H.M.S Pinafore Essay

Executive Summary
The purpose of this document is to report the proposed decisions in the planning and administering of the H.M.S Pinafore production activities. I, Francis Vanden Hoven, have been selected as producer of this production. Thus, as producer I have overall responsibility for all aspects of the show. I am expected to plan the show’s major phases, delegate authority to several managers, provide moral support, and ensure that revenues and expenses meet budgeted targets. In knowing these roles and responsibilities I knew it would be best to begin by meeting with people involved that had experience with the Society. I’ve organized the activities as discussed in this meeting and was able to find the critical path, prepare a Gantt chart and formulate an implementation plan. I recommend adding an extra day of rehearsals every second week to be sure we succeed in meeting deadlines. I have no qualms about meeting our budget with the proposed plan outline.

Issue Identification
Immediate Issue
Once the budget is approved, a formal organizational chart will be required to prioritize tasks to ensure critical items are being focused on. I only have the ability to focus on being a producer for this production on a part-time basis, therefore it’s very important to be sure concentration is only centered on what’s necessary for the opening night, all cleanup activities can be worried dealt with later. A more complete budget to make tough financial decisions will also be necessary. Systemic Issues

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As this is my first experience in the role of a producer a meeting was scheduled with Deb, Mona, and Liz. They have experience with this production and therefore valuable feedback and knowledge and meeting with them brought some issues to my attention. The performance runs from January 13th to January 22nd which lands after the Christmas holidays and exams period and most of our volunteers are students with exams during that time, therefore tight schedules will be necessary but it may exhaust the cast and crew or even push them to the brink of quitting as they are there on their own unpaid time. Decisions also need to be made on such things as the programs, advertising, costumes, set, music, etc.

For some of these tasks specialists in certain areas are necessary and need to be hired. I need to begin advertising job postings and interviewing to find the right people, even the volunteers need to be chosen properly. To begin putting things in place I need to get organized and prepare a chart, control and reporting will be crucial and challenging during every stage of this project. Environmental & Root Cause Analysis

Qualitative Analysis
Each year the University of Western Ontario’s Gilbert and Sullivan (G&S) Society staged a single production funded by the University Students’ Council (USC). The Society’s mandate was to give students, faculty, alumni, and the greater community an opportunity to participate in and enjoy high quality theatre productions at an affordable price. This year marks the Society’s 40th anniversary and to make it spectacular we chose to use one of William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s most popular operettas H.M.S Pinafore. With the performance merely four months away critical decisions
and planning needed to be completed. Some key decisions have already been made: Tickets prices were set at $14 for adults, with a $2 reduction for students and seniors; the cast size will be 40; Chuck Baxter has been hired as musical director; 10 evening and matinee performances will be staged at the 360-seat Talbot Theatre. The Society operated under a budget set and administered by the USC. Last year’s budget had been $28,000, which I believe will be around the same for this year. Although some paid staff is hired, the Society relies heavily on volunteers in all areas of the production. Most of which are students and about 40% of the cast and crew came from in and around the community. The amount necessary for the fixed costs such as honoraria, theatre shop fees, costumes, and radio and television advertisements totals over $14,000, therefore careful consideration and planning must be done to manage the variable expenses. To better prepare for the tasks ahead I scheduled a meeting with my assistant Deb Carrarro, the costume coordinator Mona Bryden, and the artistic director Elizabeth Van Doorne. Each of the women had experience with similar roles in previous years, making their knowledge vital to the success of this production. After the meeting held on September 5th I put together the information discussed and came up with the following: Statement of Work (SOW)

The activities involved to certify the H.M.S Pinafore performance takes place in Talbot Theater from January 13th to January 22nd must be organized and executed in such a way to ensure the best quality production at the best costs possible. A well-developed schedule must be established and followed precisely to guarantee a successful 40th anniversary production for the Society, within the $28,000 budget from the USC. Work Breakdown Structure

