhone, another headache. You have to be very organised, very driven yet, and here’s the rub, very flexible, spontaneous and quick witted. You have to deal with people and all their attendant foibles. It is fun. And when it works out, the greatest feeling in the world. You can check out my short film on my WP site. Films, drop down menu. It’s called 1916, Souls of Freedom.

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  2. Emily.

    J’aime la manière dont tu nous fais partager ton enthousiasme.

    Merci pour tout.

    Grand-père.

    De : Emily Baycroft
    Envoyé : ‎vendredi‎ ‎17‎ ‎juin‎ ‎2016 ‎12‎:‎19
    À : gerard.anne@wanadoo.fr

    WordPress.com
    emilybaycroft posted: “Firstly – an apology: posts for today and Monday are being exchanged because I haven’t had time since Tuesday to finish writing up the post about how the June Event went. So that’ll be up on Monday, and this is up a few days early! Hope you enjoy! Readin”

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