Networking & Events Feed

Producers Pool - Dates in the Diary pt1

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Towards the end of 2019 I was introduced to the concept of the Portfolio Career and it was a mindset game changer.

2019 was also the year I asked myself, which I often do year on year - "If I won the lottery what would I do?" The answer has been the same for as long as I can remember. To fund and produce independent small scale theatre working with emerging artists and directors.

This time I accepted I’d probably never win the lottery but ya do want to do this.

I know my craft as a stagemanager, my digital learning and project experience has encompassed social media and associated productivity technologies, podcast audio recording and production, I can edit video.

Mobile live-streaming and virtual worlds. Audience and augmentation.

Technology and theatre.

Not for technology but for engaging immersive idea revealing story-driven theatre. Unusual productions in extraordinary spaces. A big part of the lottery dream is to have the money to fund it.

Then there is like-minded professional networking. Nothing is more aspirational than spending time talking, listening and strategically dreaming with fellow producers. All on differing trajectories in their own careers. A community of collaborators. A tribe of mentors.

Chris Grady hosts Producers Pool.

I was, since 2018 forever attempting to synchronise my meetings in London at Equity or events by Cybersalon to draw a three-card trick where I’d get to attend a Producers Pool, Equity meeting and a Cybersalon event. Trump card would be to fit in a theatre show too.

I would augment my attendance at events on occasion, to showcase remote access potential. The immersion in ground-based experience made the strategic split to include cloud-based access hard to make happen when I was the on needing access and not providing the access which was the ultimate aim, to extend attendance.


The value and reward of cloud access were invisible to physical organisers. The concept appealed but in practice, the management of the physical event was enough.

Blending Digital and Physical looked to be a pipe dream. Then came Covid. One of the first to embrace the opportunity to pivot to digital was Producers Pool. Hurrah!

So independent producers and theatre-makers meeting monthly often with an influencing peer speaking currently happens online.

What do you have to offer?

What do you need?

This leads to the momentum and mindfulness of conversations. 

What can I offer? Insights, experience and practice to pivot to digital. What do I need? The blending back to physical with gradually lowering balanced percentage extension option to attend either way and get the same influencer insights and networking dialogue.

I don’t ask much! Am I asking too much?

Monthly on the last Wednesday, until further notice starting January 27th if you are interested in joining Producers Pool find your way to the Facebook Group.

For the mindfully invested. 

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The journey starts here www.chrisgrady.org/producers-pool
Producers' Pool (UK & International) - next meeting 4.30 pm Wed 27th January


An 8.5 hr Zoom call. #WriggleSymp21

Wriggle Dance Symposium 

I love supporting projects. I love supporting produced events requiring digital support and audience access.
Latest project Wriggle Dance Theatre’s Early Year’s and Families Symposium took place today.

Lights Camera Action ... mic / mute

It’s all in the planning and prep.
The Symposium took place in one Zoom Meeting. It used Polls and Breakout Rooms, it pinned and spotlighted, its shared audio, QuickTime video, keynote and PDF preview. A Whereby video room as a helpdesk was open throughout running in parallel. Closed Caption and live transcription was available too.
Alongside this an online feedback board was created using Padlet. Attendees were invited to leave feedback and share insights in real time.

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All digital presentations, performance, workshops and the attending audience but it’s time to explore the hybrid of Digital and Physical. The paperwork won’t change the delivery will be more complex.

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Today marked the premiere showing of Wriggle Dance’s film version of their stage production of Squidge. In conversation panel showcased CO directors Lucy Knight and Kath Kimber McTiffen legacy and guest panels presented rich practices hi lighting the power of movement, dance and touch for early years children.

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The pandemics indelible stamp extending work from the sector in to digital featured also. 
To conclude the day Coventry Dance facilitated a speed networking opportunity. Ending the day in conversation. Finishing the day with a blog post.


For your hybrid and blended audience and event solutions... this way please.

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A lot of the kit arrived today for the next PCM TechBox. Testing & unboxing heaven! Each commissioned TechBox is bespoke to the requirement of the client following discussions about the media the company or organisation need to make. This current box is a triple threat box! vlogging, video conferencing, media making. #ExtendTheAudience

This PCM TechBox is for the @UNESCO UK site Cromford Mills. 

The TechBoxes I build contains everything a marketing team, event or theatre company need to boss their video media making and live streaming as lockdown lifts. It is an all in one solution in a literal box. It includes a consultation, content creation strategy, set up and basic video/film making training. This intermediate package costs £4,500

This kit is compiled to splits into 3 parts. It is multipurpose multi-media.

  1. Mobile vlogging, social media and vox-pops.
  2. YouTube and podcast studio set up.
  3. Video conferencing and livestreaming.

