While on the course, I had started to get a taster of producing, thanks to a second year placement arranged by TFTV with Company of Angels (now Boundless Theatre) and York Theatre Royal, and I was offered another placement in London after this. I started to really focus on producing from there and decided to do a Masters degree. I was accepted into Mountview Academy of Theatre while finishing third year and went straight there after my BA to complete a MA in Creative Producing.
While on my MA I made sure to keep up my freelance work and produced on the fringe, worked in marketing and worked for an agent! I kept trying lots of different things that fell into the producing realm. I also toured a production to Ireland and London with some other York graduates from my year. After I finished my MA I spent 9 months as an assistant creative producer of both the Millfield Theatre and the Dugdale Centre. It was great to learn the basics of how venues work and no day was the same.
I’m now the Associate Producer of Gerry's at Theatre Royal Stratford East (TRSE) which is the Studio space and the live events space attached to the cafe/bar. It means I get to programme the studio and produce events for the cafe which is amazing and I do a lot of artist mentoring, helping them to get the most out of their time at TRSE. It's really fulfilling and such a great place to be a part of.
I’m also still freelancing as a producer for a cabaret troupe called Pecs Drag Kings, we have done many a sold out show around London and have our biggest show yet coming up at Soho Theatre.
The balance between practical production and analysing theatre practice prepares you really well for the industry.
Something I often notice about York students who have come from TFTV is the breadth of core knowledge we have. While everyone ends up specialising, I would say the balance between practical production and analysing theatre practice prepares you really well for the industry. Theatre is an industry of people, and it helps so much if you can communicate on the same level as a stage manager, technician, director, actor, producer etc, even if that’s not your speciality.
It’s that grounding that helps you turn your hand to any skill in the theatre, and as long as you work hard, you’ll quickly accumulate professional work.
The ducks! No… I remember coming to the open day and just being so impressed by the facilities. You get to train in the best rooms, with the best equipment - there are very few places both university and in the industry with as nice facilities as you will find at TFTV.
Do it! You will learn a lot and be challenged, but that is a good thing. The course is also ever-evolving; TFTV is a department that really listen to their students and tries to help them succeed as long as they’re willing to give everything a try and work hard.
You will have so many opportunities at your feet as soon as you walk through the door, within a beautiful building and with top class staff. The training you will receive is some of the best in the country. You also work so closely with your fellow peers that you end up making lifelong friends and collaborators. I’m still working with people I met at York, and often recommend people for jobs.
I have so many! I think a truly proud moment was when we were working on our final year productions. I was production managing Playhouse Creatures and we had a really ambitious set which included these 6m high flats that we had to wheel in and brace to the back mezzanine. We also had a floor made of real coconut husk…a broken mirror…meat hooks…a chandelier that was lifted from the ground; my risk assessment was 10 pages long! We had no idea if it was going to work, but when we saw the first full run through it was truly beautiful and I’m still proud of that show to this day. That was a time when we all worked in complete unison as a team to create something brilliant.
Also there was the time where the entire year just suddenly burst into a chorus of “Do You Hear the People Sing” without warning. That was good.