Producer Profile: Chris Clegg & Death Drop
Coming from a working class northern family, Chris has carved out a name for himself within the industry as an independent producer who brings fresh talent and ideas to the forefront. Chris is a producer with a broad spectrum of skills and passions. A love for Drag entertainment, queer work & musical theatre blends together for him to create quirky, but highly commercial work.
Could you talk us through the initial set up of your company Tuckshop?
TuckShop came about as a way to mix my history in the drag community, my producing background, and a sprinkling of marketing knowledge. I think there was a gap in a market for high end drag company, that pushed the art form and stepped it up from just “line-up” variety type nights, performing in bars and clubs, and showing the world that these performers are extremely talented and deserve a bigger stage.
This is the first production you've produced with Trafalgar Entertainment, which came following the success of Cinderella at Trafalgar Studios 1 last year. What advice can you give to newer producers on establishing relationships with your co-producers?
Cinderella started out as a smaller idea for us originally, just a bit of fun. I’d produced a couple of West End shows before (very small ones, short runs) but I thought I’d try my luck with some bigger venues. When I took it to Trafalgar Entertainment they decided to take a risk on this upcoming drag-production company, thinking it was a fun way to keep the theatre open and buzzing on a dark Sunday. The production went so well, the cast were incredible, and we sold out the entire run and proved the format of drag entertainment on a larger scale could work. After the success and response we sat down together to talk about other projects. Death Drop is an idea I have been working on for a while, and we talked about various shows TuckShop has in development, and this one just resonated. For newer producers and production companies, it’s all about the idea, its commercial potential, and having a good enough dialogue to know what strengths you can bring to the table, and what you need to rely on them for. Trafalgar Entertainment are so skilled at large productions, so they brought an incredible team and structure to blend with the creative process that TuckShop provide.
What are some specific skills from your marketing & events experience that you bring into your role as producer?
I am very particular about artwork, about imagery, and about how we sell shows. Coming from a graphic design background, and as head of marketing for Bill Kenwright for two years I have a good range of knowledge that feeds into how we produce the show from a commercial point of view… there’s no point making theatre if people don’t come and see it, so whether that's the title, the cast, the poster or the trailer, you need to entice an audience. If you don’t have that skillset yourself as a producer, make sure you team up with a good marketing person/team who you vibe with and can bounce off.
How have you adjusted your marketing strategy opening a show during COVID-19?
We’ve not done much different for this show actually. We have incorporated some safety messaging for ticket buyers, but we want this show to be an escape and a time and place they can laugh and forget the troubles of the world. Nimax theatres have done an incredible job making venues COVID secure, and getting that message out.
Why should we come and see Death Drop?
Because it’s genuinely hilarious, and people need to laugh right now. The writing, production and performances are brilliant and it's like nothing the West End has ever seen before. It’s important to support newer producers taking risks, a cast of LGBTQ+ performers many of them making their West End debuts, and most importantly to help get the West End and theatre industry back on track after a hard year for us all.
What has this experience taught you as a producer?
It's taught me that things get in the way. COVID has been a nightmare for all, but it helps you to really become a problem solver. Working with Trafalgar Entertainment has taught me about collaboration and how to co-produce with a company much larger and more versed in these sort of productions… and I’ve loved every minute of it!
Death Drop, Garrick Theatre
3rd December – 17th January
Murder can be such a Drag.
Starring RuPaul’s Drag Race superstars Courtney Act and Monét X Change, this brand-new comedy is an historic West End first bringing together a full cast of leading drag performers, in a hilarious murder mystery like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
It’s 1991 and a gaggle of guests gather on Tuck Island for a soirée like no other. The tension rises as the outrageous guests reveal their suspicious and sordid pasts, and one by one they sashay away, until at the last, nerve-shredding, side-splitting moment the surviving guests find out who-dunnit!
The Garrick Theatre operates strictly under the government COVID-19 guidelines. For further information check their COVID-19 secure information page. All bookings in a party must only be from the same household or the legally defined support bubble.