Who’s Who: Ollie Longhurst, Unlimited Trainee 2015

The second in the Who’s Who at Unlimited blog series, we hear how the past year has been for the current Unlimited Trainee Producer.

Nine months in and I wish I had another nine to go, but sadly I’ll be saying goodbye to the Unlimited team in February next year, but not before I say hello to the next Unlimited Trainee!

The Unlimited Team welcomed me in with open arms (slightly showing off if you ask me) and over the past months I’ve had such an adventure. It all started off with a new job, in a new city, moving in with new friends and getting lost an awful lot. As the saying goes “good things take time but great things come all at once” – it really has been a great year for me! My time here has flown by, I’ve met some brilliantly quirky people, learnt an astonishing amount, and felt my confidence grow.

So, over the last nine months I’ve learnt what it means to be an Arts Producer and all the roles that go with it. From marketing to liaising with venues, supporting artists to organising events, writing funding applications to being chased around our office by Simba the Artsadmin dog!

With marketing, it was down to me to keep an eye on our two websites and our blog posts. Whether that be making sure that all our posts and pages are accessible or checking the analytics to ensure that both sites are performing just how we like. I’ve also assisted on creating print material for all the new commissions, this was my cup of tea as I love the design side of marketing!

I’ve also worked with Jack Dean who Unlimited commissioned this year with his piece ‘Grandad and the Machine’. I’m Jack’s key contact at Unlimited which means that I’m his first port of call with any issues or questions he may have. Just recently I helped Jack arrange some emergency rehearsal space in time for his performance at the Live theatre in Newcastle. Jack has just finished a set of performances at Camden People’s Theatre so now it’s down to me to gather the audience numbers which we use for evaluation and being able map the geographical reach of our projects

Recently I’ve started working on a two-day development event for all the young emerging artists who have been involved in an Unlimited Impact project. The event will be taking place at the Roundhouse with over 20 participants attending from all over the UK, some as far as Scotland (we must be doing something right!) This might sound like a relatively small event but it’s taken a long time to get to the point we’re at now, tons of planning, meetings, emails and phone calls. It’s taken nearly two weeks to find a hostel as we’re such a large group plus we have to think of everyone’s access requirements so we can’t just bung people into any old place, we’ve got to find the best option which isn’t always an easy task!

In August I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to head up to Edinburgh with the rest of the Unlimited team for the Edinburgh Fringe festival. I was chuffed to say the least!

Unlimited was supporting a few artists who were performing during the festival, we also had our very own Unlimited Exhibition at Summerhall which carried on well after the festival.

Up to this point, I hadn’t had a chance to see much of the Unlimited artist’s pieces, so I filled my week up with seeing all the performances I could, squeezing in a few other non-Unlimited performances too. This was an amazing experience for me as I was fairly new to the world of theatre, I came from more of a visual arts background you see. Since being at the Fringe I’ve made a huge effort to see more performances, I can’t get enough these days and I’m already planning my trip back up to Edinburgh next year!

All in all, I’ve had a pretty amazing year learning all that I can and experiencing so many new and rather daunting things.

It’s time for me to start looking at where I’ll be shooting off to next, wish me luck!

If you’re interested in becoming the next Unlimited Trainee Producer, click here to find out more and apply!