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How to… combine performing with writing and producing

Lauren Gauge. Photo: Mark Vessey Lauren Gauge. Photo: Mark Vessey
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1. Plan and play

Being a theatre polymath is fun and, unless you’ve got money-buttered bread, necessary. How many hats you wear is up to you, but wearing at least two will help fashion your success and provide your bread and butter. Get experience, whether as an associate producer or in sales. I worked on The Scottsboro Boys West End transfer and sold vending machines for a living. Both taught me business planning, integrity and managing expectations. Producing your own work is one part of the journey. Enjoying the process is another.

2. Be yourself, be kind and keep the faith

Creating work that is honest will resonate. Feed yourself experiences so you get to understand your tastes – and the work you want to create. Kindness and collaboration with the right people will lead you to realise that vision in the most enjoyable way. Work as an ensemble – even if you write something alone, share it. Trust your inner monologue: you’ll know if you’re heading off course. Surround yourself with ‘make-it-happeners’. Delegate, know your team’s strengths and play to them. Understand your weaknesses and build around them.

3. Find freedom within clear boundaries

If you’re wearing several hats, your brow is going to get sweaty. Ask your collaborators to respect your roles and schedule time to speak to you about only one thing at a time. This enables you to concentrate on each role without fear of being asked a ‘producer question’ one minute followed by an ‘actor question’ the next. Then you can commit time and effort to one area at a time. Keep clear communication channels throughout so everyone knows when you’re in each role.

Lauren Gauge is an actor, writer and producer. Her debut play The Unmarried runs at Underbelly Med Quad until August 28. She was talking to John Byrne

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