What do I need to know to be a “producer” for a theatrical play?

Leechboy is looking at directing another production for the university festival next March.

After directing Hamlet this year he has come to the realisation that whilst he loves to work with the actors and doing the creative stuff he is not so good at organising/admin.

To this end he asked the Student Theatre office if they could perhaps help him out by suggesting someone to act as a producer and this person could handle the admin work. Apparently they only do this for the big plays e.g. Hamlet the play he wants to do is according to them to small for a producer.

We have been discussing this a lot of late and he really wants to do the play but is dreading having to face the admin nightmares he had last time (literally - he had nightmares about working out timetables).

So I want to help but am not really sure where to start, my job title at work is “Projects Administrator” and leechboys play is a project that needs an administrator. In theory I should be able to do this, in fact I’m not so sure.

Any advice???

You have to know who, what, where, and when about every pragmatic need of a theater production. You have to know who is paying, how and when they will pay, and who they are willing to pay, and how much.

You have to know all the laws in the jurisdiction in which your company is producing the play, and the copyright responsibilities (You are cool with Shakespeare, but you will need a complete set of actors copies of their parts.) You have to know who is licensed to do anything that requires a license, and who is insured or bonded for everything that needs to be insured or bonded.

You have to know how to promote your play, and who to get the information to for that to happen. You have to know that information, or know who does know it. You have to know the availability schedules for all your locations, for performance, rehearsals, and associated gatherings, such as cast parties, and such. You have to have, or be able to get the answers, no matter what the questions.

And, you have to be pretty sure that when you say jump, somebody will at least stand up.


Eeek Triskadecamus you’ve got me worried…

Happily when breaking your post down into smaller parts it seems more easily managed. Really its alot like event management (which is what I’m involved in currently).

Hopefully the people at the Student Theatre office will be happy to answer my questions.

Think I will have a brain storming session with leechboy this weekend about what he needs. Its no wonder he had admin problems with Hamlet, his head just isn’t geared to think that way.

Good idea. Also, go talk to other people who have produced and/or ask the theater office for a list of former producers.

A producer has to do everything that Trisk listed and more (including taking abuse and/or giving hugs to directors who can no longer think coherently) - but in an atmosphere like a college theater, a lot of that work is already done, or there are established ways of doing it that, while they might not be perfect, work pretty well. (e.g, you might find out that you do need licenses, but this is the list of licenses you need, here is all the paperwork, pre-filled out with almost all relevant information, and Carla who now works at city hall from 3-5 Tuesday-Friday is a former student director, so see her to get everything signed.)

If you’re an event manager, you shouldn’t have a problem at all. Good luck to you and leechboy.