Start Up Awards

Tom O'Connell - Out Of Order

Stage One are delighted to announce that we have awarded a Start-Up Investment of £25,000 to Tom O'Connell for his production of Out Of Order.

    Tom commented that:
"I have been involved with Stage One since I was twenty two years old and now, six years later, receiving the Start Up Award investment is a huge honour - I am hugely appreciative of the support I have received at every step of the way.

From working in a production office (Fiery Angel) as an apprentice, winning a Bursary to develop 'Notes on a Scandal' to now receiving the Start Up Award investment towards our biggest production to date 'Out of Order' by ‘the master of farce’ Ray Cooney, plus all the fellow producer support over the years has been overwhelming.

Investors have always been a integral part of my career, and having two prolific investors as shareholders of Tom O’Connell Productions has enabled me to invest in other productions, buy rights to new worldwide brands and deliver some great returns. I am pleased to say Stage One have been one of our many key investors and have helped me build relationships with new investors and producing partners on projects I am developing for the future including 'Out of Order’ and 'Brokeback Mountain'. Our work with LGBT titles will still continue alongside our more mainstream productions and it is thanks to Stage One we are able to produce these high quality productions."

Dominic Lindesay-Bethune - Gabriel

Stage One are delighted to announce that we have awarded a Start-Up Investment of £22,000 to Dominic Lindesay-Bethune for his tour of Gabriel.

Dominic commented that:
"Having worked professionally in this industry for 15 years, Stage One's support through the Start-Up award has come at the most opportune and crucial time in my career. As a producer, the dedication and investment of energy and money it takes to develop commercial productions is an exciting uphill climb; to have a Stage One mentor and financial investment towards producing these shows is amazing . It gives me the opportunity to make my upcoming productions wildly entertaining and of the highest caliber, as well as creating time to nurture relationships with leading theatres across the country. I am thrilled and humbled to accept the Start-Up award from Stage One."

Denise Silvey - Dead Sheep

Stage One are delighted to announce that we have awarded a Start-Up Investment of £15,000 to Denise Silvey for her tour of Dead Sheep.

Denise commented that:
"I have been involved in nearly every aspect of this business, starting as a performer and then working my way through the ranks in production.  Throughout that whole transition I have known that I have always had the support of Stage One behind me and am hugely appreciative of their assistance in allowing me to move to this next stage.  I took part in the workshop, have received a bursary and now am thrilled to be a recipient of the Start Up Fund.  I am mindful to build commercial productions with the view to yielding returns for our investors and therefore to form long-term relationships with them. I am so pleased that Stage One has become one of them.  To have this continued support from an organisation so established in commercial theatre is essential in providing reassurance for the investors and creative teams on this current production  and also for those that I am developing for the future. Stage One is so important to help nurture the producers of tomorrow, as without them there will be no theatre. I look forward to being in a position in the future to give back all I can to Stage One to aid our future producers."

Johnny Wood - Murder Ballad

Stage One are delighted to announce that we have awarded a Start-Up Investment of £15,000 to Johnny Wood for his production of Murder Ballad. Murder Ballad will be performed at The Arts Theatre in Leicester Square.

Johnny commented that:
"Stage One has been a constant source of advice and guidance since I participated in the workshop back in 2012. When I made the decision to step out on my own it was considerably easier knowing there was an organisation that has a unique remit of championing and supporting new producers. Aside from the financial support on offer, the mentorship that comes packaged with this award will be invaluable to me at this stage of my career.

Each and every producer I have worked with in the past have benefitted directly in some way from Stage One. The bursary and start up awards do not only aid the individuals, it ensures an ever increasing network of potential collaborators, all creating more work, benefitting the industry as a whole. The continued strength of UK theatre will owe a great deal to this charity and the prolific producers it helps to develop.

It is an honour and a privilege to now join the Stage One Alumni by accepting the Start-Up Award for Murder Ballad."

