For the past six months MAYK have been supporting my studies by allowing me to do a producer placement with them as part of my Creative Producing MA at the University of the West of England. When I started with them at the beginning of the year I had little experience or knowledge of producing theatre in a professional environment, let alone the unique, new and exciting work that MAYK produce. Despite this, I felt instantly welcomed, respected and trusted.
I was put to work straight away on an incredible project called Now Is The Time To Say Nothing. Which, if you haven’t yet seen I highly recommend going to at your next opportunity! I was involved with many aspects of putting on this production, from sourcing set, putting together a marketing pack, front of house for its Bristol Old Vic run, to collecting together the audience feedback. I learnt a lot working on this project, about all the behind the scene things producers do to make a project a success. I was supported each step of the way by the MAYK team and was ready to put into practice what I had learnt on future projects.
I was lucky enough to be asked to work on multiple projects during my time with MAYK, after Now Is The Time To Say Nothing went on tour I was given tasks to aid in the production of SESSION, an exhilarating night of dance and live music created in collaboration by Still House, Steppaz Performing Arts Academy and Empire Sounds, Working Model, an idea by Rachael Clerke for an alternative city built by children, as well as MAYK’s Spring party, plus a few little tasks here and there for the many other projects and ideas currently on MAYK’s ‘to do’ list. I was able to gain real insight into the world of professional producing and increase my experience and understanding of the job. I was able to learn about all the amazing shows, people and values that MAYK surround themselves with and was invited to be a part of it.
MAYK, even though they are mostly known for their Bristol based festival Mayfest, work hard on multiple projects all year round both nationally and internationally and I got to sit in on meeting after meeting to witness how they manage it. I learnt a lot about planning, time management and prioritising in order to deliver not just one but multiple successful productions. I have taken away and am already putting into practice many of the organisational techniques and approaches MAYK use. Not only that, I have also been inspired by how they work, not only with each other but with other artists and creatives. It was exciting to have insight into what MAYK are planning, especially with regards to next year's Mayfest and I am eager to see and experience Working Model when it’s up and running!
I want to thank MAYK for supporting me and helping me to gain a better understanding and experience of the role of a producer, and I look forward to (hopefully) working together again in the future.
Joanne Brooks, University of the West of England, Creativing Producing MA
Image: Working Model by Rachael Clerke. Photo by Ailsa Fineron.