Photo credit to Olivier Truyman

How is it organised?

The Festival Production Management Training is a new format of The Festival Academy, an initiative of the European Festivals Association (EFA). It focuses especially on production management in terms of realising and implementing the vision of the artistic director. The training looks at the practical side of this process, with special attention given to working with artists. Participants will meet and exchange with experienced production managers and artists, including set designers, light designers, conductors, choir leaders etc. The training is set up as a long-term programme which explores all phases of producing an artistic work: a programme with 3 modules spread over a period of one or more year(s).

  • Module I: a three-day workshop with practical study visits and focus on the exchange of experiences
  • Module II: a practical, hands-on placement at a festival
  • Module III: a two-day concluding session

It is necessary to complete Module I before progressing to Module II.

The programme has been set up to allow flexibility in attending the different modules. Selected participants who take part in Module I can attend Module II or III of Edition II or of future editions. 

The career development does not stop with Module III. All participants become part of the Alumni Network. After ten Ateliers and one Festival Production Management Training, the network counts 400 members from 66 countries.

Photo credit to Olivier Truyman

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 countiries. What we know for sure is that a production manager is responsible for the organisational and technical process of realising a production or a festival. He/she is the link between the artistic programme and the practical/technical realisation 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 organisational skills (managing budgets, technical riders, travels, working plans, management of assistants and personnel).

But he/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 realised.

Efficient artist management – including organising 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.

Kathrin Deventer, Secretary General of the European Festivals Association

"Based on the experiences of eight Ateliers for Young Festival Managers, The Festival Academy set up the new Festival Production Management Training to address the need for skills development of festivals' production managers more directly."