PRODUCER PROFILE: Alexandra Da Silva
Alexandra is a London based Producer and General Manager and was awarded an Autumn 2018 bursary to develop her career as a commercial Producer. She is also one half of The Creative Roots, a company specialising in film and documentaries. Her debut short film as producer, The Cost of Bronze, is set for release in 2019 but currently, Alex is producing My Dad’s Gap Year at The Park Theatre which opens next week – keep reading to find out more!
A question we get a lot is “where do I start?” When and how did you start producing?
Like a lot of people, my producing work started before I even really knew what producing was…I guess the first thing was a cabaret on the Battersea Barge whilst I was in my second year at drama school, back in 2011. I’d found some amazing musical theatre songs and really wanted to perform them, so decided to just put on an evening and make it happen… it was super stressful but so worth it – we sold the place out and everyone had the best time! It was only afterwards when someone came up to me and congratulated me on my first gig as a producer that it clicked.
How did MDGY come about? Can you sum up the story in a couple of sentences?
My Dad’s Gap Year is all about a father-son trip to Thailand and the journey of self-discovery they both take. It’s based on true events from stories about Tom’s own father who did go on a ‘gap-year’ to Thailand near the end of his life, so behind the hilarious storyline there is a huge amount of heart.
I feel very lucky to have been involved with this pretty much since it’s conception... Tom and I met in 2013 whilst we were in a play together at the Cockpit Theatre, and I remember him standing in my kitchen one evening telling me about this play he wanted to write about his Dad and the crazy adventure he took to Thailand. I went to the first showing at the Tristan Bates Theatre, another showcase at the Bush a few years later and now here we are – my first production as lead producer and Tom’s first full length play as a writer. It feels like a really special thing to be a part of and I’m very proud!
What’s the greatest challenge you’ve faced on this production?
I think it’s been balancing the ambitions of our creative team with the finances available to us! It’s always a tough one, especially on the fringe. The relationships between you and your creatives is absolutely crucial, and it’s important to make sure everyone is working towards the same goal. Managing expectations and being firm when I need to be has been an important learning curve.
How has connecting with Stage One, gaining a mentor and receiving a bursary award, helped with your development as a Producer?
Stage One has been an absolute life line for me. From the workshop I went to in May last year, I was able to use the skills learned and confirm the space at the Park, negotiate the contract and have the confidence to get the ball rolling. The bursary award has helped subsidise my living expenses whilst working all hours of the day on the show, and means I haven’t had to take a second job to afford my rent, so I’ve been able to focus all my energy into making this as successful as it can be. Finally, my mentor has been incredible for advice, a shoulder to cry on when it gets tough (because it does sometimes!!) and also introduce me to the right people in terms of advancing my career to the next stage.
Producers are always thinking one step ahead. What’s next for you?
Next is a holiday to Australia to see my Mum! But I also have a short film that I made last year which will be entered into festivals soon, and I’m in development for two new projects…that’s all I can say for now!
One show you’ve seen and loved that will always stay with you?
Definitely the Royal Court’s 2010 production of Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris. It is one of my favourite plays, and I would love to revive it one day in the future as I think it holds more relevance now than it was when it was written. More recently, I have to mention The Jungle. It was probably the most visceral and emotional experience I’ve ever had at the theatre, and I think about it all the time. I would love to create something like that one day.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I know it’s a really obvious one but I feel like I need to repeat this to myself sometimes…you can’t please everyone, so don’t try. Do the work you believe in, do it to the best of your ability, and everything else will follow.
“Seriously William, you’re eighteen and you’re gay, for Christ’s sake. You’re meant to swim against the tide. A proper gap year is all about traveling. Seeing the world. Popping your cherry. This is our chance to start living. Me and you.”
This is the story of Dave; a dad in mid-life freefall who takes his repressed, gay, teenage son William on a wild adventure to Thailand to lose his virginity. Written by Tom Wright and directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair, My Dad’s Gap Year is a wickedly funny and heartfelt story based on true events.
Starring Michelle Collins (Eastenders, Coronation Street) as William’s mother Cath – a woman on her own journey of self-discovery – alongside Adam Lannon, Alex Britt, Victoria Gigante and Max Percy.
Gay love, straight love, trans love, buddy-love, drinking games and beer bellies. Fasten your seat belts, it’s gonna be a mad one!
From Wednesday 30 Jan – Saturday 23 Feb at 7.45pm (Thurs and Sat matinees at 3.15pm) at Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4 3JP (nearest station Finsbury Park)
Tickets from £16.50 – previews already sold out!
HAVE A WATCH OF OUR REHEARSAL TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwTAoeqQF5M