Table 1
1H.M.S Pinafore Performance
1.1Budget Approval
1.2.1Hire Publicity Director
1.2.2Get photos and biographies of cast and crew the Information into a computer program
1.2.3Printing information on a diskette to the printer
1.3Cast and Crew
1.3.1Advertise to attract volunteers
1.3.2Need to arrange time and place with piano for auditions
1.3.3Audition and select cast
1.3.4Nail down names of the cast, crew and orchestra
1.4Set Design and Build
1.4.1Hire set designer
1.4.2Hire production crew
1.4.3Train production crew for stage work
1.5.1Musical director to recruit orchestra
1.5.2Musical director to arrange sheet music
1.6.1Schedule rehearsals with music and considering holidays and exams
1.6.2Orchestra Rehearsal
1.7.1Find costume assistant, collect supplies, measure cast, order from Toronto
1.7.2Organize costume parade
1.8Dress Rehearsals
1.9Advertising for the show
1.9.1Select advertising crew
1.9.2Develop advertising plan

Immediate Predecessors
In order to have an estimate of the timing for the activities and the project as a whole, a precedence table was created to show each of the key activities with preceding activities and duration time. Table 2

Activity Description Time (Days)Precedence
H.M.S Pinafore Performance
1Budget Approval 2
2Hire Publicity Director 141
14Get photos and biographies of cast and crew3511
19Enter the Information into a computer program 114
20Bring information on a diskette to the printer for print 519
Cast and Crew
4Advertise to attract volunteers 71
8Need to arrange time and place with piano for auditions74 10Audition and select cast 28
11Nail down names of the cast, crew and orchestra10, 7, 5 13Set Design and Build423, 9
3Hire set designer 141
7Hire production crew 284
9Train production crew for stage work 127
5Musical director to recruit orchestra 71
6Musical director to arrange sheet music 71
12Schedule rehearsals with music and consider holidays and exams8410, 6 16Orchestra rehearsals 45, 6
15Find costume assistant, collect supplies, measure cast, order from Toronto 710 21Organize costume parade and complete alterations513, 12, 15 22Dress Rehearsals221
23Advertising for the show 2118
17Select advertising crew 282
18Develop advertising plan 717
Critical Path
See Exhibit 1 per attachment.

Quantitative Analysis
The estimated budget for this year’s performance is $28,000, based on last year’s budget. Total fixed costs tally $14,000 and include honoraria,
theatre shop fees, costumes, and radio and television advertisements. Variable operating costs are as seen below. Variable Costs

Program – $3,500
Advertising for volunteers – $40
Costumes – $6,500 – 10% = $5,850
Total Operating Costs = $9,390

To be sure that, in the event anything went wrong, we had enough time to complete the project I asked the team of any activities that could be sped up. While I was reminded that we are dealing with volunteers who are committed but aren’t being paid and have other responsibilities, if pushed too hard they may quit, I was given some valuable options. These are the alternatives that were presented: Advertising – if we spend more we could attract more good candidates and shorten the time to find the crews by a couple of weeks. Also, we could get the printer to speed up by doing overtime, getting it done in only two days. Cost = $750 Costumes – The costume place would speed up to two days as well. Cost = $100/day Set – By hiring as extra master builder we could knock a week off. Cost = $80/day Rehearsals – If the cast is pushed for more hours per week we will run into problems with cast members not having time to absorb the material and interfering with the other activities, in turn risking the chance of losing volunteers. And, if we cut down on the total time, the production won’t look as polished as preferred for opening night. Recommendation

