Jake Orr, 24 January 2015

The basis of this discussion was about the role of the producer, the support, network

and need of producers today.

Current established networks:

Live Art Development Agency - a new network for Live Art producers is emerging,

speak to LADA to find out more.|

UK Theatre Producers - a Facebook group to share ideas, jobs and resources.

SOUPing - Brighton based group who work together to support their independent


Young Vic - Potential new producer's network is about to emerge similar to the

Director's Network.

Dance Producers Network - a formalised group for dance producers and managers.

North East Producers - a network for producers based in the North East.

Stage One - for commercial producers.

The discussion started by looking at the potential of a network for producers working in

the independent sector. The idea of a ‘central intelligence’ was recommend - a space

in which producers could share and have a network or hub for resources and ideas.

There was much debate about this, especially looking at the definition of a producer

and does a central network work when often a producer has so many roles and

special skills.

Creative producer vs producer

There was much discussion over the terms creative producer and generic producer.

The argument centered around the idea of a producer being creative, just as much as

the artist. As one person commented, “artists call themselves artists, but have difficult

artforms they work in. How is a creative producer any different to a producer?” The

discussion continued to look at how a producer and the term ‘producer’ needs to be

widened and stretched to fill the full remit of what a producer does.

Bedford Creative Arts

There is a new scheme which is looking at developing Associate Producers at Bedford

Creative Arts. The event is full, but is a pilot looking at skills and workshops for

creating an ongoing commitment with producers over a period of time.

Other topics discussed were; Are there too many producers? How do you call yourself

a producer? Does calling yourself a producer become a powerful tool or message to

others? How do artists and producers work together?

Is it essential that we define what a producer does? A question posed and discussed

with the group. At times people felt it was needed, we producer, we create, we do, but

others felt that the term needed to be fluid.

Sharing resources

There was much discussion on how we could potentially share resources. This could

be example contracts, databases, networks, basic documentation etc. Again LADA

producer group already share documents via Dropbox. The biggest concern with

sharing documents was how much or how little someone was willing to share. Would it

be open access or would it be on a case by case? One producer said they were

nervous about sharing their work with someone after the amount of time and energy

they have put into that piece of work/document. “People hire me for those skills, why

would I give it away online for free?” On the other hand some producers were really

keen to share everything, at times knowing that they would approach certain

producers with certain skill sets in order to get what they needed (or to resolve a



The idea of an official network with producers was voiced. This could potentially be a

network with a shared vision, with a membership base. Equally it could be a network

that is self-administrated.

Things producers want:

- The ability to chat to other producers

- Mentoring

- Collaboration

- General support

Culture of being afraid

There was much confession and discussion on a culture in which producers were

afraid to ask or speak out about things they did or didn't know. Or even on asking.

Why do we wrap ourselves in this culture, how do we get away from it?

How do you find a producer?

Discussion on speed dating vs dating vs marriage. The idea of the producer and artist

relationship being that of a marriage. We spoke at length about risk taking, and how

you have to build a relationship with a producer, to share risk and work. Producing and

working with artists is a slow, slow process. It doesn't happen first, but over a long

period of time. There was also concerns raised about the idea of a producer being the

one who only raises money and there being a power dynamic - the artist ruling more

than the producer.

Artists being told they need a producer

This seems to be a common thing that most producers experience. They have artists

approaching them saying that someone (perhaps a venue) told them they need a

producer, and then they look for it. The problem comes when artists may not be ready

or need a particular SKILL or SERVICE that can be found elsewhere (accounting,

marketing etc), which often a producer does (as part of a wider remit).

University courses and producers

Is it a good thing that there are now dedicated producer courses at universities? Does

it fuel a good working relationship or is it all a waste of money? Nothing was resolved

but two recent graduates from one of the courses made it clear that they did not feel

like they were producers when they left the course. They needed more experience

over a longer period of time “in the real world”.

Problems facing producers

The biggest problems facing producers is SUSTAINBILITY and, in general, like all

people working in the arts, FUNDING and SURVIVAL. These things are not easy, and

producers are no different.

Interesting to note that someone said that the producer is a very UK-thing. In

Germany, for example, a producer would be a production manager.


- Producers need to speak more, and there is an opportunity to engage in this.

- Producers should join the Facebook group for UK Theatre Producers (search for it

and request to join)

- Watch out for the launch of the new Young Vic producers' network.

- Informal coffee mornings should be set up

- Mentoring and help should be offered more.

- Producers need to chat!


Networks, Support, networks, Producers, Network, network, producers, support,

Producing, producing

Comments: 2

Amy Clare Tasker, 27 January 2015

Hi Producers!

Can you please link to the Facebook group you mentioned? nothing comes up when I search for UK Theatre Producers.



Jake Orr, 27 January 2015

The UK Theatre Producers group can be found here. Let me know if you struggle to access it.