The Level Up Producers Course, supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, is Unity’s year-long intensive support programme for early to mid-career Producers based in Liverpool City Region who are ready to take the next step in their producing journeys.
In September 2021 we welcomed the first cohort, with 6 brilliant producers and producing companies embarking on a year-long attachment to level up their producing skills.
The programme of workshops, mentoring and training is carefully tailored to the Producers, who told us about their specific wants and needs for their development as part of the application process. There’s also a real emphasis on peer-to-peer learning and mentoring, and we hope the group will continue to support and champion each other long after the Course is over.
At the heart of the Level Up Producers Course are the two Weekenders, taking place in October and February. These intensive weekends give the participants a focussed space to reflect on themselves as producers, set new goals and develop the skills to achieve them. Speakers for Weekender #1 included specialists in specific areas of producing, Arts Council representatives and coaches who will help them explore goal setting and mindset. Each Producer will also lead a session for their peers during the first six months.
Beyond the Weekenders, all of the Level Up Producers will have regular touchpoints with the Unity team through mentoring, socials and ad hoc workshops.
The importance of feeling confident and capable in your ability to produce can make all the difference for self-producing creatives. We hope that the Level Up Producers Course will make a big impact on our Producers, as well as the next wave of Merseyside artists who will benefit from their mentoring and guidance.
Feedback from Weekender #1, October 2021:
“Being given time and space to answer overwhelming questions was so valuable. I was able to discover new methods and ethos that I will take forward into all my future work. The experience not only impacted myself as a producer with tangible advice, sources and new relationships, but also as a human being! I learnt so much about how being a good producer is showing care to yourself and others.” – Grace Gallagher
“All boss. I felt really blessed and taken care of to be honest. I never once felt overwhelmed. I just felt that I was at the right place, at the right time, with the right people.” – Dorcas Seb
This was a real game-changer for me to be honest, learnt so so so much and got loads to continue thinking about and working on https://t.co/uxz57KdB6i
— Rachael Smart (@RachaelSmarty) October 31, 2021
And an hilarious end talking about what collaboration means with the @Blabbermouth_co collective! Wonderful weekend full of actions moving forwards. Adored meeting the entire group @UglyBucket @transcendtheat1 @Ms_DSF big thank you to @KirstenP_R for this experience 💗✌️👏
— Jimmy B (@Mr_James_Baker) October 31, 2021
A bloody creative collision of energy and inspiration today @unitytheatre on producers course led by the amazing @KirstenP_R and with fabulous fellow producers #Ty with @transcendtheat1 @Blabbermouth_co @UglyBucket @DorcasSeb #Will @fbs_santana @Caroline7earce @rachaelpalmer
— Jimmy B (@Mr_James_Baker) October 30, 2021
The first cohort are:
Blabbermouth is a collective of four female creative producers working within different sectors of the creative industry. Robyn, Rach, Beth and Chloe all share the same passion for the theatre, arts, and amplifying all voices within society. After meeting on the Young Everyman & Playhouse Producers course in 2018, they realised that they shared the same goals and have since spent the past three years building a portfolio of work together. This includes live performance, film, installations, and radio and digital performance.
Dorcas is a multi-disciplinary performer and project producer with over a decade of theatre, music and writing experience. As an independent artist, Dorcas’ recent highlights include her debut script Buttercup, co-produced by20 Stories High and Tiger-Lily Productions
for BBC iPlayer. Her experience includes work with Unity, HOME, Contact, Eclipse Theatre and more. As an independent project producer, Dorcas works in theatre as well as community projects that aim to develop talent.
Fabiola Santana & Will Dickie
Fabiola & Will are artists who believe that spaces have feelings. They make performances & films out of the feelings that they find. Together they have made A Home or Grief – a sound-walk, installation and 1 to 1 performance on grief and its shared experiences.
Canning Town – a dance film using the streetlights and the traffic of East London, and White Sun – 1st a live stream from their Victorian Liverpool flat.
James is a director, writer and producer who has an eye for the new and unique and loves to promote all things regional. James has produced over ten full-scale shows with no subsidised income and is best known for making theatre that packs heart and creates positive social change. Using his experience to date, James want to support new artists and celebrate and promote the diversity of theatre makers in the Northwest.
Ty Mather, representing Transcend Theatre
Ty is a queer non-binary producer, actor and writer originally from Manchester. They are the producer of Transcend Theatre, a Liverpool based LGBTQI+ arts organisation who aim to tell authentic stories about transgender lives and issues. They also work with young LGBTQI+ people, engaging them in arts and theatre workshops. Ty is passionate about queer activism and changing the ongoing and often false misconceptions of the trans and non-binary community.
Ugly Bucket is led by Grace Gallagher and Rachael Smart. Together in Ugly Bucket they create outrageous clown performances with music and verbatim on social issues. Separately, Grace is a facilitator at disabled arts organisation RAWD. Rachael is currently working with the community-based garden SQUASH, and has recently worked as an assistant director and stage manager with 20 Stories High.
Level Up Producers will run for a second year, with recruitment launching in Summer 2022.