Heather Cameron

Always carry a role of LX tape, a selection of stationary, a packet of pain killer, plasters, a packet of tissue and a good pair of ears to listen to your artists and technicians.

Job Title

Production Manager

Subjects

Technical Theatre

Education

I studied Drama and Performance, Geography, History and French at A level at school in Staffordshire. I showed promise of getting very high grades but the joys of being 18 and having too much fun rather got in the way of my studying and I left school with less then desirable grades.  After much soul searching and realising that I could actually do a degree in Theatre Production rather than more traditional humanities subjects, I applied to Queen Margaret University to study a BA in Theatre Production, specialising in Stage and Production Management. I graduated with a BA with distinction in 2009. The course at Queen Margaret was great and gave real practical vocational experience across all areas of production with tutors and mentors who worked within the industry rather than pure academics. The course combined show work with opportunities to work within some of Scotland’s best theatre and production companies. This allowed us as students to gain a valuable experience, knowledge and contacts that were a great help when we entered the real world as graduates.

 

Career Highlights

I think the end of every project could be deemed as a key career moment as you learn and take away new things from each of them.

Working at Summerhall- I would say that the 26th August 2013 was pretty big moment for me as I stood in the car park of Summerhall after festival season, saying goodbye to each company and listening to their comments and thanking me and my team of technicians for our hard work and making their shows happen. It was an amazing feeling of satisfaction to know that we had played host to over 1500 performances by 87 companies across 9 venues spaces and 7 site specific spaces.

Inspiration

Production Management is not often seen as a woman’s role and I have found the support of older women within the industry inspiring. The likes of Anna Stapleton, formally of the Citz in Glasgow, and Tatyana Jakovskaya of Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre are massive influences and mentors. Maggie Stead, the widow of the artist Tim Stead is a massive inspiration to me as she taught me to appreciate the beautiful world around me and that above all things you should follow your heart.

 

Best thing about being a Production Manager

The best part of my job is the wide variety of people I get to meet and work with. As Summerhall doesn’t only cover theatre, I have had the opportunity to work with some amazing artists, performers and musicians as well as visiting technicians. I have found working with visitors, especially international companies, has taught me valuable skills and practises that push me and Summerhall to achieve some amazing boundary pushing work.

 

Advice for someone wanting to break into the industry

The best bit of advice that I can suggest is make sure you get lots of experience while you’re still a student and that you should try and meet and stay in contact with as many industry professionals as you can; they will be a great help when you leave your education.

 

When I was a student I wish I’d known…

I think it also really important to be prepared for any crisis and that if you are going into Stage and Production Management you have to appear calm and confident even if you don’t always feel that way, as people always look to you for the answer. Always carry a role of LX tape, a selection of stationary, a packet of pain killer, plasters, a packet of tissue and a good pair of ears to listen to your artists and technicians. At the end of the day, you are the person that everyone will come to when they need these things and I have never left home without them since I began my professional career.

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