I used to want to be an actor. I went to drama classes from a very young age, performing in musicals starting from “The Wizard of Oz” to “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Seussical” (twice). It was good of Ahrens and Flaherty to remove all the problematic stuff from that last one.
I started my producing journey in late 2016, when I met Eleanor Lathbridge, when we were workshopping some music from
“Hamilton” in London's West End. After the second rehearsal, we shared some chicken nuggets at McDonald's. “Do you ever
feel that you'd prefer to be on the other side of it?” she asked me. “Yep,” I replied, as I dropped some sweet and sour
dip on my shirt.
And that was it, we started a company. We gave it a name: “DreamRole Productions.” Cheesy? Maybe. Accurate? Definitely.
At the very least, we were in our dream roles as producers, working in central London before we'd even finished high
school. DRP created eight shows from April 2017 to September 2018, which were staged concerts in venues around the West
End, ranging from the tiny Theatre Café on Shaftesbury Avenue for the very first one, later finding a home off-West End
at The Space on the Isle of Dogs.
Just after the first production, Raphaella D'alessandro joined us as we moved forward onto bigger and better things. The
unique selling point of DRP is that we did online auditions and rehearsals (before they were cool) - the cast never met
until the day of the one-off performance. With our in-house technical manager, musical director and the three creative
producers, we gave opportunities to perform in central London to people all around the UK, ranging from Leeds, to
Cornwall, to Scotland.
I then left London to begin studying for a masters in Linguistics at The University of Edinburgh in September 2018 - the
first day of my freshers week was the night of the final DRP production. I spent around 8 months acting with University
Theatre Societies - as I was told it was the best way to get your foot in the door. As a male presenting performer, it
was not difficult to get cast and I managed to perform in 5 shows in my first year - four plays and a Gilbert & Sullivan
It was in May 2019 that I got back to producing proper - in advance of the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I took a
freelance job with Maddie Flint's new company, Deficit Theatre, on a profit-split basis, on their inaugural piece,
“Deficit,” at the Wee Red Bar, managed by the fantastic Colvin Cruickshank. I worked as their producer and technical
manager, playing to great audiences and brilliant critical reviews, but this was not my main project at the 2019 Fringe.
In June, Rory Kelly posted on the Edinburgh Fringe Forum Facebook Group, looking for a director and team for the play he
had written, “Mother and the Monster”. It had actually been produced once before, with a University of
Edinburgh-adjacent theatre company, by pure coincidence. He'd booked a Laughing Horse Free Fringe venue, and wanted
someone else to handle the rest. After having a quick chat from him and pestering him for a week, I got the gig.
So, I had a show, and I had a venue. But I had no cast, no crew, no associated company. So I cast the show - Rory had
specifically said that he wanted the show to adjust to the actors, and that the lines were flexible and we could do what
we wanted with the script, which meant I knew it would be a collaborative process. Once the show had been cast with four
actors, I told them we needed a name. The show was dark, and mysterious, but funny. The company was Scottish, and
Arabella Spendlove, who was playing the lead in that show, brought up the idea of taking a name from Scottish folklore.
I really wanted to avoid naming the company “_____ Theatre.” She suggested “The Counterminers,” to which I said, “I have
literally no idea what that means, but let's go with it.” When you google “Counterminers,” our company comes up before
the Scottish folklore. You can read more about the meaning here.
So we did the show in the Free Fringe venue, the lovely Golf Tavern in Bruntsfield. 6 performances, 20 capacity. We had
a stellar, “sold out” opening night, and then: no one came to the second performance. We were all heartbroken. I wanted
to give up, I was so upset about it. But after, we had full capacity every night and operated at double capacity on
closing night! Through donations, we more than made the money we'd all spent out of our pockets back, and had enough
left in the account to consider performances at future Fringes outside of the Free Fringe.
After around a week off, I was producing and directing my first show with Bedlam Theatre, sometimes known as The
Edinburgh University Theatre Company, always known as one of two UK University theatre societies that own an actual
theatre. It was a production of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, licensed through Samuel French (now Concord
Theatricals). The play had a huge cast and crew of around 40 people on the team that I managed.
Every year, the EUTC has a festival called Bedfest, where the building is used to put on around 20 different shows in
one week, with one performance each. I was the marketing manager for this festival, and it also saw the return of the
Counterminers, with “The Closing of a Small and Insignificant Bowling Alley”. This show saw the establishment of the
company's signature structure: not having a director. Everyone acted, everyone directed, and those who wanted to did a
bit of stage management. The only non-actor member of the company was the technical manager.
We once again were given full creative control by the author, Ned Dunne, and we practically rewrote the whole thing
around the new versions of the characters. The show went well, it was well received, so a Fringe run was booked.
