- Great Leap Forward
James Miller is a production coordinator at Great Leap Forward, an Edinburgh based General/Production Management and Booking Company.
He graduated with a BA Hons Drama and Performance from Queen Margaret University in 2016.
What are your most memorable experiences of being a QMU student?
The time I spent at QMU are some of my fondest happiest memories. For me this stems from being surrounded by likeminded people who all had a passion for Drama and Theatre, this extends from students to staff.
"I was surrounded by people who had a shared love and that made the experience. A standout memory for me would be performance days, six groups performing their produced work in the everchanging black box. You never knew what you were going to see next, but it was always different and exciting. Those days were enthralling."
Tell us more about your career path since leaving QMU.
I was fortunate enough to start forming a career path whilst at QMU, following a job-lead from a very dear lecturer who I remain so grateful to this day, I worked for two years as an Associate Producer with five international companies at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It was a whirlwind induction into producing and management, but I knew instantly I wanted to pursue it. A highlight for me was originating the role of Assistant Entertainment Manager at a top venue in Edinburgh’s city centre, programming and managing seven nights of live entertainment and developing month long celebrations during the Edinburgh Fringe. I worked with performers, acts, producers that I had admired for several years and am lucky to call many of them my friends to this day.
Tell us more about what your current role involves?
I have been fortunate to work for Great Leap Forward, an Edinburgh based General/Production Management and Booking company, for the last four years. I work as a Production Coordinator; looking after several aspects of UK and International touring productions.
I primarily work productions for Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures; 'Swan Lake', 'The Red Shoes', 'Romeo & Juliet', 'The Midnight Bell' to name but a few! It’s my responsibility to ensure everything within the production runs smoothly, from contracting cast, buying screws to looking after budgets!
I’ve had many great opportunities and worked with many great companies across my short period with Great Leap Forward. In 2021, we managed 'Under Canvas Across the Highlands' with Eden Court, touring a small music festival across the Highlands. After a year of a pandemic, it was great to be out on the road with something LIVE. There is a lot of work and coordination that goes into my job, but the end result of seeing a production live; there is no way to describe that joy. I always say I am fortunate enough to work in something I love; theatre is my hobby, my passion and it is my work. I wouldn’t change that.
What advice would you give to students and new graduates starting out?
Be open! Throughout my four years at QMU I always thought I’d go into acting. It is by chance that I fell into Production Management.
Try everything, have conversations, speak with other people.
In the arts, it's important to have as many strings to your bow as possible. During the pandemic, I wasn’t working for a long period of time. Having decided I wanted to focus my career in Production, I returned to QMU to study a Postgraduate course in Arts Management. I never thought I’d do such a thing, but I reapplied myself and developed my skills.
"There are many routes you can take in this industry, but the base that QMU gave me has enabled me to grow in ways I never imagined."