So You Want to Work in Theatre?

RPN logo - a moving dancer in a black outfit on a stage against a black background, with white text 'Reimagining Performance Network'

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This careers advice panel brings together an exciting range of established and early-career professionals working in local and national theatre to offer tips and reflections for anyone considering a career in theatre and performance, and particularly in the fields on directing and producing.


Our speakers will offer their thoughts and advice on building a theatre career and on working in the field today. There will be lots of time allocated for audience Q&A and discussion, so bring your questions!



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Ria Parry, co-artistic director of The North Wall, Oxford

Ria Parry is Co-Director of The North Wall Arts Centre in Oxford. She was previously co-founder and producer of Iron Shoes Theatre, touring small-scale new work across the UK and at the Edinburgh Festival, winning Fringe First Awards for new plays by Gbolahan Obisesan, Paul Charlton and Marika Mckennell. As a freelance director and producer she has worked with companies such as the Bush Theatre, Young Vic, Unicorn Theatre, Salisbury Playhouse, National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Rada, Lamda, New Earth and Touretteshero. She was previously a Creative Producer at Watford Palace Theatre, Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio, and is an alumnus of the Step Change Leadership Programme.


Ellie Keel, executive producer at Ellie Keel Productions and founder of The Women’s Prize for Playwrighting

Ellie Keel is an award-winning producer of new plays for stage and audio with her company Ellie Keel Productions. She also regularly produces on behalf of other organisations, including Barbican Centre, Southbank Centre and Audible. She is the Founder Director of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, a national organisation championing female creativity in theatre. 


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Jessie Anand, independent theatre and opera producer

Jessie Anand is a freelance theatre and opera producer. She runs her own company, Jessie Anand Productions, and a separate opera company, Spectra Ensemble. She has recently produced at venues such as Southwark Playhouse, Arcola Theatre and Wilton's Music Hall, and she is currently preparing to present a new play at the Finborough Theatre. She is also developing several new projects, including a new folk musical and a witch play for the present day in partnership with the University of Bristol and English Heritage. In addition to producing her own projects, Jessie does associate producing and general management for other companies. She is currently working for Belarus Free Theatre and last year she was assistant producer on a touring show for Wayward Productions. She is a Stage One bursary recipient and has previously worked for the National Theatre and The Corner Shop PR.


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John Haidar, theatre director

John Haidar trained at RADA and on the National Theatre Directors’ Course. He has worked as an associate or assistant director at the Royal Court, the National Theatre and in the West End, with directors including Howard Davies, Michael Grandage and James Macdonald. He holds an MA in English from Trinity College, Cambridge, and is currently studying the MSt in English (1900-Present) at Merton College, Oxford.

John’s directing credits: Hamlet (Bristol Old Vic – upcoming); Afterplay (Coronet Theatre); Othello (Cambridge Arts Theatre); Dick Whittington (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Richard III (Headlong); The Drowned World, Mercury Fur and Saved (Guildhall School of Music and Drama); Disco Pigs (Trafalgar Studios and Irish Repertory Theatre, New York); Last of the Boys (Southwark Playhouse); The Little Match Girl (Birmingham REP and UK Tour); The New Electric Ballroom (RADA); The Beauty Queen of Leenane, A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West (CAM FM); Macbeth (Cambridge American Stage Tour); The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Glass Menagerie (Corpus Playroom); Romeo and Juliet and The Alchemist (ADC Theatre). John’s associate or assistant directing credits: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Harold Pinter Theatre), The Plough and the Stars (National Theatre), I See You (Royal Court), Photograph 51 (Noël Coward Theatre), The Changeling, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare’s Globe).


The event is free and open to all, but registration is required.

Please wear a mask if you are able during the event, and take an LFT before arriving.

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