“The role of a producer is quite an interesting one, in that it covers such a broad spectrum of responsibilities that you can fundamentally define your own personal version of being a producer through your own skill set. I certainly know of producers out there who are very business‑led. And then there are other producers I know of who are all about the creative putting together of the project and finding a wonderful actor or a playwright, and blending all of those artistic elements together.”JAMES BIERMAN
The Producer of a theatre or production company works closely with the Artistic Director to realise the creative vision for the theatre/company and its artistic programme of work. Together they will propose and discuss various ideas, following which the Producer will create a budget, secure funding, liaise with agents and managers to engage actors and other members of a Creative Team and then manage all legal and contractual details.
Once a production is in rehearsal, the Producer – collaborating with a Production Manager – ensures that all departments are working within budget and to schedule to meet the deadline of opening night. A building-based Producer works with a General Manager in the running and staffing of the venue.
- Realising the creative vision of a theatre/company and ensuring the delivery of its artistic programme
- Securing funding by putting together a syndicate of investors or ‘backers’
- Setting and managing budgets and cash-flow, ensuring all payments are paid and received
- Contracting venues and personnel, from leading actors to members of the Creative Team
- Overseeing the work of all departments, liaising with Press and Marketing, etc.
- Managing legal affairs, including insurance for all activities
Many producers acquire experience in other areas of theatre first – Front of House, Stage Management, etc. – working their way up within venues, from General Manager to Producer. This helps them gain a thorough working knowledge of the various roles and departments within the theatre.
There are now more producing courses available, which – as with directing courses – tend to be at post‑graduate level where students have already studied a first degree. Working as an intern within a larger production company and learning from established producers is an ideal way to gain experience and begin to develop a network of contacts.
Other courses are available. Those above represent a sample from various drama schools and universities.
- Producing Theatre – A Comprehensive and Legal Business Guide by Donald C. Farber, 1981
- Producing Musicals – A Practical Guide by John Gardyne, 2004
- So You Want To Be A Producer? by James Seabright, 2010