Introducing the first of our very talented Trainee Producers, Lola Panton

Hi, I’m Lola and I am 25 years old. I grew up in Bournemouth and moved back here after completing my degree at the University of Winchester. I graduated in 2017 with a First Class BA(Hons): Choreography and Dance. I currently work on the Front of House at Pavilion Dance South West as well as doing freelance dance teaching.

I applied to this scheme as I thought it would be a great way to learn and gain hands on experience in producing events. I know from experience what a positive impact dance and the arts can have on people’s lives and I want to help share that with others. I am particularly interested in bridging the gap between graduate level and working professionally in the arts as it can be really hard for young people to know how to take the next steps after their degree.


I am hoping to gain confidence and knowledge in producing arts events through this scheme to help me know exactly how to bring my ideas to life. I am also hoping to make new friends and connections with other young creatives who specialise in different art forms. I feel I am learning so much from collaborating with people who have different knowledge and training and I love seeing how the different perspectives click together and help to develop ideas.


So far, I have most enjoyed meeting the other trainees (even though it can only be virtually for now) and hearing all of the creative ideas that everyone has. There is such a mix of different specialties within the group which makes it so interesting as we start to collaborate. I have also enjoyed hearing from the leaders and the different speakers who have come to the sessions as it is so interesting to hear about their journeys and the work they do. It is always reassuring to hear from people who have been in your position and see what they did to get to where they are in their careers as you can take inspiration from them. It has also been fun to get the inside scoop on what acts could potentially be headlining!

I am most looking forward to seeing the final project being completed and seeing something that we have produced being a part of the Arts by the Sea Festival. I think it will be so exciting to see it all come together and I cannot wait to see how our ideas develop and change as we go through this process. I imagine it may be challenging at times as we will likely encounter difficulties along the way, especially having to account for contingency plans for a covid-safe event if restrictions change. However, knowing there is a group of us working together and the teams at Emergency Exit Arts and Arts by the Sea supporting us, I am sure we will work out how to get around any obstacles.

My highlight so far was when we pitched our initial ideas for what we could produce for the festival. I felt nervous beforehand to pitch as it was over Zoom and not in person which can be harder to converse on. I also felt worried that no one would like what I suggested. Having positive feedback on this pitch was such a confidence boost and has definitely helped me to feel less nervous about putting my ideas forward. It was so fun to listen to all of the pitches that came from the group also and I felt really inspired listening to the variety of concepts that came out of it.

I am particularly looking forward to learning about best practices in working with external artists and how to convey the vision you have for the piece. I think it will be really helpful to learn about what goes into a contract as well to ensure we are working professionally with others and to make sure we are creating a fair agreement for all involved. I found the session we did on budgeting so informative and am further looking forward to utilising the skills learnt within our project. It will be so helpful to practice and learn more by seeing it in a real life situation and handling any issues that arise. Plus, the quiz at the end of this session was definitely a fun way to test what we had learned.

I am enthusiastic to be a part of this scheme and Arts by the Sea Festival as I love the energy it brings to the area. I love walking through the town centre when the festival is on as there is always so much to see. When you can see so many people watching and interacting with the art in the space and the way it brings people together in the area, it is hard not to smile and enjoy yourself.

I hope that this scheme gives me the knowledge and skills I need to produce my own events in the future. I want to produce dance events which will help give recent dance graduates more opportunities for development after completing their degree and provide further opportunities to find creative work. Additionally, I want to produce pieces which make people smile and bring positive energy into their lives. I would love to be able to do this alongside dance teaching as I enjoy having a mix of different creative projects on the go.

Thank you to everyone running the Trainee Producer Scheme! I feel so lucky to have been accepted on to it and am looking forward to learning and creating.

Stay tuned as we introduce four other of our Trainee Producers and document their artistic journey throughout the scheme run by Arts by the Sea and Emergency Exit Arts