INTERVIEW WITH CAITLIN ALBERY BEAVAN & TOM MILLER
Moya was formed by Caitlin Albery Beavan and Aron Rollin in 2012. They first produced the UK premiere of Philip Ridley’s Shivered at the Southwark Playhouse, which gained critical acclaim and nominations, including Best New Play at the WhatsOnStage Awards. Moya then collaborated with RADA and Secret/Heart in presenting the UK premier of Tony Kushner’s The Illusion at Southwark Playhouse and Vassily Sigarev’s Ladybird at the New Diorama. Subsequently Moya have produced three shows at the Trafalgar Studios (Mrs Lowry and Son by Martyn Hesford, Third Finger, Left Hand by Dermot Canavan and Boa by Clara Brennan) and has also worked at the Hampstead Theatre producing The Glass Supper by Martyn Hesford. Moya’s first foray into the mainstream of the West End was as associate producer of The Mentalists with Stephen Merchant at the Wyndham’s Theatre.
Tom Miller has been producing with Moya since 2013 after receiving a Stage One Bursary in 2012. Caitlin was also a Stage One Bursary recipient in 2011 to assist her with the set-up for her production company Moya. We caught up with them both ahead of a busy summer planned for Moya to find out more about working in both the fringe and West End theatre worlds...
At the moment you are…
We are producing a new play, Dyl by Mark Weinman at the Old Red Lion Theatre in Islington. Clive Judd the new Artistic Director of the ORL is directing it as his inaugural play. We are also Associate producers on a children (and adults) show The Hunting of the Snark, which will sit on top of the main show at the Vaudeville for 6 weeks before embarking on a tour.
After working extensively on the fringe circuit but also in the West End, in your opinions what would you classify as the main 3 differences between working within both areas?
- Marketing budget
In West End theatre around a quarter of your capitalisation (or more) will be towards your marketing budget. In fringe, the marketing budget is minimal, confined in large to Facebook and print. The reviews are your main marketing material… which can make the next point more scary!
- Length of preview period
In the fringe you are lucky if you have 2-3 preview shows before you put the show in front of the press. This is risky, especially if it is a new play or tech heavy and needs more time to breathe in front of an audience and for revisions to be made. At Moya we always try and give our shows the longest preview period possible even if it means taking a hit with the preview ticket prices. Ultimately you will have a better show and a more rewarding experience.
- Scale of involvement
Although Moya has now worked a couple of times in the West End we are yet to lead a show but always been an Associate or Co producer. Our level of control has therefore been limited. On our fringe shows, as we General Manage and Produce, we become everything from van driver to stand in ASM to stage sweeper etc. We have always loved being part of the team, creating and collaborating together. As we grow in to our West End producer role it will be very exciting to see our level of involvement rise but for now it is also good to be part of the action but stand back, observe and learn so we can go in as best prepared as possible.
What does Stage One mean to you and how has Stage One developed both your careers?
CAB – Stage One has been the most informative part of my producing life. It awarded and trusted me with money, which in turn gave me confidence and something solid with which to learn and practise. Most importantly Stage One allowed meet to meet and remain close friends with other producers. As a support network, which you can need a lot in producing, it is invaluable.
TM - Like Caitlin, it was my first real insight into producing at a more enhanced commercial level - until then I was just putting on fringe shows in the hope it would make a buck without much formality. For everyone, Stage One is a big eye-opener into the reality of the industry; most of whom asked themselves afterwards 'is this for me?’ Career wise - I was turned down by all the Stage One regional apprentice interviews I attended; a blessing in disguise perhaps?
When did you first discover your passions for theatre and what was your journey to becoming a Theatre Producer?
CAB – I have grown up in the theatre so I had no hope! My first real moment of knowing I wanted to be involved was when my father took me to see Ian Talbot’s production of Kiss Me Kate at the Regent’s Park Theatre and I knew I was destined to be a musical theatre star. That has still not occurred and I didn’t even have the confidence to audition for drama school post University so it was never going to happen! At Manchester University, a group of us formed a company called Spare Parts and I suppose I naturally became the organising role. I still didn’t really know what producing was about till much later though.
TM - I can't remember. Young. I first started out producing films as that was the only medium I was exposed to for inspiration at a young age. Deciding to go down the route of acting introduced me to the theatre, then I think I was involved in so many god forsakenly terrible productions, I thought 'Jesus, how hard can it be to produce a show properly!'. Ignorance - that's what got me into this mayhem!
You’ve dealt with big actors in the past, how do you keep your actors motivated during the run of a show?
Luckily motivation has not been a problem for us – yet! Mainly when we have worked closely with big actors it has been because we have bought them into the fringe or smaller environment. Usually that is because they have a real connection to the piece. It has also been a thrilling experience for them to have the audience so close, they know they can never rest for one moment on the stage.
Last show you saw and loved?
CAB – I was lucky enough to see Harry Potter and it was fantastic.
TM – Filthy Business, Hampstead Theatre.
What do you think, is the best thing about the Theatre Industry?
CAB - Without a doubt it has to be the people. There is not a lot of money going round in the theatre industry so everyone is in this because they are passionate, supportive and energised about theatre and its potential. It can seem like an extended network of friends…
TM – I entirely agree!
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
CAB – "Bite sized chunks!"
TM – "Don’t f*** it up!"
To find out more about the Stage One Bursary - click HERE
To find out more about Moya - click HERE.