Damien Tracey - Little Shop Of Horros

Stage One are delighted to announce that we have awarded a Start-Up Investment of  £12,500 to Damien Tracey for his production of Little Shop Of Horrors. Damien is co-producing the tour with Sell A Door. 

Damien commented that:
“Having made my entry into theatre through a performance background I was under the impression that Producing was as competitive and cutthroat. It is of course competitive but what has blown me away time and time again is the support that I have received from so many different facets of the industry but none more so then Stage One.  The wisdom, encouragement and guidance that I have received from Stage One has given me the confidence to pursue a career in Commercial Theatre Producing. I have lost count of the amount of Producers I admire that have mentioned Stage One. For me it has not only validated me as a Commercial Producer but it has also validated me to the industry and has opened doors to people that perhaps wouldn’t have been as receptive if my email signature hadn’t Stage One blazed across it. From the Apprenticeship Application, the Workshop, the Bursary and now the Start-up Fund, Stage One’s contribution to me both personally and professionally has been simply invaluable. In such austere times, to have a charity who is completely dedicated to rising up, championing and funding the next generation of Commercial Producers which in turn is helping to secure the future of our theatre industry is truly incredible. I am humbled by their support and cannot wait until I can financially contribute to the Stage One fund so their brilliant work can continue passing the torch to the generation behind mine.”

Simon Friend - Million Dollar Quartet

Stage One are delighted to announce that we have awarded a Start-Up Investment of £20,000 to Simon Friend for the upcoming tour of Million Dollar Quartet. Simon has previously produced for Theatre Royal Bath and Bill Kenwright, however this marks his first independent tour of a musical.

Simon commented that:
"I have been involved with the various strands of Stage One since 2010 and I am hugely appreciative of the support I have received at each juncture. I am careful to build commercial productions with a mind towards yielding returns for the investor and cultivating long-term relationships, and I am pleased that Stage One has become one of them. To have such continued support from an organisation so established in commercial theatre has proved crucial in providing reassurance for partners, investors and creative teams on productions I’m working on now and developing for the future."

Paul Taylor Mills - End of the Rainbow

Stage One are delighted to announce that we have awarded a Start-Up Investment of £13,125 to Paul Taylor Mills for the tour of End of the Rainbow. 

Paul commented that:
“The support I have received from Stage One has been instrumental in my work both in terms of the financial support I have received but just as important, the relationships and skills that I have gained. Having a resource and a support structure where you feel confident to be inquisitive, nosey and down right ambitious makes those difficult moments easier to deal with. Producing can be a lonely and frankly terrifying path and knowing that there is always someone on the other end of the phone that actually wants to help you is hugely comforting. The advice and support is always frank but at the same time optimistic. I feel hugely proud to have come through the Stage One ranks and hope that one day I am in the position to share some of the invaluable lessons that I have learn't thanks to Stage One.  For me, the Start Up Award was the difference between End of the Rainbow happening or not. It gives both a financial security but also a recognition of approval from a body that is highly respected and valued by the industry it works within.“

Sarah Loader - Toast

Stage One is delighted to announce we have awarded a Start-Up Fund Investment of £22,500 to Sarah Loader for the tour of Toast by Richard Bean with her company Snapdragon Productions.

Sarah commented that:
"I heard about Stage One just the right time: I was moving from a comfortable, full time job with huge resources and contacts to a lonely desk in my flat. Stage One introduced me to a network of inspiring freelance producers who create incredible work from the ground up. Within a few months me and my producing partner - the director Eleanor Rhode - had produced three plays very quickly. Thanks to Stage One’s bursary support we were able to focus on the work full time and our contacts and confidence were growing. Next week it will be four years since we won the bursary and I’m so proud to still be working closely with Stage One. Being awarded the Start Up Fund seems a very appropriate way to celebrate!"

Phillip Rowntree - Footloose

Stage One is delighted to announce we have awarded a Start-Up Investment of £37,500 to Phillip Rowntree for the tour of Footloose with his company Hutchinson Rowntree. The show will be co-produced with Runaway Entertainment.

