INTERVIEW WITH SOPHIE IGNATIEFF

Currently Sophie is the Stage One Trainee Producer at West Yorkshire Playhouse. Prior to this Sophie was Assistant Producer at Manchester International Festival, working on Tree of Codes at the festival and on tour internationally. She has also worked for the National Theatre Studio, National Theatre Learning, Camden Council's Arts and Tourism team and freelance as a producer for performance parkour company, Urban Playground.

At the moment you are…
Stage One Regional Producer at West Yorkshire Playhouse. I'm producing a huge range of projects including Blackthorn, a beautiful piece of new writing by a first-time writer from Yorkshire, as well as Rudolf, a lovely full of movement and music piece for children this Christmas. I'm also producing Tiny Shoes, an audio drama which takes place through headphones. It explores the Brontes’ legacy for readers as a touchstone throughout their lives and their home, the Parsonage in Haworth, as a place of pilgrimage. We’re working in partnership with the Bronte Parsonage Museum and it’s a really exciting new area of artistic activity for me and the Playhouse. We’re offering the piece at the Parsonage Museum, online and at the Playhouse. It’s been fascinating thinking through the audience experience from every angle across all three different ways of experiencing it, to ensure the artists' work really lands.

What does Stage One mean to you?
It’s such a wonderful thing to have an organisation solely devoted to supporting theatre producers throughout their careers. The industry needs more producers and Stage One helps to develop them!

Last show you saw and loved?
I've just come back from Edinburgh, seeing work we might be interested in presenting and by artists we've been working with. The show that blew me away was Expensive Shit by Adura Onashile at the Traverse; set in a Glasgow club toilet and flashing back to Fela Kuti’s Kalakuta club. It's a devastating exploration of the webs of power that women cannot escape in countries all over the world, no matter how ‘developed’ they purport to be. It's raw, passionate and left me feeling like I’d been punched in the stomach. It also has some incredible Nigerian music!

What do you think, is the best thing about the Theatre Industry?
The connections and the friendships formed; I couldn't imagine working in any other field. The whole industry is based on relationships. The bonds formed when working collaboratively can last a very long time and produce amazing work.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
I've been lucky enough to work with some amazing producers who have been incredibly generous with me. My previous boss told me to listen. There are lots of different types of producers; personally, I’m interested in facilitating artists to make the most exciting work that they can, to be all that they can be. To do that you have to listen to what an artist really needs.

If you're an organisation interested in hosting a trainee Producer in 2017-18 please contact enquiries@stageone.uk.com or call 020 7557 6737.

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