Festival Production Management Training 2018, Module I - "Choose your battles"

6 February 2018

Frans Robert - Alumni Module I, Festival Production Management Training

All that's left after the Festival Production Management Training in my tote bag are a couple of folders and the program of the Training, filled with side notes and drawings of the days that have flown by. "Choose your battles" I read, remembering the conversation that began with self value and ended up with stories about sending wedding invitations for CEOs. Just to say the span of topics and issues addressed during this Training at de Singel is huge. 

A warm welcome in a stormy Antwerp on Wednesday was guaranteed by presentations on the 'Holland Festival' and a great dinner (accompanied with a new festival idea: producing a festival with only a landline, fax and post pigeons. Yes, it would involve a lot of traveling in order to make the post pigeon system work). Just to indicate that the value of this Training does not necessarily lie in the content, but more in the get-together.

An orchestrated chaos, where 12 production managers from all over the world come together to discuss and reflect upon what they do and more importantly, how they do it. Producing a festival is never a straight line, it's doing everything and nothing at the same time. And the Training offers a nice oasis of reflection where you don't need to be caught up in the problem-fixing everyday mood of the office. And being able to reflect upon your profession with other people from different cultures and therefore different experiences is a true blessing. And this blessing continued in the following days: from getting presentations on how grown-up festivals (that have existed already from 1948 onwards) deal with their production, walking around Antwerp and meeting different cultural institutions to meeting people in the field after seeing their performance.

It's all part of the big Festival Academy experience that fills the halls and corridors of de Singel. And afterwards you're left with a feeling of gratitude, a feeling of connection to what you do and want to achieve. And the words and drawings written on the program reflect just that: the surplus of the moment. Being there, getting insights by being together and feeling connected to everyone in the room. Just like festivals bring people together (as do post pigeons). And I sincerely hope to take along this feeling into the time to come and into the internship that will follow in which I'll try to implement the insights gathered from these days of reflection upon Production Management.