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Backstage Pass: Production Coordinator

What does a production coordinator do at Esplanade?

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Published: 2 Sep 2022

Pen 2

Updated: 11 Oct 2022


Time taken : ~10mins

What is a production coordinator? Why would a performing arts centre like Esplanade need one? Find out more about what a production coordinator does and more! (Hint! It is all in the name.) 


This is Ganesh. He is a production coordinator!

He makes sure that productions at Esplanade are planned and executed successfully.

How does he ensure that things go according to plan? This means that he has to analyse and plan for the different needs of an arts production. What’s an arts production? It’s a performance that you see on stage when you go to a performing arts centre like Esplanade!

To do this, he has to work well with everyone involved in the production including the artists, vendors, technical crew, and other colleagues. He also has to keep an eye on areas such as multimedia, staging, lighting, sound, costumes, and different types of equipment that are needed for the production.

This is where he works in his office.

For every production that Ganesh works on, he needs to get on his computer to use various software programmes that help him visualise how the production will look when it’s ready. They also help him to understand what needs to be done in order for the production to work.

This is where he works out of his office.

After he plans everything out on his computer, Ganesh spends a lot of time at the venue to make sure that everything is set up correctly. What does that mean? It means that all the requirements for the production are met.

He will have to check with the team working on the production and make sure that all the lighting and audio equipment are working and in place, the artist’s requests are catered for, and that deadlines are met. He also plans for any foreseeable issues that might come up during the show so that if something unplanned happens, everyone will know what to do.

Ganesh literally works everywhere at the Esplanade as productions take place in a variety of venues that are located all around the centre. Phew! That is a lot of coordination and venues to keep an eye out for.


Ganesh answers some questions and tells us more about his job as a production coordinator.

Q: What skills do you need to be a production coordinator?

Ganesh: You need good interpersonal skills as you have to communicate and interact with many different people such as artists, vendors, technical crew, and even your own colleagues in order to do your job well. You also need to be able to handle new and different challenges as they arise because every production is unique in its own way.

You also need to be an efficient and effective planner, and that means being able to manage your time well so that deadlines can be met even when unexpected hiccups happen. This also means you should have the ability to analyse and foresee what issues might come up so that you can plan things in a way that results in a successful production.

 

Q: What do I need to study to be a production coordinator?

Ganesh: It’s very useful to have a diploma or a degree in Technical Theatre, which is a subject that covers everything that goes into a staged production, so you learn about things like lighting, sound and costuming. You don’t actually do these things as there are skilled technicians who take care of them. But as a production coordinator, it’s essential that you are familiar with what they do as you are the one who makes sure all aspects of an arts production run smoothly.

Having a good understanding of the different parts of a production is important. This is something that you can keep on building and improving while you are working in the arts as you will work with experts from different fields, and there are always constant developments in the arts and entertainment industry.

 

Q: What are some essential tools that you use?

Ganesh: The computer is an essential tool that I can’t do without. In terms of software, I definitely need to use an event management software to manage the thousands of events happening at the multiple venues in Esplanade throughout the year. I also use computer-aided design software to create and analyse technical drawings that are essential for event planning. These technical drawings help me understand how a mechanical item in the production is constructed and functions.

 

Q: Why does Esplanade need a production coordinator?

Ganesh: There are five main venues and many other additional venues that host about 4,000 activities a year. This means that Esplanade needs a large team of production coordinators to coordinate the planning, facilitation and execution of all these events.

 

Q: What’s your most memorable moment at work?

Ganesh: I had the pleasure of working on Vilangkuppanai in the Esplanade Theatre Studio in June 2022. It’s a Tamil adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and it was a co-production by Esplanade and Agam Theatre Lab. The show had many, many technical elements in its set, sound, lighting, multimedia and costume requirements. On top of all that, it was an exciting experience watching the cast wearing prosthetic make-up in order to look like their animal characters.

We had to do a lot of pre-planning so that the set-up, rehearsals and live shows could happen smoothly. In the end, the show was staged successfully and received rave reviews!



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