INTERVIEW WITH AIDAN GROUNDS AND NATHAN BRINE

AIDAN GROUNDS - Current Stage One Regional Trainee Producer with The Nuffield Theatre Southampton and Previous Bursary Recipient

Aidan is currently Assistant Producer, Stage One Trainee Producer at Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. Previously he was Executive Director at Reading Rep, which he joined shortly after its inception in July 2012. For Reading Rep, he produced 11 productions including the premieres of A Little History of the World with the Watermill Theatre and The Nativity Goes Wrong with Mischief Theatre. He also founded and runs ABG Productions, received a Stage One New Producers Bursary in 2014, and is currently Associate Producer on Avenue Q with Sell A Door and Richard Darbourne.

At the moment you are…
Assistant Producer at Nuffield Theatre. It is a brilliant place to be doing my Stage One Producer Placement because it is a subsidised regional theatre which is growing quickly and producing bold new work with commercial potential.
Our production of A Number has recently finished a sell-out run at the Young Vic and is now on in Southampton. Next week, rehearsals begin for Glass Menagerie. It will be directed by Sam Hodges and the cast includes Belinda Lang and Danny Lee Wynter. I am also working on the development of some very exciting shows, including a new musical. In 2017, Nuffield will be running a new multi-space arts venue as well as our current theatre and plans are evolving daily.
For ABG Productions, Avenue Q is touring the UK and Laughing Stock are performing at Underbelly in Edinburgh. I’ve also just returned from Japan where I was working with Thelma Holt, who is an inspirational mentor.

What does Stage One mean to you?
Stage One has given me the confidence to say that I am (or am becoming) a producer. After receiving a Stage One New Producers Bursary, many doors have been opened and I’ve been unafraid to ask questions, meet producers and build collaborative relationships. It has enabled me to develop an understanding of the necessary ingredients for a show to become commercially successful. 

Last show you saw and loved?
This is a biased answer… A Little History of the World, which was a co-production between Reading Rep and the Watermill. It was the last show I worked on at Reading Rep - we’d spent almost three years securing the rights and developing the script and it was thrilling to see it playing to packed houses of all ages and receiving great reviews. Plans are beginning to fall into place to develop the show further and take it on a larger scale tour.

What do you think the best thing is about the Theatre Industry?
I wanted to work in theatre (and one day film) because I am passionate about growing a seed of an idea into a fully formed piece, which is created by a large, multi-talented and creative team who are all working together towards the shared goal of entertaining and sometimes challenging audiences.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
It’s ok to make mistakes, but learn from them quickly and ensure they’re never repeated. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Work with the best people and make work that excites you.

For more information on the Glass Menagerie click HERE
For more information on Avenue Q click HERE

@nuffieldtheatre
@AvenueQUKTour

NATHAN BRINE - Current Stage One Regional Trainee Producer with The Mercury Theatre Colchester

Nathan trained as an actor and worked in front of audiences for nearly 10 years before realising his true passion was for producing. Having worked in every facet of the industry , including as a Front of House Manager for 5 years at ArtsEd as well as in all areas of the technical side of theatre, Nathan found himself taking on producing projects without initially realising he was doing so. This led to him producing his first solo project in 2009 under the banner of The Mechanicals Productions a site specific, semi promenade butchered version of A Midsummer Nights Dream. Following the success of this Nathan moved into producing for Television and Film, working extensively with Turtle Canyon Media at Pinewood Studios.
The lure of the theatre was always going to be too strong however and Nathan returned to producing theatre in 2011 where he worked on producing a workshop of a brand new musical, based loosely on Wind in the Willows which was presented to ATG. In early 2015 Nathan created NB Productions and produced and directed their debut show Next Door – An Awkward Love Story at the Tabard Theatre in January this year.
He has also been Associate Producer on a number of events in support of The Tommy Vine Fund, a new charity set up in memory of actor Tommy Vine who died in 2013. The charity supports and provides financial help to young people in the arts. Nathan is currently the Stage One Regional Trainee Producer at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester and feels so privileged to be doing so, and equally as important he is loving every second of it.

At the moment you are…
...currently half way through my time as a Stage One Trainee Producer at The Mercury Theatre, Colchester.

What does Stage One mean to you?
Stage One means the absolute world to me, without it I truly believe the industry would be starved of so many creative, hungry and stupidly talented new producers who just wouldn't know where and how to start. On the contact/networking front alone Stage One open doors and conversations with an immense array of people who's knowledge, skills and personalities would be nigh-on impossible to find in a world without Stage One.

Last show you saw and loved?
The last show I saw and loved? That's a difficult one as I have been very lucky to be involved with 3 amazing productions in my time at The Mercury.; Noises Off, Little Shop of Horrors and currently James and the Giant Peach. These were all absolutely incredible (and in my opinion as good as anything I've seen in the West End - and that's honestly without any level of bias). Apart from the Made In Colchester Shows, there are 2 shows that I saw in the not too distant past that I loved for different reasons; for sheer 'in your face, blow your socks off' energy and musical talent was Memphis with Killian Donnelly and Beverley Knight, who were both incredible and reminded me why I love musical theatre. Whereas going back a little further, The Ruling Class with James McAvoy and Ron Cooke at Trafalgar Studios blew me away. To take a show that hadn't been touched for 30 years and breathe new life into it was extraordinary.

What do you think, is the best thing about the Theatre Industry?
For me, the best thing about the Theatre Industry is it's love. I know that sounds a little weird, but nearly everyone I've met along my path in this industry is doing what they do because of love (we all know it's not for money!). Love for the theatre, love for a particular playwright/director/actor/subject matter/producer etc. Producers want other Producers to do well and they want to love their work. Yes there's competition, of course there is, there has to be in order to keep everyone on their toes and striving to create the best work possible.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
I've really had to think hard about this one as I have been extremely lucky to have been given advice by many extremely talented and successful people - the obvious one is; 'There are no stupid questions, only stupid people who don't ask questions'. However, I did receive what I think could possibly be the best piece of advice ever from an extremely successful Producer and Sir who shall remain nameless because I'll warn you in advance I'll have to censor it a little. It was 'Nathan, Darling, the only piece of advice I can give you about producing is this - find a show, raise the money, put it on, PAY EVERYONE and get through it all without anyone calling you a ****, then my boy you're a producer!'