Meet Various Stages Artistic Advisor.... Martin Berry
Martin Berry gives an insight into his role as Artistic Advisor for the Various Stages Festival 2020
Tell us about yourself and your work
Craving a freelance director almost 20 years. I work at all scales including touring work, work abroad, and lots of work on Classics, musicals and some operas. I am currently head of participation at Nottingham Playhouse.
What is the role of a Various Stages Artistic Advisor?
Being artistic advisor is a unique and exciting role. Essentially it is an opportunity to support new writers and composers as they develop their work ahead of a showcase in London as part of the various stages project. It's a real honour to be involved at the genesis of exciting new operas.
What excites you about the projects in the Various Stages festival?
I am working on a brilliant new project called 'A place to fall to pieces'. The two young female writers are sisters, which brings a really unique tone and understanding to the project and the development.
Why are programmes like Various Stages important?
In many artforms it can be really difficult to get a foothold in the industry and most importantly to get new work seen. Opera is a particular challenge since the large-scale of the houses and producers spend much of their time focus money and attention on big projects. Various stages is a great chance to find and nurture talent and material and to give it a chance to be aired and fed back on.
What are your top tips for getting a new project off the ground?
Don't bend yourself out of shape. Make the work you want to make and believe in it. Persistence is of course important but really just the starting point. See other peoples work as much as you can. The arts and culture industry is rewarding and fiendishly hard work. Be honest with yourself - if you don't eat sleep and breathe the work you want to make, then you might be better off elsewhere.
What advice would you offer to someone to help them get a project beyond the development stage?
Apply to funding - Seeking help to do so if filling in forms is not your chief skill! Invite industry gatekeepers and influencers to see your work at the development stage. And again be persistent, believe in the work, tell the world about it.