What an (this) Artistic Director does

I’m Artistic Director of a theatre company. The company is Witness Theatre and I set it up myself, does that fact invalidate any comments I can make about how to run a company and the role of an Artistic Director? I hope not, because it certainly feels like I’m doing something real.

I’ll admit, I don’t know what an Artistic Director does in a big building like the National Theatre. I mean, I have a very strong idea but I can’t tell you as a fact. I am also still figuring out what an Artistic Director of a company does. But here is my list as it stands, or here’s the list of what I do:

– I currently spend far longer working to promote work than I do working to make it. This is something that should probably change.

– I write press releases, teach myself to use mail merge and send them all out to journalists.

– I am the main point of contact for all press.

– I spend my evenings on Facebook and Twitter, engaging with audiences and the theatrical community.

– I try to get time off my paid work to attend networking events.

– I try to see as much theatre as I can afford, and film, and read as much literature, and see as much of life as I can, and to sleep as much as I can manage.

– I write and update the business plan.

– I come up with loads of ideas for shows and projects and then try to decided on which one would be the best route to go and how to implement the actual fact of getting it up and running.

– I keep the accounts even though numbers slightly make my head explode.

– I write various funding proposals.

– I run fundraisers and publicity campaigns.

And, when there’s time, I write and direct the work for the company.

There are probably lots of other things I’ve forgotten, but that is what an Artistic Director (or at least this one) does.


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