Phillip commented that:
"Stage One's support has come at an integral point in my career as a Producer.  As an organisation they are there to help developing Producers at whichever point in their career that an important boost is required.  As my vision as a Producer grows in scale, Stage One's financial support and the crucial guidance of an industry mentor has provided me the all important industry contacts, an opportunity to develop my knowledge and the confidence to capitalise on that knowledge.  As the only organisation actively championing Producers I am honoured to be recognised and supported."

Martyn Hayes - Dear Lupin

We are delighted to announce that we have awarded Martyn Hayes £22,000 from the Start Up Fund for Dear Lupin, a co-production with Kenny Wax.

Martyn commented that:
"Although I have worked in the West End for many years, and for various companies in a producing capacity, this if the first time that I have "flown solo" as a commercial producer - albeit with the wonderful assistance of my co-producer Kenny Wax.  It is very tough producing a brand new stage comedy without first coming through a subsidised house, so I am most grateful for the Stage One Start Up scheme, and to its supporters, for backing me.  The West End, and the theatre generally, needs new producers, and new work, so schemes like this, and the much-needed financial support and encouragement they give, are invaluable in making this possible."

David Hutchinson - Avenue Q

David Hutchinson has been awarded £25,000 towards the national tour of Avenue Q which starts in Greenwich Theatre on the 23rd April and concludes at the New Oxford Theatre on 16th August 2014. David is co-producing the show with Richard Darbourne, a previous Bursary and Start-Up recipient.

Stephen McGill - The Pajama Game

Stephen McGill will co-produce the West End transfer of Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of The Pajama Game to the Shaftesbury Theatre, alongside Joseph Smith and John Brant, Old Vic Productions and Gavin Kalin.

Tracey Childs - Kindertransport by Diane Samuels

In Germany, in 1939, as the clouds of war thicken, a desperate mother forces her nine year old daughter Eva onto a train, sending her out of danger and into the arms of strangers.

Simon Cummin - Dickens Abridged

Stage One awarded a Start Up Fund to Simmon Cummin for Dickens Abridged at The Arts Theatre, Wednesday 27th November 2013 - Sunday 5th January 2014.

Simon first received a Bursary in 2010 and comments:
“I have gained a lot of experience in commercial producing and received invaluable mentoring and support from Stage One, this has allowed me to confidently grow and nurture my own company to the stage where my first West End show as main producer would be possible. To receive the Start Up fund, governed by a committee of role models and commercial producers at the top of the industry is a great honour.”

Gavin Kalin - A Doll's House

Gavin commented:
“Within seven months I have gone from attending the Stage One New Producer Course to being awarded the Start-up Fund and I could not be happier. Stage One has helped me realise my potential for working as a theatre producer and I thank everyone involved in this fantastic organisation for their continued support and guidance.Within a matter of days I went from watching and falling in love with A Doll's House at the Young Vic, to having dinner with Neil Laidlaw - whom I met at the Stage One New Producer course – to then having detailed discussions with Mark Rubinstein and the Young Vic about joining them as co-producers on the potential West End transfer.”

James Quaife - Barking in Essex

Stage One awarded Start Up investment in April 2013 to James for the upcoming production of Barking in Essex,  directed by Harry Burton which he is co-producing with MJE Productions. Barking in Essex will open at the Wyndham's Theatre in the Autumn starring Lee Evans, Sheila Hancock, Keeley Hawes, Karl Johnson and Montserrat Lombard. James is the first recipient of the Start-Up award at the revised level of £50k which he must match with further investment of £50k giving him a real voice at the producing table. James went through a rigorous application and interview process and was able to demonstrate his passion for the project and aptitude as a new commercial theatre producer. 

James was previously awarded a Stage One Bursary in 2011 and was mentored by Carole Winter and Matthew Gordon at MJE Productions. During a regular catch-up meeting, James overheard a conversation about the play Barking In Essex and asked if he could attend the workshop reading of the play. After the reading, James mentioned to both Carole and Matthew his keen interest on coming on board as producer and to his delight, at the start of this year they agreed for James to be a Co-producer on the production. 

