19 January 2018

A producer and actor, Emma is Co-Artistic Director of Antic Face. She has produced all of the company’s work to date: Hippolytos (V&A, 2014), For Those Who Cry When They Hear the Foxes Scream (Tristan Bates, 2016), School Play (Southwark Playhouse, 2017). She was nominated for an Ian Charleson Award for her performance in Hippolytos. Previous producing work includes: Associate Producer and Maternity Cover General Manager on Fool For Love (FOUND 111), Assistant to Nick Hytner and Nick Starr at London Theatre Company, Producer for drag super group DENIM’s set at Port Eliot Festival and Production Assistant for the RSC season at the Park Avenue Armoury, New York. Emma is now a Stage One Apprentice Producer working at Neil Laidlaw Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions. She has written and edited work for Neal Street Productions, Found, Blue Pip Films and was previously Commissioning Editor for New Writing at Oberon Books.

At the moment you are…

Producing the UK Premiere of Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties by Jen Silverman at the Southwark Playhouse (24 January – 17 February) with my theatre company, Antic Face. It’s a brilliantly funny, anarchic, all-female show and we’re currently in the middle of rehearsals. I am also taking part in the Stage One London Apprentice Producer scheme and have just finished 6 months at Neil Laidlaw Productions. I start my second placement at Sonia Friedman Productions immediately after the Collective Rage press night!

When did you first discover your passion for theatre and what was your journey into the theatrical world?

I was incredibly lucky to grow up surrounded by theatre and to be taken to see a lot from a young age, so I think I’ve always had the theatre bug. I was stupidly precocious and would regularly stage my one-woman version of ‘The Lion King’ aged about 5. At university, I spent more time doing drama than studying with my now business partner, Charlie Parham. We decided to start a theatre company together after graduating and, though I had always loved performing, the experience of making theatre entirely on our own terms was exhilarating (if also terrifying and very stressful!). We’ve come a long way from our first production in a tunnel under the V&A, and I’m very proud of what we have achieved. Along the way I am fortunate enough to have worked for inspirational producers beyond the world of fringe theatre which has given me a taste for more ambitious productions in the future…

What does Stage One mean to you?

If anyone ever asks me how to get into producing, the first thing I say is sign up to Stage One. Stage One has given me the tools to go from a na├»ve, vague idea that I wanted to produce theatre to understanding what that might actually encompass. The workshop is the only kind of formal training I know of for new producers, and the learning and networking opportunities are invaluable. Working in two different production offices as part of the Apprentice scheme is another incredible opportunity – I learned so much from my time with Neil Laidlaw Productions, and I can’t wait to start at Sonia Friedman Productions. Above all, everyone at Stage One is constantly supportive, encouraging and understanding. We are so lucky to have this scheme.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

Someone very wise always said to me, “Use the nerves.” Adrenaline is the lifeblood of this industry, don’t be afraid of it!