What makes the best….?

First in a series of opinion pieces about theatre personelle.

I’m always on the lookout for good people. Good people to work with on wonderful new productions. I enjoy it – the challenge of finding someone who I think, would be a great Performer, Costume Designer, Props Builder, whatever. Each role in the theatre production has inherent needs and a skill set that accompanies the role. Often, wonderful people will cross my path and I think, “Boy, he/she’d be a great Producer…” but if I ask them about it, they are frequently surprised or beg off and say… “Oh no, I could never do that. I’ve never done it before.” And I’m always thinking, “Well, then, how do you know you couldn’t do it?”

It can be a challenge to find new people who are willing to take on a behind the scenes responsibility and lately, I’ve had folks asking me, “What does it take to be a _________?” So, in pondering the question I thought I’d examine a few of the key roles on the production team – from my personal point of view.

Today, I’ll start with Producers.

Producers are tough, because no two are alike and no two see their roles the same. Some folks like be very hands off and others demand to be in the thick of the production. For me, a balance somewhere in between is the best. In my opinion, the best Producers are problem solvers and recruiters. Producers know people and enjoy meeting new people. They aren’t afraid to meet someone new and ask about their interests to find a way to get them involved in a production. Producers are good at finding the right person for a job and then empowering that person to do their best at it. They’ll find assistants and suppliers and cheap rentals and all on a tight timeline.

Producers solve problems. Non-stop. They solve everyone’s problems. Money problems, personelle problems, scheduling problems, construction problems, Diva problems – you name it, they have the confidence to deal with a difficult situation and not take it personally. They can smooth ruffled feathers and talk a beleagured director off the proverbial ledge. They can get all the actors, crew and peripheral people to come together in one place, at one time, for that commemorative photo and convince them that submitting their bio on time is of utmost importance.


Producers also know where and when to shine the light on excellence. Their pride should rest in the success of others: The Director’s success in acheiving the vision of the show, the Set Designer’s success in building or creating something new, the Costumer’s success in staying in budget while creating the show stopping gown, the actor’s accolades from the audience… All of this the Producer is willing and proud to promote – for the overall benefit of the show.

If you are an office manager, if you’ve worked in human resources, if you enjoy seeing others do well and helping them acheive their goals and if you can do all this while balancing a budget and keeping smiles on faces – then YOU are a potential Producer.

I’ve worked with some great Producers – but I know there are more of you out there. What’s stopping you?

Don’t YOU Wanna Be a Producer?


Author: Ceris Thomas

Ceris is a creative person. She teaches by day - and finds as much creativity in her job as she can and by night, (and during every spare minute she has), she creates through directing/choreographing and performing plays, drawing, writing, podcasting and now, sewing puppets. She likes to help others find and nurture their creativity and she loves finding out about other people's path to their own creative projects.

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