It’s hard to find a typical day. One of the many great things about working in theatre is that the pattern of your day never gets stuck on repeat.
Ostensibly my role is to work alongside playwrights in making their writing, their play, their vision exactly what they want it to be. As literary producer it is up to me to help them with a journey that can go from a first meeting over a cup of coffee about their idea, right through to commission and on to production.
My day often starts with reading a script at home before work. Finding time to read scripts is a challenge to every literary manager I know. I often finish the script on the bus ride into work.
Currently I get to my desk and log onto the computer to see who has submitted a script for our Open Session initiative. During June we accept unsolicited scripts from SW based writers and we read everything. The writers of the top five plays are then invited to take up an attachment with us for the coming year. These plays need to be acknowledged, recorded and passed on to our small army of readers whose skill and judgement we reply on to sift through the sacks full of scripts we receive.
Later in the morning I attend one of a series of regular inter-departmental meetings: a Programming meeting with the senior creative team where we discuss the shape and content of our theatre programme for the next two/three years, a ‘Making It Work’ meeting, where we talk about what the building is housing and how we manage it for the coming six months and a Producers catch up, where the theatre producers discuss projects they are working on and issues they are facing.
Lunch is often taken at the desk – not ideal I know but it provides the opportunity to do a little more script reading or catching up on email.
In the afternoon I might be at the first reading of a new script by one of the many writers we work with. During the last year we have been working more and more with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School students – in a rehearsal room with the writer and a director starting to investigate how the play is shaping up, how the narrative is unfolding, how the characters are developing. Useful for them as actors and vital to the writer who can take the ideas forward to second and third draft.
In the evenings I am often at a theatre in Bristol or the region watching a new piece of theatre or I am at Bristol Old Vic running a writers’ workshop or in the Basement watching our very successful spoken word night Blahblahblah that I produce with the poet Anna Freeman.
And when I get home there is always another script waiting for me….