Freelance theatre and events producer Justin Treadwell operates with the business name Anarchy Division. He specialises in working with artists who may not otherwise have a platform, and he feels need to be seen and heard.
When starting the Re:Create 2021 programme, Justin’s priorities were to strengthen his peer network, as well as recover from the impacts that Covid-19 had on his work. He also saw Covid-19 as an opportunity to branch out into new areas of art and performance, and enable him to move from operating part time to working full time as a producer.
Before the support, Justin felt that he had least skills and confidence in creating a business and operational plan. He also thought being reliant on grant funding, which he describes as “…inconsistent and highly competitive…”, as a barrier to him building his business in a sustainable way. He goes on to say:
“I could particularly use support in terms of identifying and accessing financial resources that I might not otherwise be aware of. I also thus don’t have much resilience as it currently stands - I’m in a lucky enough position to have good personal/family resources to draw upon, but there’s not enough turnover for me to be saving money (and thus transitioning to producing full-time.)”
With support, Justin’s aims for his business are to build a solid network of collaborators and improve his marketing so his company becomes a recognisable name. Underpinning this is his aim to have financial security: “Given the structure of theatre and events, I of course usually have to invest money well in advance of any potential returns, so I’d hope to have reliable grant funding secured (or at least forecastable) – plus a good turnover!”
Justin was matched with business advisor John Stalker (who is himself a theatre producer) for 3 hours of 1:1 support. In the 1:1 sessions the focus became understanding Justin’s knowledge gaps, priorities and finance needed for future productions. John was able to advise on venue choices, and also recommended other sources of support, such as the Independent Theatre Council. In terms of raising finance, knowledge was shared on pitching for commercial investment and donations.
Justin attended one of the three Skills and Networking events, and found the 1:1 support the most effective, stating, “The ability to tailor the 1-1 advice was brilliant, and I had a wonderful mentor … I’m really grateful for his advice! I also enjoyed meeting the other people on the programme, and made some great contacts out of that.”
His skills and confidence improved, with his scores for both creating a business plan and operational planning rising from 1 out of 5, to 5 out of 5. He also increased his understanding of “Seeking investment & backing – setting growth targets for the company and developing it.”
The programme was able to unlock a path for him. It “Helped clarify and pull together a specific vision, not just in terms of mission statement but also a specific growth plan beyond the current stage, which I had been stuck at for a while!”
Joan was matched with business coach Nat Harrison. In her three 1:1 sessions they focused on practical strategies to enable Joan to better promote her business online, and connect with potential clients locally. This included knowledge sharing to improve the visibility of her website, connect and communicate via Facebook and engage with local parents’ groups.
Joan also attended 2 of the 3 Skills and Networking events. Both these and the 1:1 support Joan found extremely effective, with her stating, “Being held to account was really helpful when I wasn’t feeling confident.”
In terms of skills and confidence, Joan went from scoring herself 0 out of 5 for marketing and sales, PR and publicity and digital/the web, to scoring 5 out of 5. Joan told us, “It was useful having a oneto-one advisor to help with digital skills I just didn’t have. It was also good having someone to spot mental blocks.”
Because of the programme, Joan feels her business is more resilient: