Northcott Futures: Interview with Producer Ben McCollum

We caught up with emerging producer Ben McCollum about collaborating with other creatives, online learning and the skills he’s picked up on our Futures programme. Ben is one of two people that were given a place on this year’s programme through our partnership with Culture Weston, an arts organisation based in Weston-Super-Mare.

Why did you join the Futures programme?

I really liked the structure of the course and the fact that it goes into so much detail. I also like this course because you actually get to apply what you’re learning as well. Working towards a Scratch Night in the middle of the programme, and then towards the end the Launch Festival, I’ve always preferred to learn when I’m actually doing it.


What did you think when you found out you’d been accepted onto this programme?

I think it meant that I was moving in the right direction for my career. I think it really showed me that I can kind of like a sort of go after sort of what I want. I’ve tried to do that as much as possible.

Promotional image for ‘Enos’, a multi-media theatre show created by previous Northcott Futures artist Donald Craigie for Launch Festival 2021.

What have you been working on as part of this programme?

We have started to think about the Scratch Night. We had a lesson on Monday, where we split into three different groups. It was a design brief group, a marketing copy group and then a marketing plan group. I was part of the marketing plan group. We were discussing all the different bits we would need to do for marketing, what information we need to get when we need to get it out, how we distribute it out.


How have you been collaborating with other producers on this programme?

Zoom makes it nice and easy to just communicate with other people. I haven’t actually spoken to many of the producers just by themselves. I did do a physical theatre workshop with Yusuf Niazi in a few weeks back, so I got to meet a few of the producers there. It was very nice to meet them actually in person.

Has there been a stand-out memory for you from this programme?

I definitely think the workshop was a standout. We got to meet the other producers. And as well, we got to meet the artists programme as well. It was good to actually meet the people whose work we were going to produce for the Launch Festival and Scratch Night.


What’s the most important thing that you’ve learnt on this programme?

The organisation and structure you have to go through putting on an event. I was never quite good at sort of planning and organising when these things have to happen. That is one of the biggest things I’ve learned, I think, so far. The next thing that I think will be big as well is Arts Council funding applications. I haven’t done Arts Council applications before, so to get some really good knowledge and insight on how to do that is going to be key.

Promotional image for ‘Calling of the Tide’, a film created by previous Futures artist Ruth Bel for Launch Festival 2021.

Why are programmes like Futures important?

I think it’s important because the arts is such a key part of the culture in this country. Especially after lockdown, I think trying to do as much as possible to facilitate events, workshops, is really, really key. Because it’s such a good place for people to express their own work. But also for producers and anyone else sort of in the behind the scenes jobs. I think it’s really important that these programmes are around.

Northcott Futures Artists Programme

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Northcott Futures Producers Programme

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