- Company: Frantic Assembly
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background before studying at Leeds?
I was fortunate that my parents had always embraced my passion for the performing arts and led me to opportunities in joining Nottingham Youth Theatre, Nottingham County Orchestra, The Brassery Big Band and performance opportunities across the world with Redhill Comprehensive School (Redhill Academy). I arrived at Leeds with a wealth of performing experience but without the understanding of how to refine my passion and question why I wanted to pursue this industry as a viable career path. I’ve always been well supported by my family and arts teachers who always believed I would go on to working in the industry – I’ll always be grateful for that.
What made you choose to study at the University?
I studied in the School when it was based at the Bretton Hall campus which was a huge draw for studying at Leeds University as the campus was perfect for enriching and developing creative talent. The atmosphere and the buzz of the City was something that drew me to chose Leeds, alongside world class facilities to develop my skills.
What opportunities/activities were available for students outside of studying and which ones did you take part in?
There were a huge amount of activities and opportunites available to me which led to being the Bretton Hall Campus Representative on the Leeds University Union whilst enjoying the variety of performance societies on both campuses. There was always something to get involved in and then inevitably forming large groups of people with similar interests to socialise with.
What are you fondest memories of your time at Leeds?
My fondest memories of Leeds are the people, many I am still in contact today. When I think about the people I got to meet and the things we all collectively did in the name of creating art, never fails to bring a smile to my face. What is really brilliant is maintaining those relationships and now eleven years on seeing a group of super talented people working for brilliant arts companies across the World.
Moving on to your career, where do you currently work and what is your job title?
I have just joined Frantic Assembly as their Producer following three and a half years as Producer at the Lyric Hammersmith. Both positions are based in London.
Can you tell us about your day-to-day role?
Being the Producer of an arts organisation presents varying challenges and you have to be open and flexible to your way of working – no two days are the same. The Producer is the link to all aspects of the company and to the production you are working on. Managing the budget, the role also hires all personelle on a production from the creative team to the actors. I have to work closely with a production manager to ensure all physical elements are brought together on time and within budget, whilst also creating relationships with venues, international partners and co-producers. There’s always work to be done before you can take your seat on a press night and watch that opening performance.
How do you think your degree has helped you to progress in your career? In particular, what skills did you learn and how do you use these in your role/career path?
My course allowed me to improve my communication skills and allowed me the opportunity and encouragement to express myself and create work. What was brilliant about the leadership of the course is that they really provoked reaction and interrogated us to think about our work on multi levels, which at the time could be infuriating but that level of detail in questioning what we do has been instrumental in how I carry myself as a Producer. I have to question everything, I have to justify my actions in the work I do, whilst being open to asking opinions from others and listening to experiences from all backgrounds and walks of life to understand performing arts and how it effects society as a whole. Bretton was a microcosm of people who were there to work that out what the world meant, I just didn’t quite realise how much of an effect those formative years would have on my work today.