Tobias Perkins, Head of Planning
Can you describe your day-to-day job?
We take our different productions to around 40 different theatres every year and my job is planning which of our shows will go to which of those theatres. I draw up the details with the venue relating to things like: how much we might spend on the marketing; what day the trucks containing the sets and costumes will arrive; how many performances there will be; and trying to come up with a schedule that takes our artistic ideas from being an ambition to a plan that actually happens. Then I communicate that across our company which involves so many different people.
What qualifications did you take?
At university I actually studied Music. I’ve found there were a lot of transferable skills for this job. At university one of the things that I really got involved with was running the Music Society, which was voluntary and involved organising a series of concerts.
What did you do next?
From there I got some paid jobs in the arts industry, first for an orchestra and then at the Barbican Centre and the Royal Opera House in London, doing a combination of administrative and artistic programming roles. Those led on to doing this job at Northern Ballet.
What advice would you give to young people interested in a job like yours?
The advice I would give is to develop a really good grounding in English and Maths. I would also advise studying an arts subject or any subject that helps to develop critical thinking so that you can have opinions and ideas and back them up with really good, well founded arguments.
What skills are required to do a job like yours?
The skills that are important in this job are having effective communication and a really good eye for detail. There’s a lot of administration; you will need to read and understand things and be able to spot mistakes quickly. Because you’re working with so many different partners inside and outside the Company, having good communication skills and being able to be persuasive is also really important.
What is the best part of your job?
Whilst it might sound heavy on the administration, my role involves something new every day. You might find yourself one day trying to find a sword fighting coach for The Three Musketeers and then the next day you could be on tour with the Company at a city anywhere in the country, or even abroad. That excitement is something I really enjoy.
Another thing I really like about this job is that I’m always working on things for the future. You get a real buzz when something that was just an idea four years ago, happens. It’s also great to see the audience at the theatre enjoying their special day out, creating memories.