Employer Interview – Dawn Martin


Since graduating with a degree in the Performing Arts, Dawn has gained considerable experience working in a number of roles within the theatre and events industries in the UK, the West End, touring internationally and within Australia.

Recent positions include Company Manager for the Michael Cassel Group’s productions of Kinky Boots, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Production Associate for the pre-production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne, Executive Producer for the 2019 Helpmann Awards at Arts Centre Melbourne, Company Manager for the Gordon Frost Organisation’s 2020 production of Pippin and in 2021 Producer for Opera Australia’s postponed production of The Phantom of the Opera. Currently Dawn is back in the role of Production Associate for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and will soon take up the position of Company Manager for Michael Cassel Group’s upcoming production of Mary Poppins.

Dawn has been the General Manager for Martin Production Pty Ltd since founding the company in 1999 with her husband and business partner Richard Martin and is proud to be a founding Director of ShowLoop.


SHOWLOOP: What is your job title and who are you employed by?

DM: I am a freelance theatre and event practitioner experienced in abroad range of roles including stage management, resident direction, company management and producing. I am also General Manager for Martin Production Pty Ltd and a Director of ShowLoop.

SHOWLOOP: When did you start working in Theatre/Events and what was your first job?

DM: Having graduated with a degree in the Performing Arts in 1983 my first paid professional job was doing wardrobe maintenance on a tour of England with Century Theatre, a small touring repertory company based in the north-west. Shortly after starting with Century Theatre I was offered an ASM position with an Equity Card which was a big deal at the time as back then you had a to have a card to work in the industry.

SHOWLOOP: Did you have any industry specific education or training?

DM: My degree in the Performing Arts gave me a good grounding in the history of theatre and theatre production, how theatre developed into its various forms today, an understanding of the translation of text into performance and performance technique for dance and drama. Although I had a great three years at Nonington College my degree has never actually been instrumental in getting a job! The best training has been ‘on the job’ training enabling me to learn the industry from the bottom up – starting as an ASM in regional touring, working on large-scale commercial musicals in the West End and then working in Australia and internationally directly on shows and in the production office. I am still learning… 

SHOWLOOP: What have been your career highlights?

DM: I have been extremely lucky that my career has allowed me to work in different genres and in many countries across the world. There have been many career highlights, but if I had to pick a few they would be:

  • Getting my first professional job with a UK Equity Card and contract.
  • Getting my first job in the West End as an ASM on the original production of Miss Saigon.
  • Joining an Australian tour of Les Misérables in Hong Kong and meeting my husband – later this year we will celebrate 25 years!!!
  • Calling the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000.
  • After many years of working on the Helpmann Awards, unexpectedly becoming the Executive Producer of the 2019 Helpmann Awards Ceremonies which took place for the first time at Arts Centre Melbourne, and which included the first ever live cross to another venue during the broadcast for a world first performance by the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
  • Narrowly avoiding catching Covid-19 in February 2020 from Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks whilst working as Associate Producer on Rita’s concert at the Sydney opera House! 

SHOWLOOP: What are your career aspirations?

DM: I don’t have career aspirations – I just consider all opportunities that come my way and decide if they’re for me or not…

SHOWLOOP: What impact did the Covid-19 induced industry lockdown have on you?

DM: The biggest impact on me personally was being let go from my position as Producer with Opera Australia last July after 6 months of intensive planning for The Phantom of the Opera came to nothing with the cancellation of the seasons in Sydney and Melbourne. A big impact on the industry that I am currently aware of is the fact that many skilled and experienced stage crew and production staff for various reasons have left the industry. Producers and Technical Directors are now struggling to recruit and keep skilled, experienced staff on their productions. In my view the best training for these positions is acquired ‘on the job’ and over time but sadly there are few opportunities for this level of training and the Industry is the worse for it.For me, working in theatre and events has always been a vocation, a life-style choice and I have always considered myself lucky to work in this environment. Unfortunately, some now seem to view it as just another job but with inconvenient hours. Now more than ever the industry needs skilled experienced and committed workers to keep the curtain up and the industry alive.

SHOWLOOP: What projects are you currently working on?

DM: I am currently employed as Production Associate for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.Next month I move on to Mary Poppins as Company Manager.

SHOWLOOP: What can ShowLoop do for you/the industry?

DM: ShowLoop was created during lockdown in an attempt to disrupt and bring into the 21st Century the way recruitment is carried out in the theatre and event industry and to give theatre and event workers a platform to showcase their skills and experience:

  • SHOWLOOP is an online resource that brings employers and workers together and can facilitate the staffing of productions and events through one central location.
  • SHOWLOOP provides a platform for staff and crew to be considered for positions and promotion that they may not otherwise be aware of or considered for, and for employers to easily seek and employ skilled and experienced staff and crew from across the industry.
  • SHOWLOOP is an industry specific online directory for goods and services, venue information, training and education, touring accommodation and more…
  • ShowLoop aims to validate our profession by demonstrating that there is a community of theatre and event workers who are educated, trained, skilled and experienced and are of diverse age groups and backgrounds who underpin a multi-million dollar industry. We hope that staff and crew (who would usually make a career of being invisible) will take the opportunity to make themselves visible by joining up and creating profiles on ShowLoop to facilitate recognition by Government and other organisations.

The OGs seem reluctant to recruit by any other means than word of mouth but we are optimistic that the ‘Next Gen’ will embrace the concept and use it to their advantage! ShowLoop (like my career) is very much a work in progress so any suggestions for development and improvement are very welcome…

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