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Michael Grandage Company expands into general management

Michael Grandage says directors must engage a new generation of theatre audiences. Photo: Marc Brenner Michael Grandage. Photo: Marc Brenner
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Michael Grandage has announced an expansion of his theatre company in which the organisation will move into providing general management services for the first time.

Grandage has also announced he will offer bursaries from £500 to £5,000 through his charitable arm, MGC Futures, which will seek to support talent looking to take their next step in the industry.

As part of its expansion, the Michael Grandage Company has appointed Nick Frankfort, with whom Grandage worked at the Donmar Warehouse, as a producer. Frankfort will have responsibility for producing a range of plays that the company expects to stage in the next couple of years. Meanwhile, James Triner has joined the Michael Grandage Company to provide general management services. There will now be five full-time staff at the company, up from two when it formed in 2011.

James Bierman, who has worked with Grandage for the past five years, has left the company to pursue his own projects. Grandage told The Stage it was the right moment for Bierman to “move on and for me to build the company”.

“There are a lot of plays out under commission that are all coming into land, and so we are going to a place where we will want to produce a lot of these over the next two and a half years. I have asked Nick to lead on all that,” he said.

Frankfort was an executive producer at the Donmar when Grandage was artistic director, and went on to form his own company, Creative Management and Productions, which has since disbanded.

Triner joins the theatre company from New York, and has managed more than 60 shows in the US, including One Man, Two Guvnors and Wolf Hall. In the UK, he has been executive producer of The Book of Mormon and Shrek.

Triner told The Stage that as general manager, the company would take on responsibilities for producers ranging from overseeing the logistics of a show, including contracts, scheduling and ticket sales, to offering a more “creative input”, such as advising on the best creatives for a production. The expansion means that Michael Grandage Company will function in a similar way to West End producers such as Playful Productions that balance producing their own work with general-managing shows created by other producers.

“It means we can offer a full service package to people. Because I have worked in the UK and New York, we offer something unique, especially as more and more productions go both ways now,” Triner explained.

Triner and Frankfort join Stella McCabe, who is executive director of MGC, and Molly McCarthy, who is assistant to the producers. Grandage told The Stage he was also keen to work with someone on developing ideas for TV and film, but that this would be on an ad hoc basis.

Regarding his new bursary schemes, Grandage said the money would be available to help theatre talent which already has “some kind of education in theatre” but is looking to get “to the next stage”.

As examples, he said money could be used to help a designer who needs to buy the latest computer software for his or her work, or by directors who need money to stage a workshop.

A panel of experts will adjudicate and decide which applicants will receive the money.

“We looked at the brilliant stuff going on, and how people can apply to trusts and foundations, but saw there is a tiny gap for those genuinely committed young practitioners, who are just hovering around the fringes,” Grandage said.

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