Producer Profile: Grace Dickson & Mitchell Reeve


Stage One’s New York Exchange with Columbia University

Back in September, we took 12 Stage One Producers to New York City to complete our exchange programme with Columbia University. It was our producers’ turn to learn about producing on Broadway.

They took part in a week of sessions covering everything from fundraising and copyright, ticketing, marketing, touring, as well as the different not-for-profit models and labor unions in the US. It was a jam-packed week where they seemed to learn loads and take in all the shows!

Upcoming in March 2024, 12 American producers will come to London to take part in a week long Stage One course about producing in the West End; and now we’re looking for our next cohort of UK producers to take part in the exchange.

If interested in hearing more about the programme, you can click here for more information.

Read on below to hear from some two of our producers who went to New York about their experiences, Grace and Mitchell.


Q&A with Grace Dickson 

What’s the biggest difference between producing on the West End vs Broadway?

The biggest difference is of course the money. It’s expensive to produce theatre by any means, but on Broadway it can be over 7 times more costly than the West End for a show of the same scale and ambition. A lot of this is down to the amount of unions that NYC productions have to negotiate with (can be up to 17), whereas in the UK you’re only ever dealing with 3. There’s a huge amount of regulation and protection around theatre across the US, which has huge positives for freelance workers that we don’t have in the UK, but definitely is a mountain to climb for producers in terms of budget and logistics.

What’s the most exciting thing and most difficult thing about producing on Broadway?

Out of town try-outs seems quite similar to premiering regional productions in the UK, but it seems to be a much more recognised model of producing in the States. Working with a not-for-profit theatre (of which there are of course far more of in the USA) to develop and then enhance a new show allows you to balance the commerciality of a show with meaningful connections to audiences and communities, which is what I am interested in as a producer.

The trickiest element, particularly if you’re new to Broadway producing, is the legal side of things. There is vastly more federal and state legislation around investing in theatre, with a totally different legal set up for producers and investors – definitely something that you’d need an experienced legal team to assist with.


What’s your favourite show that you saw while in New York?

Some Like It Hot!

It’s one of my favourite films, so I was nervous to see it onstage. The choreography is some of the best I’ve ever seen (including a tap chase sequence with doors that deserved the Tony on its own!), and it retains that gorgeous old Hollywood glamour that I’m a total sucker for. The writers had updated the story beautifully and gently to modernise the conversation around gender identity, without it feeling contrived. It was also a real privilege to see such brilliant authentic non-binary representation in a show like this. It was the first ticket I booked when I knew I’d gotten onto the exchange, and it really fulfilled my dream to see a big glitzy Broadway musical!

Any advice for someone looking to produce on Broadway or in the US?

Get a lawyer! (And do the Stage One x Columbia Exchange programme…)


Q&A with Mitchell Reeve

What’s the biggest difference between producing on the West End vs Broadway?

The costs! Producing on Broadway is expensive, which is then passed onto the audiences, so you can see why there is such a large disparity in ticket pricing between Broadway and the West End. Unions too, there are 13 unions to work with when on Broadway, which are all on separate deals, this is a huge difference from the 3 we have in the UK!

Besides the programme, what’s your favourite thing about New York City?

My favourite thing about New York is definitely the people. I find New Yorkers to be the most straight talking people, that you know exactly where you stand – it’s refreshing. I also adore that there is always something to do/see, like London, New York is a bustling creative hub. I also can’t forget to mention dollar slice pizza and the unlimited variety of bagels!

What’s one thing you learned that you’ll be taking forward in your work?

Delegation! As your company grows, it’s important to understand that you don’t need to be an expert in everything, to be across everything. Especially when you are working in a vision-based role, it’s crucial to surround yourself with a team of people whom you trust implicitly. When it’s your name above the shop door, so to speak, you can easily fall into the trap of worrying about every single detail but maintaining perspective and concentrating on the macro while a team handles the micro is key to growth, and delegation is central to this approach. It’s something I’m definitely working on — and towards — as I am obsessed with detail (like most producers) so letting go isn’t always the easiest but it is important that your team also feel empowered and autonomous.