After spending several years as an actress and singer in the West End, Denise took the Stage One producers' workshop in 2001, she then received the New Producers' bursary in 2004.  She has worked as a Production co-ordinator for Fiery Angel and for the last seven years has been the Production Supervisor on the West End production of The Mousetrap, she has taken productions of the play to China and the Far East and has also been a consultant and casting director on the 60th Anniversary national tour.  Alongside these jobs she has run her own production company Cahoots Theatre Company since 2000 and in the last few years has produced successful shows in Edinburgh, 59E59 in New York and most recently Dead Sheep and An Audience With Jimmy Savile at Park Theatre.  She returns to the Park later this year with The Roundabout by JB Priestley and Deny Deny Deny by Jonathan Maitland and is pleased to welcome Andrew Mills, who has been Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen’s General Manager for the past 10 years, to Cahoots.

She has recently been the recipient of the Stage One Start Up Fund for the national tour of Dead Sheep by Jonathan Maitland and directed by Ian Talbot.  This will be touring Britain in autumn 2016 with Steve Nallon, Paul Bradley, Carol Royle, Graham Seed, Tony Bell and John Wark.

What does Stage One mean to you?
Stage One was been a great support to me ever since I took part in the producers' workshop back in 2001.  Through that I made friends and contacts that I still have and it's great to see how many people from that particular course are still working producers today.  Taking part in the workshop gave me the confidence to realise that it was possible to pursue this as a career. Having the credibility and backing of Stage One is a huge asset for all of us.  I also received a bursary in 2004 enabling me to further my producing career.  Now I have the honour of being awarded the Start Up Fund to take my producing to the next level, and this means a lot to me. I have lived with Dead Sheep since it's virtual inception and to now see it grow to where it is today, largely due to the back up of Stage One, gives me an extraordinary feeling of achievement and gratitude.

Last show you saw and loved?
That's a tough one as there's an awful lot of good theatre out there at the moment.  I think I have to say Showboat at the New London, originally from Sheffield.  It's such a beautifully structured piece and really well directed, staged and performed.  The production values are high and it's just a wonderful, escapist evening in the theatre.   I might be a little bit biased though as I was in the show at the Palladium many years ago so it holds a lot of happy memories for me.  Of course, good theatre creates special memories.  If I hadn't been introduced to theatre at a very young age by my parents, I probably wouldn't be doing what I do today.

What do you think, is the best thing about the Theatre Industry?
I think working in Theatre is a vocation.  I doubt many of us do it just as a job; we do it because we have to and a lot of us have fought long and hard to be where we are.  I've worked my way through the business, starting as a performer; I've been an agent and now a producer.    I love the collaboration this industry gives us.  By the blending of an extraordinary amount of talent from like-minded people, actors, designers, directors, writers, managers etc we can create something rather special and with aid of Stage One and other investors they allow this creation to take place.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
“Get a good accountant”.  That is so true.  Someone who can support you and tell you what you need to know, even if you don't want to hear it sometimes.  “Never promise something that you can't deliver”, is also very important.  Another thing that I've learned through all the aspects of this business is that if you treat everyone with the same level of respect and understanding, whoever they are, it makes life a lot easier, and makes for a much happier working environment.  Also people are more likely to support you and want to work with you again.

To apply to the Bursary scheme, click HERE
To find out further details on our Start Up Fund, click HERE