I’m now a few weeks in to my time working on ON THE EDGE and having a fantastic time. My role is interesting in that it is in two parts- I am part of the REP team, based in the Learning and Participation office but my role is Assistant Producer of the ON THE EDGE festival, so I am primarily working with Producer, Thomas Wildish, and TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) UK and Ireland on festival planning. The festival will see up to twenty of the best shows for young audiences from all over the world descend on venues across Birmingham from 2nd- 9th July 2016. There will also be symposia activities – workshops, papers, lectures and such – open to theatre makers, academics, programmers and other delegates, the Next Generation programme which will provide a platform for emerging theatre makers, a Welcome programme to facilitate networking and socialising and a Learning programme to link local schools with international companies. This, as I’m sure you can imagine, takes a lot of planning, funding and publicity, which are all things I’m working on right now.
The festival is a joint venture for TYA UK and TYA Ireland and it’s the first time the festival has been hosted in the UK, so it’s a really exciting time for everyone involved in the Theatre for Young Audiences sector and it’s important as many voices are heard as possible. This has meant Tom and I have been hitting the road (railways…) to talk to TYA members and engage in discussions with advisory committees and steering groups. Notable highlights have been a trip to Durham to present at TakeOff Festival where we also got to see El Patio Teatro’s A Mano, and yesterday’s visit to Dublin, where Tom spoke at the TYA Ireland gathering at The Ark about all things ON THE EDGE.
Beautiful morning in Dublin after a very early flight…
Networking events and trips to the theatre aside, my tasks days to day include full responsibility for social media marketing and email campaigns, acting as the primary point of contact for companies and other interested parties, completing funding applications, compiling technical specifications and company requirements, drawing up briefs for our upcoming website overhaul and taking minutes for meetings. There are often slightly more ‘unique’ tasks too, such as trying to track down prominent figures for opening ceremonies, wandering the city to take arty promotional photos, translating tech riders from French to English (and making wild guesses at German) and participating in workshops with creativity in education practitioners. As much of a cliché as it sounds, every day is different, and even more so for being based at Birmingham REP. On a lunch break last week I befriended Mr Tumnus and another day I was chased down the scenic corridor by a cast member test-driving her prototype giant costume – having The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in rehearsal is proving an endless source of fun. I’ve also had the chance to attend a number of press nights including Anita and Me, Orpheus and Rambert’s Rooster.
I’m really excited about how the festival is shaping up – we’ll be ready to announce the programme by the end of the month and I feel incredibly lucky to be part of something as huge and exciting as ON THE EDGE 2016. I’m learning huge amounts about being a Producer both through my own work and through working so closely with Tom and I’m thoroughly enjoying being part of the utterly wonderful and ever-so-slightly crazy REP L&P team.
Until next time!