"I am thrilled to have received this investment from the Stage One Start-Up Fund for the West End production of 'Barking In Essex'. To have both the financial support and the support from industry professionals is absolutely crucial with the development of my career as a commercial producer. I am extremely proud and excited to be a part of 'Barking In Essex' and wish to thank MJE Productions and Stage One for allowing me this incredible opportunity" James Quaife

Richard Darbourne – All That Fall

Richard received last minute Start Up funding for his transfer of All That Fall from Jermyn Street Theatre to the Arts Theatre. Richard successfully applied for a Stage One bursary in 2008 and again in 2009 and is a current user of the Stage One new producers office. He has toured work nationally as well as internationally to Berlin, Bilbao, Vienna and New York. He was involved in All That Fall from the outset as Associate Producer for the Jermyn Street Theatre. In 2011 he co-produced Little Eyolf with JST, starring Imogen Stubbs who put the theatre in touch with Trevor Nunn. Jermyn Street produced All That Fall, a radio play by Samuel Beckett, directed by Trevor Nunn, and starring Michael Gambon and Eileen Atkins and Richard then produced the transfer, securing the necessary capital and rights as well as arranging the deals for the new show whilst managing all aspects of the transfer. As lead producer he was able to make valuable relationships within the industry whilst providing a return to his investors. The initial run sold out in three days and received critical acclaim including an Evening Standard Award nomination for Eileen Atkins.

The success of All That Fall has provided Richard the springboard to mount future commercial productions, which he is now exploring.

Tracey Childs – Haunting Julia 

Following a bursary award, Tracey also received a small Start Up investment for her production of  Alan Ayckbourn’s Haunting Julia which embarked on a 13 week tour starting in Colchester on 29 August 2012.

Tracey commented:
“To give a new Producer help with investment is superb, to also allow that new Producer to benefit from the support and wisdom of all the Stage One members is invaluable. I cannot thank the Board enough for its generosity and the fabulous vote of confidence in the Autumn tour of Alan Ayckbourn’s Haunting Julia.” Tracey Childs

Sue Scott Davison – Our Boys

Sue received Start Up Funding for her co-production of Our Boys starring Laurence Fox and Matthew Lewis which opened at The Duchess Theatre on 26th September 2012. Back in 2005, Sue was a young producer who applied for a Stage One bursary of £15,000 to help her produce Liberty.

Sue commented:
I am thrilled and extremely honoured to be acknowledged by Stage One. Receiving the Bursary when I began producing was so valuable, and enabled me to take the plunge into the risky world of commercial theatre. Having been awarded the Start Up Fund, I am now able to take an equal place alongside my co-producers on a West End production, with the security of knowing I will continue to be supported and encouraged by Stage One."

Patrick Lynch – Less Than Kind

He received Start Up Funding in early 2012 for his No 1 tour of ‘Less Than Kind’ by Terence Rattigan. This 'lost play' by the renowned author had an acclaimed  off West End début  at the Jermyn St Theatre and then toured nationally beginning at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford in Spring 2012.    

Eleanor Lloyd - Butley

Eleanor is an independent producer and theatre general manager. In 2009 she was a finalist in the British Councils Young Performing Arts Entrepreneur Award. She is a member of the Society of London Theatre.

Ros Povey – Love Story

A member of The Society of London Theatre since 2009, Ros was awarded the Stage One Start up Fund to co-produce the transfer of Love Story the Musical, which received an Olivier nomination for Best New Musical in 2010.

Becky Barber - Birdsong

Becky Barber Productions is an independent commercial theatre producer. Independent work includes Associate Producer on Sweeney Todd (Adelphi Theatre, winner of the Ned Sherrin award for Best Musical, Evening Standard awards), Producer on Birdsong (Comedy Theatre) – her first major West End production as an independent producer for which she received Start Up Funding 2010, and Associate Producer on Only The Brave (Edinburgh Festival).