Case study

Artistic director — Ann Akin

Ann started her own company, after obtaining a BA in media performance, to pursue her passion for performing. She's now the artistic director of London-based Harts Theatre Company

How did you get your job?

I wasn't acting as much I would've liked to after graduating, so I decided to create my own work. The speed of the success I experienced after initially starting up my company is what propelled me towards transforming my career into more of a business, which is how I've achieved what I have with Harts today.

What's a typical day like as an artistic director?

A typical day currently consists of writing funding applications and finalising budgets. I'm also writing reports for our projects that have recently come to an end, signing off a lot of emails or drafts from my general and marketing manager and sourcing the resources we'll need for our upcoming workshops and festival, iAM Normal.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I really enjoy the freedom of being able to bring any idea that I have to fruition. Although it's hard work, there is something really magical about having an idea and putting in the work to bring it all together.

What are the challenges?

Being the head of an organisation producing big projects with a small team can be a challenge. It's exciting, but also hard to be constantly learning on the job. Luckily, I have a really great support network of creative and business mentors. Finding sustainable funding is another ongoing challenge for a small company.

In what way is your degree relevant?

My media performance degree from the University of Bedfordshire helped me learn about the industry and the world in which my company exists, as well as inspiring me creatively.

How has your role developed? What are your career ambitions?

When I first started my company, I mainly wanted to teach drama to kids and have a number of small schools in different boroughs throughout London. Since then, this has developed into the company also producing two creative festivals a year. I've transitioned from being a drama teacher to a creative producer. I'd like to run my own building one day.

How do I get into theatre management?

  • Seek entry level positions within the theatre.
  • Learn about each role within the theatre. I've worked with marketing, producing, accounts and creative departments, and been able to apply all the skills that I learned to my own company.
  • Create your own work on a small scale. This will give you a slightly less pressured and safe environment to learn and develop your strengths.

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