Everything, including a laptop and the box it all goes in. Wondering how you blend or extend your audience after lockdown? Wondering how you livestream on a budget?

Whatever the output I provide a most current technology centred solution that can grow, scale and be augmented as your media making confidence is established. I'll help with workflow too so the content you capture makes it online.

So far

  • Stabilising hand-held gimbal with mobile phone and GoPro brackets
  • Mini shotgun mic (mobile and video camera jack cables)
  • Pocket video lightGoPro with waterproof housing
  • Cold shoe handheld rig for mobile and GoPro
  • 4K video camera (for capture and streaming)
  • Tripod
  • X2 table top dimming fill lights
  • Power ext with x4 13amp and x6 USB sockets
  • X2 Wireless lavelier mics (mobile and video camera jack cables)
  • Conferencing speaker with 360 mic pick-upCables & Accessories case

Items remaining will be determined based on the inter gratin of the tech acquired so far.

  • Projector (to view remote audience in the physical venue)
  • Screen Laptop (with video and audio editing software installed)
  • Tablet / Monitor / SwitcherStorage / Flight case
  • Portable power pack
  • Power extension Mobile WiFi

For a theatre company, events agency looking to explore hybrid opportunities there is not a better place to begin than a conversation with PCM.


Can’t Get You Out Of My Head - watch, chat, catch up

Have you seen? What do you think?

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  1. Part One - Bloodshed on Wolf Mountain - https://fb.me/e/4SJsqqqJk
  2. Part Two - Shooting and F**king are the Same Thing - https://fb.me/e/1YkcXCXYt
  3. Part Three - Money Changes Everything - https://fb.me/e/2eYafpHwq
  4. Part Four - But What If the People Are Stupid? - https://fb.me/e/2eNrs9CrP
  5. Part Five - The Lordly Ones - https://fb.me/e/znHbe0N9
  6. Part Six - Are We Pigeon? Or Are We Dancer? - https://fb.me/e/1dwXbiCgW

I miss ‘putting the world to rights over a pint’ conversations. I’d love folks to join me to watch Adam Curtis’s latest documentary series. So I put together this watch party series. If you haven’t seen the week’s episode watch with me via Zoom or drop by an hour in and stay for a deep reflective chat. Sometimes it is good to make your brain hurt! 

I have mentioned to a few I might do an Adam Curtis watch party some day. Here it is. Starting next Monday (29th) and lasting 6 weeks. Join me to watch or join an hour in a stay for the discussion. This is my kind of happy!! 

Sundown and a pint is wishful thinking right now but hey. Zoom will have to do!

Let talk... these documentaries are collective consciousness and I just want us to share the thoughts I know I have watching the episodes. They colour in my own history. Avert your sensibilities this is not staying inside the lines.

Be prepared to think and reflect.


Video Help Desk for your Digital Events

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I have been on HelpDesk duty today.

With multiple-sessioned events like festivals, across multiple platforms for attendees, guests, speakers, performers and crew the thing that is painfully absent with digital and its zeros and ones is the corridors, the greenroom, the watercooler, the bar and the liminal spaces.

The space between the spaces.

QuiQuo do this well and event wrappers have potential to accommodate this but to date these wrappers have been outside my budget and production timescale. Digital Stagemanagement and the production consulting tend to be too late in the precession for me to augment in these options. 

A single help desk is the first step. It becomes an anchor point between physical and digital in-person encounters. It’s a point of real present. This I can do with Whereby. I have 10 rooms some are on loan to groups and some like this help desk for SparkFestival is a special hosting.

This was my toolset today

  • Whereby - a super simple easy access for first time tech shy audiences. I settled on this platform prior to COVID when another app to download or service to sign up to was enough to stifle or demotivate any engagement.
  • Splashtop xDisplay - connects a second device to enable monitoring while focusing on your main screen.
  • iPad as a second screen with xDisplay - an old iPad 2 connects to extend your desktop. I use this on a stand on my desk for ficus timer and for general social media and news notifications. 

Finally I have 2 documents prepared specifically for this help desk. A festival reference with all the info including ticket links and zoom access links to each performance or workshop and a intro guide to Whereby as a help desk including a outline of the visitor experience.

  1. Helpdesk document - Festival Programme (private document not available to share)
  2. Helpdesk document - How To for team staffing - http://bit.ly/pcm-helpdesk-sparkfestival

This service is integral to my Extended The Audience offering when compiling extended audience packages. If you want to know more please get in touch.

I must also thank Alison Rouse who staffed the majority of the sessions enabling me to focus on the main digital auditorium as Zoom controller throughout the opening days of the festival.


