Interview with Clean Break’s Members Festival Producer — Clean Break



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Interview with Clean Break’s Members Festival Producer

Members Festival Producer Claire Bayley tells us about her experience of working on our 2024 festival, Beyond.

Clean Break’s 2024 Members Festival, Beyond is proud to be a participatory and community-focused event organised by our Members Festival Committee.

The committee is made up of Clean Break Members and staff, and includes a Member Producer. This year Claire Bayley took on the role and worked with the committee, Clean Break Producer Maya Ellis and Participation Manager Sophie Connolly to put the festival together.

Read about Claire's experience as Member Producer in the interview below:

Why did you decide to join the Members Festival committee?

I am really passionate about Clean Break’s work, and wanted to be part of its second celebratory Members Festival.

Since joining Clean Break, I have felt inspired, empowered and supported. I wanted to return some of that good energy. I wanted to offer my time, ideas and skills, and work with fellow Members to gain a sense of achievement.

Clean Break is the first space where I have truly felt held and seen, I am incredibly grateful for what I have received here. For many years, I have been trying to re-connect with my creativity, so I was keen to gain experience in curating the festival.

Being part of the committee meant being part of something that was focused and supportive, but also creative and innovative. I also needed to boost my confidence after a difficult eight years, and I wanted to give it all I had.

What did the role of Member Producer involve?

I applied to be Member Producer as I was excited about the opportunity to work alongside Producer Maya Ellis and the rest of the Clean Break team.

The role involved helping with key administration tasks, like:

  • Drafting agreement letters for the performers and facilitators, so that they knew what was involved
  • Helping to set up the room bookings procedures for rehearsals, working out technical and dress rehearsal schedules
  • Proof reading marketing materials
  • Constructing volunteer schedules
  • Sending communication to Members, being a point of contact for any queries and ensuring deadlines were kept to
  • Promoting the festival

I spent time working in the Clean Break offices every week and attended regular festival meetings.

This role gave me great insight into what is involved in putting on a festival. I also got to see the values of Clean Break in action, leading with kindness is how we approach everything we do here. I was inspired by how calm everyone stays even through really busy times, the laughter and creative mindset never stops!

What was the process of creating the festival?

We started by making our group agreement as a committee, and thinking about what we were excited about. Things which came up were:

  • The journey
  • Being creative
  • Having a common goal
  • Seeing it grow from conception to delivery
  • Sharing ideas
  • Thinking outside of the box
  • Bonding as a committee
  • Our self-journeys
  • Possibilities
  • Being around like-minded women
  • Changing the world!
  • Developing new skills
  • Honing the craft of event production
  • Building the creative confidence to put on other productions in the future
  • Working and learning with staff members
  • Commitment to seeing the project through

We also discussed what challenges there may be, and I identified the following for myself:

  • Retaining lots of information
  • Working with a budget
  • Concentrating
  • External barriers beyond our control
  • Decision making
  • Confidence
  • Disappointment
  • Time keeping
  • Meeting deadlines

We then focused on imagining the festival, how we want people to feel, and what we have seen that we have liked elsewhere.

We were very much part of the whole process, we helped draft the applications for Members; we were on the decision making panel for the programme; we came up with the name, images and branding.

After months of consideration and final voting, we worked on the timeline for key actions. We helped draft the schedule and planned our people power. I won't forget the way that Maya made big tasks manageable and fun!

For the timeline of key deadlines and actions, she laid out huge sheets of paper and we went along with post it notes suggesting when things should happen. She did the same for the festival schedule and we filled in the gaps with colour coordinated post-it notes. We all agreed it was so satisfying to be part of! This really impressed me. It made the process accessible and inclusive. It was very effective, and we experienced how big tasks can be achieved with everyone feeling involved.

Looking back at what I originally said I wanted to gain, I can see how these ambitions have been met above and beyond, and none of the challenges were an issue.

It's been such a supportive, insightful and rewarding experience. I will miss it when it's over!  

What was the highlight of creating the festival?

The highlight for me was bringing my best self and all I had, and sharing that with other Members who were bringing all they had.

With that commitment, we were guided through by Maya and Sophie, and every meeting was a very rewarding experience. I was excited to see what we would be doing every time I walked through the door.

Learning how to curate a festival from start to finish, and being part of the decision making process each step of the way gave me a great sense of achievement. It has massively increased my confidence.

A special highlight was when we first saw the festival image, name and branding. It was a moment that captured all our hard work together, especially as everyone was blown away by how fantastic it looked.

What do you hope everyone attending feels about the festival?

Most important for me is that everyone attending feels welcomed, safe and that they can be themselves. From this place I hope they feel connected, inspired, empowered, informed, challenged in a held way, and nourished by what they have seen and taken part in.

I hope seeds are sown that will spread the power of creativity, sharing stories and leading with kindness.

Find out more about Beyond

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