Producer Development project

Anna Schmitz

Az created this project in 2006, initiated through a dedicated fund, in order to build the capacity of new creative producers to work in the independent sector.

Az has worked with three producers under the scheme, combining their work for the company with a programme of skill development, training and reflective practice.

We decided to make the Producer Development Project a creative project alongside our creative projects. It is based on practical hands-on work, mentoring, and training. It emphasises the creative role of the producer and the attributes necessary to work for a small, independent and internationally oriented company. We have committed ourselves to using reflective practice to guide and assess the work.

At the start of the producer's involvement with the company four or five key capabilities, skills and/or areas of knowledge are identified. These are determined by the young producer's needs and Az Theatre's ongoing programme. Objectives are agreed upon and at intervals progress is assessed by producer, director and mentor.

Having raised initial funding, Az Theatre is now seeking further funding for this important development project.

Pilot scheme
From July 2005 to December 2006 Az Theatre ran a pilot of the scheme with Anna Schmitz as Producer. War Stories: Alcestis and The Cannibals were identified as the two key projects. Various forms of training both formal and informal have been undertaken in producing site specific theatre, online content management systems, and workshop facilitation. A programme of mentoring and reflective practice was carried out.


Mervat Shallouf has joined Az Theatre as a producer on our production of Life on the Borderline. Mervat has an MA in Arts Admistration and Cultural Policy from Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is a graduate in Enlgish Literature from Al-Azhar University in Gaza and she worked as an Office Manager for Theatre Day Productions in Gaza from 2001. Her work with Az is being supported by a bursary from the Qattan Foundation. She is working with Executive Producer Louise Chantal of Chantal Arts whose Lady of Burma production will be at Riverside Studios from 7th November.

Anya Ryzhenkova has a new appointment as a Marketing Dvelopment Manager with CDS. The pilot of this project ran with great success in 2006.


Anya Ryzhenkova started working with the company on Monday 26th February and she is the centre of our Producer Development Project.

She has already made a fundamental impact on the company¹s work and we are currently planning a programme of training, mentoring and 'reflective practice'. This last means that we periodically review work with relationship to what we have determined as key personal and professional aspirations.

Anya was trained at the London School of Economics and Political Science where she took a BSc in International Relations and a MSc in Global Media and Communications which was a joint Masters with an MA in Global Communications from the Annenberg School for Communications (USC Los Angeles). She is fluent in Ukrainian, Russian and English and has intermediate level Spanish. For the past three years she has been working as a Trader for a steel trading company. She has decided to strike out in a new direction and move into the arts sector as a producer.