The glitz and the swag. The bling and the brags. #FEI


My heart is always beating to the rhythm of theatre and live performance but my curiosity glanced perilously into the arena of events. A complete subspecies when it comes to audiences. What arts, culture and heritage pursuits engage the leisure time of conference and trade-shows attendees and delegates? Can the world of show business get in on the act of event engagement?

The glitz and the swag. The bling and the brags. The knowledge and technology simmering is constrained by the desire to savagely aspire to monetary gain almost as savagely as the culture sector clings to its a-vent-guard rejection of mainstream banality. Too harsh?

Digital is not new. Audience engagement is not new. COVID is new but a new thing compounded with an old thing that wasn’t acknowledged and resisted just smacks of shortsightedness.

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EVentMB gives me faith that the conversation is awakening. But it’s devoid of creative life. Steel and golden scans or indigo Rosco super gel 59 will not rose tint your world. There is a gulf between entertainment and event I’m not sure a spark can jump far enough. The talent of the performers, the creative flare is missing and every time I attend I admire and marvel as the distant riches but the bright lights... the roar of the greasepaint, smell of the crowd!!! Keeps me here, ultimately poorer but ultimately richer.

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Devoted & Disgruntled 16 - Day 1

  • 2015 DD10 in London but I was so ill I couldn’t leave my accommodation
  • 2016 DD11 my first in Birmingham
  • 2016 the Brexit vote and any chance to further opportunities with Audiences Europe Network ended. 
  • 2017 DD12 in Bristol (I was lost in circumstance)
  • 2018 DD 13 in London (I was lost in circumstance)
  • 2019 DD 14 in Northampton
  • 2020 DD 15 in London was to be a push towards... I’m not really sure.

D&D had become a beacon of progress since 2017 in Birmingham which resulted in meeting Charlotte Gregory which led to working with New Optimists Food Crime musical The Hand That Feeds. I met at that D&D after 20 years, Chris Grady. 2019 had been spent making anything happen. I was in despair. Pushing to make a mark. So began 2020

I didn’t even have the balance in my bank account to fund the train fair to London. This was the point I had to think a new way about the year ahead. I had some savings which I cashed in. The question being would I find a way to earn money or reach the end of the year penniless once more. 

Today at the 2021 DD 16 I recounted this chronology on several occasion. It has been an overwhelming day. Despite retaining my savings and finding projects following the emergence of a pandemic. “What do you do?” changed in 2020 to “Do you do?” I’m far from knowing what the future holds.

First list of 2020 recalled projects

  • Producers Pool online - zoom setup consult
  • The Larder - zoom setup consult
  • Guest lecturer - Mountview Theatre School, Creative Producer MA
  • Consulting Digital Producer - Mountview CPMA Catalyst In The Cloud graduation showcase.
  • Producer - Equity’s Online General Secretary Election Hustings
  • Creative Producer & Digital SM - Green Lib Dem’s annual conference
  • Creative Producer & Digital SM - Arkwright Society Industrial Revolution Conference
  • Digital SM - Notnow Collective - Online live screen the play, Pepper & Honey
  • Digital SM / Showcaller - Ashgate Heritage Arts - produced for YouTube CrookedSpire Musical
  • Royal Historical Society - Digital SM / Showcaller (Zoom Webinar lectures)
  • Consulting Digital Producer / Digital SM - Spark Arts for Children - Spark Festival 
  • LucyLocket Storytime - Creative Producer
  •  LucyLocket Bloggers Programme - Creative Producer
  • Assisting creative producer Kate McStraw
  • Cromford Mills digital visitor experience funded R&D - Creative Producer

With my Dyslexia I forget. Short term fades fast but long term intensifies with passing time. I feel fortunate to be at this point. Making it through 2020.

2021 my word is Mindfulness Back in 2017 at Birmingham D&D it was Legacy.

D&D this year is 6th, 7th and 8th Feb. This was my reflection on Day 1. I spent a frenetic day and ended with my mind exhausted by the sessions called. I will refocus for day 2 to bring away some threads of the sessions called.

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Cybersalon - Dates in the Diary - pt 3

My last trip to London was Wednesday 29th Jan 2020. It was to hand over a project I’d been producing on behalf of the Stage Management Committee.

The Equity SM Buyout Calc - Work in Progress - updates webpage. 

I also attended a meeting with Equity senior management in regards to the Online Branch’s - last stand. 2020 was a progressive year. Our milestones were being awarded funding to explore the development of the branch technology and the assignment of a staff organiser.

I also attended a SafetyCurtain Trustees Meeting before Cybersalon

I had a fabulous overnight stay

Gaming For Good was the last Cybersalon on the ground event I attended

Here is my mini Vlog which I'd neglected to post before now. The practice of capturing short clips and using Quik to mash up a 1 - 3 min video is a good one to master.

If you attend a Cybersalon event be sure to say hello.

