INTERVIEW WITH JOE BROWN

Joe is currently Production Associate for Emma Brünjes Productions, where he both line manages the theatre department and general manages a wide variety of commercial productions. Prior to joining Emma Brünjes Productions Joe worked for the RSC on their production of Matilda The Musical in London’s West End. Joe has previously worked for the Bush Theatre, Theatre 503 and Theatre Royal Stratford East.

As an Independent Theatre Producer credits include: HAIR The Musical (The Vaults), tick tick...BOOM! (Park Theatre), I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard (Finborough Theatre), Iconic – A Brief History of Drag (Underbelly Festival Southbank and St James Studio), Exactly Like You (Old Red Lion Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Underbelly, Live at Zedel and Vault Festival), Andy Capp The Musical (Finborough Theatre), Dirty Laundry (Latitude Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Underbelly), Lost in the Neuron Forest (for Bread & Goose – UK tour) and Hurried Steps (for New Shoes Theatre – Three UK tours).
In 2017 Joe attended the Stage One New Producers’ Workshop and was awarded a Stage One Bursary.

At the moment you are…
Production Associate for Emma Brünjes Productions. I am also independently producing Iconic – A Brief History Of Drag at the Underbelly Festival on Southbank and Associate Producer on the 50th Anniversary production of HAIR The Musical at the Vaults.

After juggling working for a West End Producer as well as independently producing your own shows, how do you manage to prioritise both roles?
Litres of Lucozade to keep my energy levels up and a lot of planning. I have to organise my time and coordinate my week to the smallest detail, but be ready for all that to be thrown up in the air, as we are in theatre and everything is reactive. I can only thank Emma for her eternal support and for allowing me to continue to pursue my own work. Not all bosses would allow their employees the freedom to produce independently.

What does Stage One mean to you and how has Stage One developed your career?
Stage One has played a vital role in my development as a Producer. The training and financial support has been essential for me setting up my own company and taking my freelance producing to the next level. They have introduced me to many collaborators, mentors and friends. I really wouldn’t be where I am today without their support and guidance. Stage One is there for you throughout your career and will be with you every step of the way!

When did you first discover your passion for theatre and what was your journey to becoming a Theatre Producer?
As a child I was extremely shy. My parents took me to my local am dram group to try and build up my confidence. During the sessions they would sit next to me and slowly over the course of a year would move from right by my side, to the back of the room, then into their car, until finally they could leave altogether. I guess I caught the theatre bug then. After years of the am dram life I decided to set up my own local youth theatre in a church hall. Funding it by selling bacon sandwiches to the church goers and bag packing at our local Asda.
The Youth Theatre started with me and 4 friends, then over the course of 2 years we developed into a 30 strong company performing in our local 500 seat theatre. A 16 year old me didn’t know exactly what to call what I was doing. When I left college I took the big move to London to study Drama, Applied Theatre and Education at Central. It was there that I started to realise what I had been doing for the past few years… it was producing. I knew then it was what I wanted to pursue as a career. 
The fantastic producer, Rachel Tyson met with me for a coffee to give me some advice and put me in touch with a writer who was looking for a producer to take their show to the Edinburgh Festival. With no real professional experience I threw myself in and learned more than I could have imagined from producing my first Fringe show. As they say the rest is history…

Last show you saw and loved?
Working The Musical at Southwark Playhouse, it’s great to see Stage One Alumni championing fantastic work.

What do you think, is the best thing about the Theatre Industry?
It has to be the people and the sense of community. Everybody has an open door and always willing to share their knowledge and previous experiences. You can contact anybody in the industry and nine times out of ten they will be there to help. 

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
Be a sponge (but maybe not as wet…) and learn from everybody around you and take it all in. Heed both the good advice and the bad, as it may come in useful in the future.

To learn how the Stage One Workshop and Bursary could help your career development visit our website!
To find out more about Joe Brown’s productions click HERE or follow Joe on @joecbrownn