INTERVIEW WITH DERMOT MCLAUGHLIN
Dermot re-focused his career five years ago onto producing. His 25 plus years prior to this had been working exclusively in theatre - FOH, Box Office, On Stage and Back Stage and as a Producer although he didn't know it at the time! He was fortunate and delighted to be awarded a Stage One Bursary in 2017 to support him through pre-production for Turn of the Screw, his first commercial venture.
Over the course of his career he has been fortunate to work on the productions of, amongst others Jonathan Church, Alan Ayckbourn, Matthew Warchus, Thea Sharrock, Trevor Nunn and David Gilmour, and in a huge variety of theatres and performances spaces nationally and internationally. His producing interests are broad and have, or will encompass new work, revivals, musicals, tours and small scale/fringe theatre.
He attended the indispensable Stage One workshop for new producers (2014) and has an MA (distinction) Creative Producing from Birkbeck College, University of London. He has spent the past few years working for other producers building up his experience and creating small scale work of his own. Credits include- Garbo Talks Lead Producer (Arts Theatre), there were two brothers Producer/Dramaturg (GLASGAY and Scottish Tour), Penny Arcade B!D!F!W! for Jeremy Goldstein (Arcola/Old Vic Tunnels/Albany), Cover Her Face for Inky Cloak (Bethnal Green Working Mens Club), Lucky Stiff for Glen Lee (Bridewell Theatre), Bright Skin Light for Alexis Gregory (Stratford East).
At the moment you are…
Producer of Turn of the Screw in a new adaptation conceived by me and written by Tim Luscombe. It will be co-produced with Mercury Theatre Colchester and Wolverhampton Grand. I have booked and will general manage the UK Tour next Spring, immediately after the Colchester run. It’s my first big commercial production, I’m very excited!
What does Stage One mean to you and how has Stage One developed your career?
It seems to me that Stage One has created a community that promotes and supports best practice in Producing. It has been invaluable to plug into that community and feel part of it. I call the regular workshops “essential” and feel immensely fortunate to receive a bursary for Turn of the Screw. I’m not sure how my journey into producing would have proceeded without Stage One.
When did you first discover your passion for theatre and what was your journey to becoming a Theatre Producer?
I was still in my teens when I decided I wanted to work in theatre. Happily I had a theatre mad mum who took me and my brothers to a lot of plays. Then there were the Am Drams, who had their own theatre which was a brilliant playground. I spent a long time working in theatre as an actor, but I was always interested in the way a show was put together and how it all worked. When my acting career gave up on me, I couldn’t let it all go. I studied an MA at Birkbeck in Creative Producing and discovered my passion wasn’t for acting but for Theatre. I’m still surprised at how little I miss performing!
Last show you saw and loved?
Romantics Anonymous at the Wanamaker Playhouse. That Emma Rice is a genius! To sit down to watch a piece you know next to nothing about and have such a brilliant time is joyous. It was simple, honest and detailed; it had real heart; was very inventive and created a space for the audience to engage their imaginations. All things I love in a show, and my ambition for Turn of the Screw.
What do you think, is the best thing about the Theatre Industry?
It’s like one big ,crazy, daring and very fun, dysfunctional family.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
Everything is negotiable. Not very sexy but applicable to everything a producer has to do. And it contains the wisdom that flexibility is the essential companion to creativity.