INTERVIEW WITH HENRY BAYS

Henry is assisting with the many productions at Emma Brunjes Productions and co-founded Strictly Arts Theatre upon graduating from Birmingham School of Acting. During his early time with Strictly Arts Theatre he was an actor first and an administrator/producer through necessity however this quickly changed as he realised he had a much greater passion for producing. Deciding that he wanted to focus on a career as a producer, Henry attended Stage One’s Workshop for New Producers which is where he first met Emma Brunjes. He also assisted on Mongrel Thumb’s production of 'The Dead Monkey' at the Park Theatre.

At the moment you are…
I am working on the Grumpy Old Women UK Tour, that opened last Friday, as well as the upcoming My Fair Lady 60th Anniversary Celebration at the Actor's Church and various projects going to the Edinburgh Fringe with EBP.
For Strictly Arts Theatre Company, I am working on Green Leaves Fall and William Freeman (Working title) which will be at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry between 26th Sept and 8th Oct this year. This is particularly exciting for the company because, having secured Arts Council funding and Springboard Company status with the Belgrade, this will be our official launch.

What does Stage One mean to you?
Stage One has been essential in my switch from acting to producing. The new producers workshop was brilliant, not only for teaching me things that I had never considered before but also in inspiring me to strive towards bigger and bolder productions. The continued support and networking opportunities are vital as well to keeping up with this ever changing industry.

Last show you saw and loved?
The last show that I not only loved but was truly astounded by was The Father at Wyndham's Theatre. I've never been as affected by a play as I was by this. It was heart wrenching and everything about the production was fantastic. That one will stay with me for a while.

What do you think, is the best thing about the Theatre Industry?
How inclusive and supportive it is. I think because of the tough and unpredictable nature of the business everyone is willing to help or take time to talk to you if you are struggling. When I was starting out I met with plenty of producers who were willing to take time out of their day to talk to me and offer advice about all kinds of things. There's a relatively small amount of people in the industry and we all have the ability to empathise (which is why we love going to the theatre) which leads to the phenomenal support network that exists.
I think there is more that can be done to further diversify the audiences we appeal to, as well as the people who work in the industry, which is why I'm so passionate about Strictly Arts, but the theatre industry has been making big strides in the last few years to do that.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
Talk to people, ask questions, learn from the ones who have already been there and done it. Then get out there and DO IT!

Click here to find out further details on our Stage One New Producers' Workshop.