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Emotions and entrepreneurship in creative Industries


“I crave success stories, information, advice, guidance and feedback.”

This quote from an Aspiring theatre director demonstrates the passion and motivation required to pursue a career in the arts. But is passion enough when establishing a new theatre company?

Fringe theatres have been described as the ‘life blood’ of the theatre industry.

Professor Ruth Simpson and her team collaborated with UK-based production company Scenepool to investigated start-up fringe theatre companies and the challenges they faced in a context of uncertain demand and extensive government funding cuts to the Arts.

“I crave success stories, information, advice, guidance and feedback"

 (Aspiring theatre director)

Their findings highlight the passion that theatre companies have for their work. This passion is an important motivator in the face of strong isolation within the industry, as well as the many practical difficulties of developing and producing drama.

However, passion is not enough.

The research identified a need for theatre makers to develop an entrepreneurial identity and to build up a skill set suitable for a portfolio career, where individuals and groups can market themselves and sell their work and where they can develop portable skills and networks.

The research has led to initiatives to help small scale theatre companies develop, including the Creative Producers network managed by Scenepool and Theatrelab, a network that encourages the exchanging of resources and knowledge.

It has also led to a Creative Producer’s Collective, a network led by produces, managed by Camden Theatres and supported by Camden Council.

It has also led to Performing Arts training outside Brunel that incorporates commercial skills and sector specific knowledge into undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

Through initiatives such as these, theatre makers can hopefully get the support they need to develop themselves as entrepreneurial as well as creative people, developing the skills and networks to support viable creative business.

This research has taken place in the Human Resource Management and Organization Behaviour Research Group (HRM - OB).