Independent Producer mentors The Living Room

Published: 21/02/16

What’s your role at Living Room Theatre?

I am the producing mentor for I Love Todd Sampson, showing at 107 Projects in August 2016.

What’s the latest project you’re working on at Living Room Theatre?

This is the first project with The Living Room Theatre!

What do you do day to day outside of Living Room Theatre?

I’m a producer in the Talks and Ideas team at Sydney Opera House, I also produce independent contemporary dance and performance, and I’m a mummy and wife.

What new skills do you feel you can bring to Living Room Theatre?

Michelle has been self-producing for a very long time, so coming on board this project will relieve her of a whole bunch of practical tasks so that she can truly focus on the development of the work.

There’s the practical skills of budgeting, venue liaison, team coordination, project management etc etc that I bring, but also it’s important to bring an understanding of the audience for the work, and how to reach to them, creatively input in the marketing of the work, ensure that everything is working smoothly and the best it can be, that the artists are profiled and the right people come to see the show. You’re the #1 support for the artist’s vision and you are responsible for making it happen, whatever that means (in a practical and philosophical sense).

Ultimately, I am here to support Michelle so that her confidence in the work grows and becomes fully realised. A lot of a producer’s time is spent consulting, debriefing, brainstorming with the artist.

In return, what do you think you can learn by working with Michelle at Living Room Theatre?

Michelle has an infectious zest for life and her practice. She’s got so many ideas and really looks at life in a unique way. She also has lots of ambition – which will no doubt throw up some curve balls and logistical challenges along the way. Working with a live horse is certainly new to me, and so will a lot of other factors in the work. It will be a great challenge working on I Love Todd Sampson.

What’s the importance of working/supporting independent theatre?

Independent theatre and dance is often where the most risks are taken (which is vital for our arts industry across the country to evolve, grow and be competitive in the international market) and where our future cultural leaders are working, developing their skills and building their practice. The independent sector in Australia also produces a significant amount more new work than the majors. Without it the industry would lose its depth and diversity.

Do you feel independent theatre doesn’t receive enough recognition in Australia?

I feel the independent theatre industry has to fight harder for it’s recognition. It’s a tougher environment – more competition and less resources.

Besides producing, do you enjoy performing?

No, it terrifies me. I used to fancy myself as a performer, but realised I was a much better producer so made the transition and haven’t looked back!

Where can we find you on a weekend?

On the northern beaches. If I don’t have a show on, I like to keep weekends free for family time, which is often spent at the beach or somewhere outdoors.