Redefining accepted concepts of management by examining the management of the creative process within the performing arts industries.


“There’s not enough smoke coming out of the moose’s nostrils!”

This anguished cry from director Richard Jones during one of the technical rehearsals for Rossini’s LE COMTE ORY with Kent Opera in the late 1980s might seem to express a simple statement of fact, that as part of Jones’ creative vision, there is not enough smoke coming out of the moose’s nostrils.

It may, however, be seen as a reversion to childhood: “I want more smoke and you are not giving it to me!” It is a clear plea for improvement in the quality (and quantity) of technical support and resources. It is also an expression of frustration that perhaps Jones’ creative vision may not have been understood; this implies that it may not have been clearly stated.

Psychological models of the parent, child and adult are all present here and it is a desire to understand the nature of the creative mind and what is required to nurture it within the working environment that forms the core concept driving this research.


Much has been written about management. Browsing the shelves of bookshops up and down the country, there might appear to be an endless source of material upon which to draw. Most of these books are written from a business or financial point of view, some using a "self-help" perspective and a few look at management from a particular angle, dealing with particular problems.

Comparatively little is written about management in the creative industries and the more I consider this, the more I wonder why it should be the case. Managers of the creative process within the performing arts industries demonstrate commitment and adaptability; they deal with huge numbers of problems, with pressure and with attitude on a daily basis and they deal with these things very well indeed. Perhaps they should be leading the way.


Armed with the answers to a series of questions related to these notions of effective and comparable management practice, I will argue that managers in the creative industries have a great deal to teach others when it comes to collaboration, positivity and flexibility in their own practice; that at its heart, management is quite simply all about relationships.