Producers: "a mysteriously omnipotent admin-centred figure"

 If you’ve ever been involved in theatre in Cambridge, you’ll be aware of a mysteriously omnipotent admin-centred figure called a producer. It’s one of the few roles that is required for every show, yet very few people know what it involves! I’ve produced fifteen shows in my three terms here, so I’m here to give you a simple, comprehensive guide to producing! Whether you’re an ADC veteran or have never done theatre before, this could be a brilliant new way of getting involved – starting as early as this term’s ADC Online season!

What is a Producer?

In the real world, there are several types of producer. A producer is traditionally someone who oversees the production as a whole from raising investment to hiring a production team, whereas a creative producer is a theatre maker in the broadest sense, both producing and getting involved in the creative side of a production alongside the director. In Cambridge, a producer’s role often encompasses anything that isn’t a creative aspect of the show (although creative producer roles do exist). You’re essential in the running of the project – a spreadsheet god who straddles the divide between cast and crew (one of the few people who does).

Your first task is to assemble a crew by opening applications on Then, your responsibilities may vary, but they are usually split into three categories: finances, marketing and welfare.


A show’s budget will vary depending on the venue, slot and production demands, so it’s important for these conversations to be thorough. Most of the time, your role will be to assemble the budget by ensuring that the creative team doesn’t spend too much money. You’ll assign budgets for costume, set, publicity, and factor in venue costs and contingencies such as insurance and rights.

“Watching every puzzle piece of a show that you’ve helped put together is the best feeling in the world.”

The next step is to apply for funding from the many college or university funding bodies (e.g. CUADC, Footlights, Pembroke Players…) either through a Google Form or an application form. Finally, you will oversee the production team’s spending in the run up to the show and make sure everything is on track! This all sounds rather daunting if it’s your first show, but my best advice is to stay in constant contact with your production team and make developing the budget into a team effort.


Most of the time you will be tasked with publicity for the show, although sometimes larger shows will also acquire a publicist. Your marketing schedule will be your Bible, where you’ll outline plans for flyering and social media posts such as cast introductions, sneak peeks, giveaways and any other wacky things you can think of! I produced 5 shows during last year’s infamous ADC Online season and if anything it showed me the power of a well formatted Facebook post, so don’t underestimate what you can do with social media. This is probably my favourite part of producing since you get to be creative but with a purpose!

On opening night, you will probably also be reviewed by Varsity, The Tab and TCS. Once their articles are up, you’ll have to select their best quotes and use them to promote last minute sales! The ADC will also provide you with a Cambridgeshire based press list so you can send off your press release in the hopes of attracting a wider audience. However, the most important thing to remember is that there is no marketing tool more powerful than word of mouth.


Being a producer can sometimes feel odd since you are spearheading a project that you usually have little to no input in developing. This does however make you the perfect candidate to be the production’s welfare contact, since you are separated from issues that people may feel uncomfortable approaching the director, writer or other actors with. You are an unbiased source who has the power to make changes, which is invaluable. Anyone can tell you that participating in a show at Cambridge is immensely stressful, regardless of your role. Although the end product and the friends you make along the way are (almost) always worth it, the producer’s role in welfare is instrumental to the running of a show. This can come in all shapes and sizes, from sending out an anonymous Google Form for any cast/crew concerns, to holding weekly socials (in person or on Zoom). Most funding bodies will have their own way of doing things, whether that means a welfare contact on the committee to add to the show’s producer or a rolling feedback form for cast/crew sent straight to their welfare officer.

This year, the ADC have also created a harassment and discrimination form which may be a useful source to guide people and the Old Vag Club also provides resources on consent within theatre. Although this all may seem like quite an undertaking, there are always people you can go to with any concerns you may have, it’s not all on your shoulders!


Mountain View

HOT SEAT: Composer

More generally you will steer the production team ship through production meetings and help control the cast through rehearsal scheduling (most of which can be done from the comfort of your bed!).

There you have it! I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds and watching every puzzle piece of a show that you’ve helped put together is the best feeling in the world. I couldn’t recommend producing more, whether you do it once to help a friend or decide to make it your only personality trait, this is your sign to give it a go!

Useful Links:

Spreadsheet Template:

Every show needs a good spreadsheet! Here is a template to start you off, now ‘make a copy’ to your drive and make it your own!

Luis’ Almonacid’s ADC Budget Calculator:

Yet another producing essential, ‘make a copy’ then input your show’s own figures into this spreadsheet to figure out break even points etc!