Games For Good 3.0 - Tend & Befriend Edition

Cybersalon's Online Record documenting the event - LINK

Last decade will be condemned as a total failure of humanity to work together. Next decade and climate change crisis bring challenges that can only be solved by working together.

Join us on a journey of discovery of games that can skill up our ability to collaborate, from passing weapons, providing covering fire in a firefight, healing or boosting a teammate over obstacles.

Speakers

  • Eva Pascoe (Cybersalon.org) –  a peek into the history of collaborative video gaming
  • Ben Greenway – emotional exploration on how to cooperate with total strangers when no shared language can be found Journey (by ThatGameCompany).
  • Karo Janicka – how to leverage the community to improve village life in Stardew Valley (by Concerned Ape)
  • Simon Sarginson – surviving galactic wars by teaming up with aliens in Startopia (by Mucky Foot)
  • Douglas Rushkoff – author of Cyberia book (1994) and lead of Team Human podcast on  collaboration for the survival of the species

Cybersalon is living despite lockdown. Cyberspace persists!

New Events for your diary for 2021:

2nd February – Tuesday 7 pm -  Zoom
Algorithmic Economy – the good, the bad and the ugly
Artificial Intelligence, Silicon Valley monopolies and platform cooperatives

16th February – Tuesday 7 pm
The Future is Swedish  - Universal Service Network
Ericsson 5G, fibre optic and open source software

2nd March – Tuesday 7 pm
Everyone gets a voice - Massive Multi-Person On-Line Deliberation, Citizens’ assemblies, e-voting and Liquid Democracy

Cybersalon Website

Cybersalon on Eventbrite

Cybersalon Facebook Page

Cybersalon on Twitter


Election Daze Long Eaton - What went down?

Open Space Hurrah!

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  • What is political power?
  • How biased is our political system to protecting the status of a (real) ruling power?
  • Is politics in the UK broken?
  • Is political debate in the UK too narrow or simplistic to take in the dynamic of the wider world?
  • How do we improve/raise voter turnout?
  • Do we really have democracy in the UK?
  • Is voter apathy used as a strategic tool in political thinking?
  • What if we get a hung parliament?
  • What became of the BNP?
  • Is Politics too short-term?
  • Why is politics so short-term?
  • Do we need a new voting system?
  • Did Brexit break tribal politics?
  • Why isn't politics talking about the future impact of IT?

No planned test of the Fire Alarm today.

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At a venue based event, 'housekeeping' tends to include 'there is no planned testing of the fire alarm system today', the location of the toilets, timings of the key elements of the day, invariably the prescribed hashtags and perhaps the wifi code.

TOP TIP:  hashtags, Twitter handles and wifi code should be on 'table talkers' on each table, printed to appear at the top of each page of the event schedule/programme or on an easy to hand out info flyer.

For the extended audience, it's one major thing, 'What to do if the internet goes down'!

Continue reading "No planned test of the Fire Alarm today." »


SMA's Elements of Company Management Workshop

EOCM May 2016

I attended the Stage Management Association's one-day workshop for stagemanagers looking to move up to Company Manager. This was no ordinary workshop. I got my place because an attendee living in Portugal and 9 months pregnant wanted to attend too and I provided digital facilitation via Skype making her attendance possible.

The photo above shows all attendees listening intently.

I'd wanted to try this for a while.

How I did it.

  • MacBook Pro with Skype installed EOCM May 2016 behind
  • Lansing Altec portable speaker
  • Slik Compact II Tripod
  • Logitec C920 HD webcam with built-in mic
  • Lavolta Ergonomic Laptop Table Desk
  • iPad2 with Skype installed
  • Bluetooth mobile keyboard

It's not the most elegant solution but with investment in equipment and the right platform, the sky's the limit. The experience was crucial. Can a workshop be attended remotely with maximum value being received by the remote participant? Good audio and video, check. However, Facilitation is the element that makes this work.

Unlike the equipment, participants are not plug-and-play. Those taking part need a little more direction and attention before the event to ensure the venue, event host, those participating and the online event host (me) establish a common understanding and expectations are managed. On this occasion, it was with the course materials, session speakers and provision to dialogue with the participant.

It's easy to forget that the pile of technology on the desk, wires, camera, speaker and screen are a person.

Patricia attended from Portugal via a Skype setup. Once she was 'dialled in' those attending at the venue could see and hear her and vis-a-vera things fell into place. was very happy. But as a Stagemanager by trade myself, I was very interested in the workshop on a personal level. I am currently considering returning to the theatre and the CM role interests me greatly especially with the social media insights I have gained over the last 10 years.

Overview of the day - in case you are thinking of taking the Elements of Company Management course when it runs next.

Continue reading "SMA's Elements of Company Management Workshop" »