The Business

These compact 3-hour company development sessions, led by Spymonkey’s managing artistic director Toby Park and producer Emily Coleman, are aimed at performing arts companies and individual practitioners in need of practical advice about how to run their businesses in a more sustainable way.


Sessions can be adapted to fit longer sessions. See our upcoming workshops page, or contact for more information.


The Business #1:



The session is aimed at theatre companies and individual artists who are working on getting a show off the ground, developing touring for a show that already exists, or in need of advice about operating a company efficiently, legally and professionally.


With over 10 years experience producing small and mid-scale theatre, and supporting numerous artists to make and tour their work, Emily will work through practical tips in fundraising, simple financial management and tour booking. Armed with template budgets and spreadsheets for you to take away Emily and Toby will also answer any questions about getting your work out to the people.

The Business #2:



The session is aimed at theatre companies and individual artists who are working on getting a show off the ground, developing a show that already exists, or in need of advice about marketing.


We will look at branding, publicity, how to assemble a marketing pack for touring venues, tips for making promo materials and distribution across social media. There will be an opportunity to answer questions and address specific needs of participants.


The company also offer arts businesses bespoke consultancy and mentoring services, to fit any requirements. Clients include:


  • Big House Derby (an EU-funded initiative run by Derby University)
  • In Good Company, Derby Theatre
  • Little Soldier Theatre Company
  • Hijack Children's Festival
  • Phil Supple Light Refreshment
  • Brighton Etch Printmakers
  • Ragroof Players
  • Inroads Theatre Company
  • A&E Comedy


As a company and individuals, Emily and Toby could offer support in all of the areas outlined above and could run small workshops offering practical solutions, templates and tips based on a solid and informed understanding of best practice in the arts/theatre industry. More bespoke 1:1 mentoring would see us work in person or online to assesses each individual business strengths and weaknesses to identify areas of development. As many start-ups have different scales of skills and experience this is a proven way of working to ensure they go away with tangible solutions to their specific needs.


An example of this for 1:1 coaching could be:


  • Have an initial overview meeting to ascertain the companies skills and ambitions and specific areas for support
  • Suggesting an emerging producer to help manage the day to day running of the company to ease administrative capacity.
  • seeing their most recent theatre work in development to understand their artistic direction
  • Hosting a visioning day
  • Drawing up a 2 year project plan and fundraising strategy
  • Support writing funding applications
  • Support to the company with ad-hoc communication with regards project and business finances
  • Advocating for the company via established networks



An example of graphic design coaching Toby could run would include:


  • Initial meeting to understand the companies visual identity eg: logo, company images, production images, show graphics etc
  • Understanding visual identity across all platforms eg website, printed materials, social media etc
  • Drawing up and plan of missing assets and design brief
  • Designing first draft of assets according to the brief and share with company
  • Gathering feedback and amending designs accordingly
  • Completing design saved in all the necessary formats for cross-platform use and share with company
  • Train key members in how to apply visuals and graphics on multiple platforms



This format could also easily apply to web design and would end in a tutorial on how the company could update the site themselves to ensure they are self-sufficient after the coaching is complete.


For more information please contact

Our experience


Spymonkey have been operating as a project-funded, independent theatre company for 20 years and, much like start-up or early career companies, with no core costs or long-term investment to sustain activity outside of grants. Toby Park, Spymonkey’s Managing Artistic Director, has led the company over its lifetime managing the finances, branding, profile and marketing for the business. He is responsible for all aspects of:


  • branding
  • typography
  • website and graphic design
  • online marketing resources
  • mailing lists
  • promo videos
  • video on demand service
  • educational resources
  • poster and flyer design
  • social media and integration
  • video editing
  • QuickBooks accounting
  • budgeting using Excel/Numbers spreadsheets


Our producer Emily Coleman has over 10 years experience working with artists to make and tour devised theatre on the small and mid-scale and is acutely aware of the challenges facing early to mid-career artists and companies. Emily is currently on a short term contract as co-producer for the artist development programme In Good Company based at Derby Theatre where she supports theatre-makers to develop their practice and their businesses. She mentors and offers coaching to individual and small unincorporated groups to take an overview of their current activity, scale and understand their ambition and provides advice and guidance in the following areas:


  • fundraising
  • budget planning and management
  • company structure
  • general theatre producing
  • strategic planning
  • revenue generating opportunities
  • marketing and social media planning and delivery
  • production and touring information packs
  • Tour booking
  • Financial overview/planning

Emily has also offered 1:1 mentoring to artists and producers at a crossroads in their careers to provide an outside eye and experienced perspective on the arts industry in order to evaluate, plan and support the implementation of a business plan. Organsations and individuals who have benefitted from this include Maison Foo, Jenny Gaskill and Russell Bender/Potential Difference.

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