Lorna Hosler tells us about the people and experiences that helped her on her way to becoming Executive Director of Clod Ensemble.
My first job after graduating was as Development Assistant to the brilliant Mona Qureshi at Ruby Films, having worked there as a runner when I was a student. I remember Alison saying there’s no training for being a Producer and nobody is going to hand you a job on a plate, you just get out there and tell people you’re a Producer and make the work. The idea that you can be whoever you say you are, and that you can give yourself permission to make things happen, has really stuck with me.
I harassed Pippa into letting me come and do work experience at the Royal Shakespeare Company in my final year at university. There was no internship culture at that time, but I was persistent and Pippa agreed that I could come in one day a week. I did this for the whole of my final year at University and, at the relatively small Earlham Street office, I managed to get a handle on casting, production, press and all sorts really. I don’t think I understood at the time how much I was learning, it was such fun. It really opened doors for me, and I’ll always be grateful to Pippa for giving me that chance.
If I’d thought film was monied and glamorous, nothing had prepared me for the neo-capitalism of the contemporary art world. I worked out of the sales office of a Damien Hirst show one summer and it was intoxicating – hobnobbing with artists I idolised – and extremely hard graft. I was deeply struck by Jay Jopling’s management style: he knew everybody’s name, from the warehouse drivers to the agents’ assistants, had weekly meetings with the entire organisation and took the time to handwrite everybody’s birthday card. But he was decisive and you always knew where you stood – not unlike how people describe working with Alex Ferguson. I thought ‘wow, this guy really knows how to get the best from people, and at scale’. He was fascinating to observe, and it was a great lesson on leadership.
Chris is now Chief Executive at Curve Theatre, but way back when, he was my line manager at Shakespeare’s Globe. We worked in the education department and delivered an ambitious project called ‘Playing Shakespeare’, which involved 10,0000 young people from state schools across London seeing Shakespeare for free and taking part in workshops. It was epic, in fun, scale and useful experiences. It was after this that Chris became a great friend and professional mentor – he has been my go-to shoulder for my stickiest career moments and biggest decisions. He gave me my first job after having a child, when I lacked confidence the most. Somebody showing you that they believe in you when you are doubting yourself is a powerful thing. I’m proud of what he’s achieved in his own career, if a little annoyed, because he’s younger than me.
When I worked in Globe Education, Liz was the only woman on the senior management team. Us 20-somethings in the office were all a bit in awe of her. When she’d come into our office we’d giggle like nervous schoolgirls in front of a headmistress we had a bit of a crush on. I found it deeply inspiring that she was the only woman on the executive board, and that she was in charge of the money. Her presence made me believe that that was possible for me to – it was highly aspirational. And I still aspire to her sartorial elegance.
Lorna Hosler is Executive Director of Clod Ensemble.