Producer Edward Johnson: ‘I love producing work for children and families’
Edward Johnson is an associate producer at Adam Blanshay Productions, which helped bring Angels in America to Broadway. He tells Giverny Masso about the experience of co-founding Lost the Plot Theatrical, a new company focusing on family theatre…
How did you get into producing?
I went to the University of Exeter to study drama. I knew I wanted to be in the theatre industry, but I didn’t want to be an actor. I wanted to be a director or a stage manager. Producing never really occurred to me. Instead, it found me. In my final year of university, I was directing at the Northcott Theatre for the Footlights society. I really enjoyed the process of putting on the production. After I left uni, I was with Ash Productions Live for four years. I started off as an intern, then became a production assistant, then a production executive and an associate producer. They do a lot of small and mid-scale touring theatre, and that was my calling. I have such a love for producing work for children and families.
What was your next step?
It got to the point where I’d done four years and almost reached a plateau, and I wanted to break into commercial theatre. I started working for Adam Blanshay Productions in December last year. We’ve co-produced Angels in America on Broadway as well as The Color Purple and we do quite a lot of work with the National Theatre as well as work regionally. I’d always wanted to delve into larger-scale theatre work. In terms of the passion people have, there’s no difference between a small and a large-scale work, the difference is in the amount of money.
What does your job involve on a day-to-day basis?
A big part of the remit will be negotiating contracts and venues, as well as castings and looking at putting together workshops. It’s about getting things ready for a company, attracting investors and networking – getting people interested in the show.
How did Lost the Plot come about?
We started it back in July 2017. It was myself, Richard Brindley, Jonathan Brindley and Luke Chambers. I knew Richard from Exeter, Jonathan and Richard are brothers and Luke is Richard’s partner. The main reason was that the Palace Theatre in Paignton was being sold off by the mayor. This was blocked by the council, and the theatre was saved by a community interest company. Richard knew the new theatre manager, and said: “Why don’t we bring you a show?” I’ve been a producer for five years, and Richard asked if it would be something I’d be interested in, then it all went very quickly from there.
Which show did you choose to do?
We wanted it to be family appropriate – kind of like a panto. We chose to do a new musical version of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. We liked it because it’s a classic fairy tale, it goes back a long way, plus we liked the animal aspect. We are booking a 2019 spring/summer UK tour of she show, and we’ll make an official announcement about the tour, venue dates and casting later this year.
Click here for further details on Lost the Plot Theatrical’s upcoming productions