Natalie Chan is a producer and Director/Chief Executive of Kakilang who was on our New Associates cohort for 2023/24. Here's how she found her experience.


I joined the New Associates programme towards the end of my tenure as Creative Producer for In Good Company, where I was covering maternity leave. I was so inspired by the amount of stories and determination that artists wanted to tell, in the Midlands region and beyond. I am constantly hearing about the lack of independent producers, so I thought there would be a market and enough work for me, therefore have decided to give it a go becoming a full-time freelance producer. 

I had been freelance producing for one artist, Max Percy, for several years whilst juggling full-time jobs at organizations. I offer advice to artist a lot during my time at IGC, so I joined New Associates with the intention of getting to know other artists in a more peer to peer way, hearing what they look for in a producer, and getting advice/inspiration from them on how I can better myself as a human and producer to support other artists. In all our sessions as well as having guest speakers sharing their experience, we have managed to check in with each other, and I am able to hear from others about their success and challenges, such as ticket sales being slow and tour-booking being difficult, these were all very reassuring and necessary so I know “it’s not just me”. The first projects I had as a freelance producer was producing for Chronic Insanity and Chalk Line Theatre both led by incredible artists starting their own companies, and the peer to peer network via New Associates was invaluable. I can also sense checking with others in the group “the artists I’m working for are asking this of me, is that fair in your experience?” without being judged and it’s so important.

The programme has been incredible at connecting us all together through go and see events, where I got to know everyone more informally. As someone who’s still fairly new to the region, and at a life stage where I have space in my life for friends, the programme has allowed me to build meaningful friendships, being mutually supportive with other artists without the pressure that we have to be collaborating together, which is very important, and I know will help me sustain my career.

I have now gone back to working full-time as Director/Chief Executive of Kakilang, an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation that champions and produces East and Southeast Asian artists, a job that came up that I simply could not refuse, but the network and support with New Associates remain and I know I will be leaning into this group people long after the programme finishes.