Joint Executive Producer of Scottish Dance Theatre, Alice McGrath, looks back at her career to date.
Joint Executive Producer, Scottish Dance Theatre (2014 – present)
Liam Sinclair and I joined Fleur Darkin and the Scottish Dance Theatre team last August to jobshare the producer’s role. Having collaborated with the company previously we were inspired by their openness, their interest in connecting with audiences, Fleur’s ambition for developing the company and, of course, the great work!
We went straight into Edinburgh Festival mode as Fleur presented her first new work with the company, Miann, at Summerhall. At the festival I met Wendy Martin, who was programming Southbank Centre at the time. She was very supportive of Fleur and the company and we entered into negotiations to book Miann and our children's work Innocence into the venue during the Dance UK Conference week. We've just finished our run there and the whole company have headed home with big smiles on their faces!
Director of Creative Development, Participation and Research, macrobert (2011 – 2014)
I joined macrobert arts centre in this new role, enticed by Liam Sinclair who had started as Artistic Director the year before. My job was diverse, creative, challenging, at times manic and fun! Together, Liam and I created a new producing department and our work won awards around the globe and continues to do so. macrobert is based at the University of Stirling and its grounds are a great inspiration. Liam and I started a tradition of a daily walk to rest our brains and soak up the gifts of nature. This time and ritual cemented our bond as career soulmates.
Creative Development Director, Imaginate (2002 – 2011)
I joined Imaginate in the newly-created post of Creative Development Director. The work, the festival and the people working in the children’s performing arts sector were so inspiring, I stayed for nine years and was very sad to leave. I was responsible for leading the artform development and creative learning programmes. My first project was the Family Friendly initiative which supported and encouraged venues across Scotland to be more welcoming to family audiences. 15 years later the importance of that activity remains. This year will be Artistic Director Tony Reekie’s last festival – there will be a great send off for him in recognition of his good work.
Marketing and Communications Officer, Scottish Childminding Association (January 2000 – April 2002)
I flitted between the arts and voluntary sector for a few years, each time bringing the lesson from one to the other. The Scottish Childminding Association was a good match when my son was very young – they were pioneers of family-friendly practice.
Project Manager, TAG theatre company (1999 and 2002)
Most Scottish-based arts workers of my generation worked with either TAG or 7:84 at some point in their career. Sadly neither company now exists. I was with TAG with James Brining (now at West Yorkshire Playhouse), Jon Morgan (now at Federation of Scottish Theatres) and Lorna Duguid (now at Creative Scotland) – all great people to work with. Many colleagues from that time continue to be friends and trusted associates.
Mother, home (1998 – present)
My first child Cormac was born in 1998, followed by Niamh in 2002. Their entrance into the world changed my life completely. Being a mother is a hugely important part of my work. My children are a constant influence on my choices; they help me keep things realistic and I like to recognise them for that. I consult them as dramaturgs, as collaborators for education activity and as masters of all things digital, and they keep me in touch with what's going on in the world of music. I would love to see the arts be more family-friendly. The legislation is in place to support families, it’s the implementation of it that’s now the problem.
Alice McGrath is Joint Executive Producer for Scottish Dance Theatre.