After analysing the schedule and calendar I’ve made the following recommendations. We need to have rehearsals completed by Tuesday January 4 to allow enough time for costume parade, alterations and dress rehearsals. To accomplish this I recommend adding an extra rehearsal day every second week on Thursday. This way we can be sure to get in 12 weeks’ worth of rehearsals before exams and holidays and allow a leeway of a couple days for the “in case” events. This information will be relayed to the cast during auditions to eliminate any surprises and avoid anyone not being able to commit to this schedule. The last day of hiring the production crew lands
on Thanksgiving, therefore I recommend we push to try and finalize the hiring process a day early. If necessary we have a few days leeway on the production of the stage, but ultimately I would prefer if we could interview and hire prior to October 11th. After reviewing and analysing each step through the critical path method and use of a Gantt chart, it appears everything else is in line to complete within our designated timelines, therefore I recommend moving forward with the implementation schedule as laid out below. Examining the costs shows that we are currently only requiring $23,390 to cover fixed costs and operating costs for the program, advertising for volunteers, and getting costumes. No amounts have been established for the publicity director, set designer, or musical director as it’s assumed they are volunteering or to be approved on a separate budget. If needed, we have $4,610 currently left in our budget although I would like to maintain a positive amount in the event any certain task is required to speed up. As well, I suggest advertising for the show right from the date we can start, which according to the implementation plan is Oct 24th (however this is a Sunday, if required we can begin on Monday October 25th) and continuing right to the last performance. Implementation

The table below shows the start and end dates of the activities required to complete the H.M.S Pinafore performance. As well, please see attached Exhibit 2 Gantt Chart. While there are designated managers to spearhead certain activities, I am willing to help in any area I’m needed.

ActivityDescriptionStart Date End Date Action By
Task 1 Budget Approval 9/07/939/07/93Producer
Task 2Hire Publicity Director9/08/939/21/93Producer
Task 3Hire set designer 9/08/939/21/93Producer
Task 4 Advertise to attract volunteers 9/08/939/14/93Producer Task 5 Musical director to recruit orchestra 9/08/939/14/93Musical Director Task 6 Musical director to arrange sheet music 9/08/939/14/93Musical Director Task 7Hire production crew 9/14/9310/11/93Production Manager Task 8Need to arrange time and place with piano for auditions9/14/939/21/93Producer Task 9Train production crew for stage work 10/11/9310/22/93Production Manager Task 10Audition and select cast
9/21/939/22/93Artistic Director Task 11Nail down names of the cast, crew and orchestra10/11/9310/11/93Producer Assistant Task 12Schedule rehearsals with music and consider holidays and exams9/22/9301/04/93 Producer Task 13Set Design and Build10/22/9312/02/93Production Manager Task 14Get photos and biographies of cast and crew10/11/9311/14/93Artistic Director Task 15Find costume assistant, collect supplies, measure cast, order from Toronto9/22/939/28/93Costume Coordinator Task 16Orchestra rehearsals 9/14/939/17/93Musical Director Task 17Select advertising crew 9/21/9310/18/93Advertising Director Task 18Develop advertising plan 10/18/9310/24/93Advertising Director Task 19Enter the cast & crew Information into a computer program 11/14/9311/14/93Producer Assistant Task 20Bring information on a diskette to the printer for print 11/15/9311/19/93Producer Assistant Task 21Organize costume parade and complete alterations 1/04/931/08/93Costume Coordinator Task 22Dress Rehearsals1/08/93 1/09/93Artistic Director

Task 23Advertising for the show 10/24/93OngoingAdvertising Director

Monitor and Control
As producer I have overall responsibility for all aspects of the show therefore I want to be sure I am aware of all activities taking place and any setbacks the moment they are discovered or even a possibility. To do so I will have meetings to see progress and make certain we’re on track. If for any reason something falls behind we need to be able to jump on it instantly, therefore group meetings should be scheduled for once a week and if necessary more. I will also be sure to contact the appropriate managers at the start date and end date of each task, this will help me be on top of things progressing and track it in my final report. If at any point issues do arise we will review the alternatives as discussed above to see which of the options will keep us in line, depending on the issue at hand. The organizational charts and implementation charts found in this document are to be used and followed accordingly. If for any reason there are changes to be made we will discuss in the meetings and from there make the appropriate modifications. I want it to be clear with the entire H.M.S team, whether it be manager, cast, crew, designer, or musician, that I have an open
communication policy and welcome anyone to contact me. Open communication will safeguard against challenges and setbacks. Conclusion

In conclusion, I am dedicated to the overall success of this years’ performance, not only is it a milestone celebrating 40 years, it’s also my first opportunity to prove myself in the role of a producer and leader. Therefore I am confident in my analysis and recommendations as reported in this document.