Your reports Find reports How do we free creative technicians from their so-called production roles? Is ensemble work the only answer? How do we free creative technicians from their so-called production roles? Is ensemble work the only answer? Convener(s): emma kelly Participants: dan marsden. Annette Rees(?), katerina pushkin, numerous nameless others! Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations: Participants represented technicians & directors from mainstream, established fringe (ie generally still using industry model of process re: technicians) & devising ensemble (ie/ technicians involved throughout process) abolish production roles! BUT you can be creative within the prescribed role of sound designer, lighting designer, etc how big is the gap between creativity & technical skill? There is no gap! Techies WANT to create theatre, but they’re not allowed to by ‘the system’ – are ASMs’ ideas listened to in Rep? of course not! a director says she believes the devising process is depressing WITHOUT technicians because few actors can compete with their sense of stage space, atmosphere, etc another director comes from film/documentaries, where DOP is god & technical team are absolutely central; since she moved into theatre she misses that essential communication with skilled technicians who can fulfil needs as they come up in rehearsal, eg/ creation of atmosphere Central school of speech&drama technical student says there are only 1 or 2 students in each strand of his course who value themselves as a creative part of the whole process. Ensemble devising SM/techie can’t understand how, if you’re passionate about theatre, you can be satisfied with seeing things wrong & not being able to change that because it’s “not your job” DEFINE CREATIVE TECHNICIAN: someone who wants to affect the production, have a part in the production, be part of the devising process BUT the role of a technician is already creative, they’re involved in the process & constantly evaluating that BUT THEY’RE NOT LISTENED TO! BUT directors don’t even listen to opposing viewpoints from the person in charge of that element , they don’t listen when the lighting designer disagrees with them about lights so they’d never let the lighting designer have a say in the sound design But that’s madness! How could it be possible for a production to come together if you DID work that collaboratively? an experienced freelance lighting designer is sceptical about the session question is there a way to democratise the process outside the ensemble, within something closer to the industry model? Can you listen without 16 voices shouting at once? IF WE HAD UNLIMITED RESOURCES & TIME THEN OF COURSE THE CAPACITY FOR MORE CREATIVE VOICES WOULD BE GREATER And can you make changes within the industry model? No, not without changing the system, the structure, practicalities, commercial needs – I’m glad to be able to rely on the skills inherent in techies who’ve “grown up” through that system I worked collaboratively in ensemble as a student, but it’s just not practical or feasible financially, in terms of rehearsal space, get-ins, salaries etc You could remove technician from the question entirely, as you’re talking about trying to be boundaryless! No, everybody has their special skills & thus main responsibilities, but they are expected to involve themselves in everything else, too You can’t do that without lots of time, and you need FUNDING to buy that time You need your own space, company, vision, drive, but even then there’ll always be a system in terms of financial & legals concerns and so on… Good models: complicite workshop process Robert lepage/exmachina’s 2wks on, 2months off process Most directors welcome technicians points of view but they’re not there before then One director says she doesn’t have a relationship with tech team before production week, and within a 3 week rehearsal process she wouldn’t want to! She’s in fringe theatre but EVERY level she’s worked at, from student to west-end, the directors have felt exactly the same – which is why the question’s interesting! Do mainstream directors ask techies, designers etc to do research, etc? No, not at all! For instance, a lighting designer working for a big broadway director only went to the read-thru & the tech! Generally in the industry, the set designer & the director are very close, with the lighting designer miles away, it’s like an isosceles triangle- Don’t the set designer & lighting designer collaborate? No, they don’t normally speak to each other. SEVERAL AGHAST YOUNG FACES! The Motley Design Course run by Alison Chitty lasts a year & doesn’t mention lighting once! I designed lights for a play at theatr clwyd & the whole process was in welsh aswell as the play – because I didn’t understand I didn’t even know what it was ABOUT! (to technical student) You’ve got to do something about this terrible situation! (student) “It’s driving me away from theatre to design-driven work: interactive exhibitions etc Could we make it more like a kite-shape than an isosceles, so lighting, set & sound designers have equal roles/place? director Lighting designer Set Designer Sound designer Top mainstream directors use a very small pool – always the same people, eg/ nick hytner only ever uses 3 different designers- Why?? He’s developed a shorthand with them That shorthand starts early when people are setting out on careers It’s happy coincidences A sound designer has worked with the same people over long periods of time & it’s easier He did a music science degree neither a creative or a theatre background Most of the technicians in our ensemble devising company don’t have theatre backgrounds either, come to think of it! Much of our construction is done by an ex-builder/labourer – it’s all transferable skills! I’m an experienced lighting designer in my mid-30s and I’m worried about my LACK of transferable skills! Directors don’t want to collaborate, they want yes men. I don’t! Is it unrealistic to ask a freelancer to give far more time & energy for the same fee? What would persuade you to work the far longer hours needed to collaborate, for the same standard wage? It comes down to availability. If I didn’t have other stuff on, I’d do it – but the longer the commitment, the less likely that is. Why can’t we be creative, collaborative, inventive, AND have a roof over our heads/food on the table? CONCLUSION: WE CAN’T. ENSEMBLE WORK IS THE ONLY ANSWER. UNLESS WE WIN THE LOTTERY.