Producers Natalie Macaluso and Adam Blanshay [pictured] were partnered up on last year’s Exchange. Since then, they have formed their own transatlantic producing partnership, are bringing a play to the Finborough Theatre and have become best friends. As UK producers and directors apply for this year’s Exchange, we caught up with the dynamic duo to talk about time differences and what OVNV means to them…
What made you apply for The Exchange?
Adam: I had been a producer for several years, originally producing Fringe and Off-Broadway. I was very excited to learn about the Exchange, as I was eager to branch out and produce in the UK as well as North America. It was a brilliant opportunity to make contacts and learn about the gestalt of theatre over here.
In that one week I learned so much about myself as a producer and a person. The cherry on the cake was I met my best friend and UK producing partner. Since we met on the Exchange, Natalie and I speak daily on both a professional and personal basis.
Natalie: I definitely wanted to find a US producing partner, but I didn’t necessarily expect them to be the person I was partnered with.
How did producing the play His Greatness come about?
Adam: We started talking about His Greatness almost straight away. It’s a play written by Daniel MacIvor, who’s one of the most prolific Canadian playwrights. It’s inspired by the last year of the life of Tenessee Williams, much of which he spent in London, so it’s very London-centric.
I think we knew pretty much straight away that we were going to work on this together. Funnily enough, the Finborough Theatre had read the play a year ago and, through the network of the Exchange, it got back to their Artistic Director, Neil McPherson, that I had the rights. So he offered us a slot.
What are the challenges involved in this sort of transatlantic partnership?
Natalie: One of the biggest practical challenges is the time difference. You just get used to working an 11-hour day and waking up to a pretty hectic inbox. We always try not to send bad news emails first thing in the morning.
Adam: We do a regular call every Tuesday, where we can all check in and talk about things in real time. But we’ve both noticed the difference it has made now that we’re in the same country.
How do you think taking part in the Exchange has affected your careers?
Adam: We’re so grateful to the Exchange. Without it, none of this would have happened. So much work has come out of it: we worked together on Pippin at the Menier Chocolate Factory, we’re talking about another West End transfer in the spring and will hopefully be bringing another show over in the autumn.
Do you have any advice for people taking part in it this year?
Natalie: I would say, remember that it’s all about relationships. Don’t think it’s about you, in that moment, in that microcosm: it’s about everyone you meet and what happens afterwards.
Adam: Take it as a platform to not only network within your community, but an international community. Use your presence on the Exchange to meet as many people as possible. It’s incredibly well known, so use it as an introduction; email people you admire and get meetings with them.
Natalie: Old Vic New Voices is just this fantastic thing and it is such a comfort to know it’s there. We are very proud to say that our whole producing partnership came about through meeting on the Exchange.
His Greatness will be at the Finborough Theatre from Tuesday 24 April to Saturday 19 May. For more information and to book tickets, visit the website.
To apply for the TS Eliot US/UK Exchange: UK Producer/ Director, visit the brief.
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