Monday, 4 July 2022
As I come to the end of 18 action-packed months with Unity I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on the experience and everything it has meant.
Before I get into it, I want to highlight just how brilliant Unity have been in creating this role at all.
It’s really unique for an organisation to create a role specifically to give mid-career producers opportunity to develop in new ways. Development opportunities for producers are so often focussed on ’emerging’ creatives which – while brilliant – often means people 5+ years into their career are either expected to ‘know it all’ in every area, or otherwise work at a level below their capabilities in some areas while they skill up in others.
I’m so grateful that Unity identified that gap and created a post like this, and I hope that ethos of life-long learning and supporting people at every stage of their career is something I’ve been able to carry over into Creative’Pool.
I also want to thank Unity for the trust they put in me. Creative’Pool has become a big part of our programme and our organisation’s identity and I have to pinch myself that I was allowed to turn up (via Zoom no less – it was months before we met IRL…) and run riot with it.
This job has been an absolute joy thanks to the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I’ve worked with hundreds of artists and creative people over the last 18 months who, without exception, have been wonderful – brilliant people, fabulous creatives – many of whom have also become friends.
So I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you to:
The Unity team – Gordon, Rach, Rachael, Beccy, Xenia, Julie, Annemarie, Luke, Emily, Reg, Phil, Lauren, Rosie, Siobhan, Al, Alan, Jen, Sophie, Fabiola, Simone, Joanne, Pamela, Julie K
The Level Up Producers – Dorcas Seb, James Baker, Grace Gallagher, Rachael Smart, Chloe & Beth & Rach of Blabbermouth, Ty Mather, Fabiola Santana, WiL Dickie, Alice Lapworth
The Open Call Artists – All Things Considered, Amina Atiq, Gold Maria Akanbi, Rickety Fidgets, Sian Davies, Leianna Boodaghians-Nolan, Victoria Oxley, Alice Bunker-Whitney, Out The Attic, One September, Transcend Theatre, FLOOD, Rowena Gander, Black Fest, Katy-Anne Bellis, Marjorie Morgan, Elaine Collins, RAWD, Alexis Maxwell, Tom Kinney, The B Collective and Theatre Témoin
And the amazing 2022-23 Open Call cohort whose shows are gearing up as I type.
These brilliant partners (and I’m sure more who I can only apologise if I’ve missed here!):
Homotopia on Queer Creatives Meet Up (and everything Homotopia!)
Turntable on H.O.P.E [it’s a working title]
20 Stories High on Touchy and Youth Theatre (& all our other connections!)
RAWD on RAWD!
The Hale Arts on Spaces of Joy
Tamasha, Coney, Everyman & Playhouse on 10,000 Heartbeats
Saphena Aziz, afshan d’souza-lodhi, Adam Lowe, Jennie McCusker & Davinia Jokhi on Take Your Seat
Saphena Aziz (again!), Titilola Dawudu, Tamasha and the 15 brilliant local writers & actors involved with Hear Me Now Vol.2
Alex Ferguson on Producers Get Together
Nuts & Bolts facilitators – Liz Barker, Nickie Miles-Wildin, Chloe Clarke, Phillippe Cato, Pelin Basaran, Fabiola Santana, Ugly Bucket
Lola Arias, Wildcard Theatre, Ontroerend Goed who generously let us watch archive recordings of their incredible shows for FORM
The companies who have spent time developing work at Unity through Space To Create.
Our incredible BSL interpreters
The many, many Creative’Pool members who have come along to 146 (ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY SIX! I had to count them up for reporting purposes…) free workshops, networking events, mentoring sessions, training opportunities, walk & talks etc etc etc. I’ve had SO much fun with you, and learnt so much from many conversations, coffees and strolls through Cathedral Gardens together.
And every incredible visiting company who have come through Unity’s doors over the past 18 months.
THANK YOU. You’ve made this time a true pleasure. I really look forward to coming into work, catching up with the team, connecting with our creative community and working out what we can make happen together – and that’s an incredible lucky position to be in.
I came into this role to build up my understanding and confidence as venue producer after years of producing for touring companies. What I got from it was so much more.
I learnt that I love supporting artists in a much more direct way than I’ve been able to before, and that being in the middle of a buzzy, open-minded and experimental organisation makes me excited to get up for work. I learnt that designing programmes through collaboration and crowd-sourcing can create magic. I found the amazing Liverpool arts community and they took me in as one of their own without hesitation. ‘Community’ gets thrown around a lot but you truly feel it in Liverpool; I can’t say enough about how wonderful, generous and supportive the creatives of this city are.
While my last day on 14th July will be an emotional one, I’m absolutely thrilled that I get to hand over to a fantastic Producer who will keep the Creative’Pool magic going and take it to new levels. More coming on them soon…
To mark the end of the Creative’Pool ‘term’ we’re throwing a Summer Social on Friday 8th July. A picnic in Cathedral Gardens, a hang out in the Unity Bar, option to see brilliant Dorcas Seb’s show, followed by a pub quiz hosted by Rach & I. I’d absolutely love to see you there if you can make it!
If I don’t get to see you then, please stay in touch! I intend on keeping myself in the Liverpool creative community for as long as you’ll have me…