Unfortunately, this was in early 2020, and the Fringe was cancelled. It was a shame, but even though the show was only
performed once, it was great to learn from the experience, and the company was finally established as an ongoing entity,
and did not fall victim to the shortcoming so many companies fall to, the ever-dreaded “establishing a company and then
only doing one show and then ignoring it forever.”
The pandemic brought with it a whole slew of new challenges, but I learned so much, as always. I wrote a jukebox musical
with some friends, “Good Girls Go To Heaven” - it was beyond legally questionable given the music used, but due to the
pandemic, it was never produced, so that bridge never had to be crossed. The show was proposed to and approved by Bedlam
Theatre, and it was cast through online auditions before it became very clear that the pandemic was not going away any
time soon, and we “pulled the plug,” so to speak.
Starting in November 2020, I started producing online theatre. This started with “Eight” by Ella Hickson, which was
directed by my very talented friend Tabitha Gibb, with Theatre Paradok, Edinburgh's experimental theatre company. I
noticed that the production process was quite unstructured, so I made an unsolicited proposal to the Theatre Paradok
committee to become their first ever Productions Manager. They accepted, and come the new year, we worked on three
online shows before March, one of which I produced and directed myself, once again with Tabitha: Mark Dunn's “Seven
Interviews”, licensed through Concord Theatricals.
The final online project I worked on was Bedlam's SOSDF (The Scottish Online Student Drama Festival). You can see why we
used an acronym. I was the Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for this festival, which involved reaching out to every
University Theatre Society in the UK, asking if they wanted to get involved. Quite a few did, much to my joy, and we
produced a great festival with over 40 events from 28 University Theatre Societies, raising money for Acting For Others.
I ended my tenure as Paradok Productions Manager in April 2021, stepping up to the role of President alongside Mick
Zijdel, who was absolutely fantastic to work with. The idea of the 2021 Edinburgh Fringe was tantalising, with many
believing it wouldn't go ahead. Being the sensible person I am, I convinced myself, and subsequently, everyone at
Paradok and Counterminers that it was definitely definitely happening, and that we should put all of our money into it,
so we did. It paid off, and both companies created stellar shows in Paradok's “Catching Up” by Leonardo Shaw, who also
played the main character, and The Counterminers' “Radio 69” which was devised by the company and written by Hollie
Avery, Zoë Robertson, and Holly Sargent.
Alongside producing these Fringe Shows, “Catching Up” with Liz Dokukina and “Radio 69” with Emer Williams, I also
embarked on the CGO Institute's Diploma in Creative Producing course, run by Chris Grady. It took 4 months, and it was
extremely fulfilling. I learned a lot, and was able to apply all that I learned to the Fringe shows and also to all my
future projects. I met dozens of people, both new to the industry and seasoned veterans. It was hearing about their
passions and experiences that motivated me to pursue producing as my future career.
In September of 2021, I started my role as Marketing Manager for Bedlam Theatre. Whilst the building was still closed
due to various pandemic-related factors, it was a rewarding experience to promote Bedlam shows that weren't in Bedlam -
there were 8 across the year, and it was great working with so many different teams and types of show. The main project
of my final year at University was “Legally Blonde the Musical” with the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group, which
took place from August 2021 through til January 2022. I produced it alongside Izzy Ponsford, Liz Dokukina, and Alice
Whiteman, and directed by Hannah McGregor. It ran at the Church Hill Theatre for 6 nights in January, and sold over 2000
tickets, operating at 60% profit.
As Paradok president, we did 6 shows across the year, all in different venues, which was terrifying and wonderful.
First, a modernised version of “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tenesse Williams, followed by a brand new play written in
verse, Jacob Watson's “Prince Archipelago.” In early March 2022, Ella Hickson made a return to my portfolio with “Boys”
and then in late March, Philomène Cheynet translated Jean Giraudoux's “Ondine” into a three hour epic. Finally, in April
2022, Frantiska Vosatkova, Aude Naudi-Bonnemaison, Pollyanna Esse, and their cast, created “Roots,” a brand new movement
piece for Paradok. I mentored each of the producers for the productions, and we saw a 500% profit return across the
Looking to the future, I am greatly anticipating the 2022 Fringe, with The Counterminers' fourth production, “Cheeky
Girls,” written by Florence Carr-Jones, and directed by both Florence and Ruby Loftus. I am also the Operations
Coordinator for Theatre Paradok's Fringe programme alongside Molly Keating, which includes a queer version of Nick
Payne's “Constellations,” an as yet undecided show with TheSpaceUK, and up to 12 brand new pieces of writing with
“Paradok Platform” which will run at 5pm every day of the Fringe at La Belle Angele with Just The Tonic.