What is a production manager?

Defining a good production manager is the first issue addressed during the training. The job description varies widely between companies and between countries. What we know for sure is that a production manager is responsible for the organizational and technical process of realizing a production or a festival. S/he is the link between the artistic program and the practical/technical realization of it as well as the supervision of this process. A production manager works closely with the artistic programmer, the artists, responsible staff of the festival, the venue, and the production/technical team, as well as with other employees/collaborators to ensure the smooth running of the festival.

A qualified production manager needs to combine many qualities and so called hard competencies, such as financial, technical, HRM and organizational skills (managing budgets, technical riders, travels, working plans, management of assistants and personnel). But he or she also needs competencies very much related to the artistic vision of the festival. It is vital for the production manager to know how to deal with artists, to build and maintain a good relationship with them, to understand the artist’s way of working, to put himself in the shoes of the artist and to develop creative solutions – all this to ensure the artistic vision is realized.

Efficient artist management – including organizing travels and accommodation, welcoming, guiding and working with the artists – is essential to get the product, which is to say, the artistic creation, on stage for an audience.