Production Management Case Studies

1. Cycle Song - Proper Job Theatre Company

Cyclesong was a Cultural Olympiad project and represented a massive challenge; An outdoor choral opera with a 1000 strong community choir aged 11-80 years, an orchestra of 120 amateur musicians and an acting company of 25 young adults performing with a handful of professionals. The set was four stories high and 50m wide. The production budget of £160,000 included an aerial finale where two 100ton cranes lifted an aerialist on a bicycle to a 10m-diameter moon image as fireworks filled the night sky. As PM I was responsible for the build and delivery of the show as well as organizing the site as a safe venue for a large and mixed audience.

2. Bridges Festival 2012 - Newcastle Gateshead Initiative

Bridges has become an annual outdoor festival held around, under and on the bridges that traverse the Tyne in central Newcastle and Gateshead. Bridges 2012 delivered a wide range of arts and performance events with the highest production values to match those of event partners Sage Gateshead and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

Challenges included negotiating the SAG process across two local authorities, complex traffic management orders, re-locating the emergency helicopter landing area and evicting loose horses from the fireworks fallout zone!

3. La Machine - Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008

In 2008 Liverpool celebrated it’s turn as European Capital of Culture. The flagship event was a stunning 4-day show by French company La machine. A 50foot mechanical spider held the city spellbound as it traversed the streets directed by an onslaught of tumultuous special effects. Rain, wind, smoke, fire and noise were used to control the visitor whilst snow seemed to send it to sleep.

As Special Effects Manager I organized the production and risk management aspects of all the effects in the show over the four-week rehearsal and 4 day show period. Particular challenges included writing risk assessments for some of the largest and most technically ambitious effects ever seen in the UK, scheduling the transport and set up of 6 articulated truckloads of effects paraphernalia during a 4 day promenade around the city and securing the use of Liverpool’s most iconic listed buildings as rooftop firing sites.