Thursday, 21 November 2013

Nicole's GEW Presentation

Stepping Back On Stage 

I was both honoured and amazed when I was asked a few months ago to be a key speaker at this years Shaping Portsmouth Conference at The Portsmouth Guildhall. The event was to mark the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week and the request was to simply tell my story.

Now for those of you who know me you may think that this would not be a problem! But believe me when I say I was genuinely nervous. I am very proud of my journey and know how hard I have worked every step of the way to get to where I am today, but I did wondered how much of my story would be of any real interest to the high profile attendees of this particular conference.

I was reassured that in fact it was a tale like mine, one of pure passion for a particular subject a passion and creativity that wasn't inhibited by the normal self doubting boundaries of possible failure, that could be an inspiration to most people there. So I took on the challenge and set about writing my piece.

Well on Monday I stepped back onto the stage, a place I would normally call home. Unfortunately as a public speaker I found the once comforting sight of lights and an eagerly awaiting audience a very scary and solitary place. I am pleased to say that I hid the nerves well and managed to get all my words out clearly and even received a warm round of applause at the end!

So incase you missed it heres is my speech in full!

Hello my name is Nicole Geddes and I am co founder and creative director of Manic Stage Productions and our entertainment team who you have just been treated to - 
The Show Girlz.

Before I tell you a little bit more about my business and its place here in Portsmouth, I think its important to give you an insight into my background
 and highlight that becoming a business woman was never the initial intention, but in fact the end result of a life long passion for dance and the performing arts.

Looking around I’m sure many of you here today, like me attended dance classes through your early years. Well my childhood hobby soon turned into my dream and dance was to become my chosen career path.

At 16 I set of to London to train at one of the countries top stage schools - 
Performers College. Upon graduation I entered the professional world of performing and was lucky enough to carve out a career as a dancer across the country and abroad.

I performed on stage and screen for A listers including Kylie Minogue right through to to British comedy legends like Cannon & Ball. Some would say my dreams had come true.

But whilst I was certainly enjoying every minute and every opportunity, I became more and more aware that life as a dancer is short lived by both age and ability.

It was seven years ago, after only 5 years as a performer that I made the unchartered decision to prematurely end my time on stage and try to transition into a more secure role in the industry - Choreography.

I am pleased to say the risk paid off, and I was soon working as an assistant choreographer, in New York, along side Broadway directors and many of the cities most talented choreographers and up and coming dancers. From here I spent time in LA, again assisting one of the states top Show Choir directors, Think Glee!

So where does Manic Stage Productions fit into this very busy timeline? Everything happened so quickly. Prior to me unexpectedly heading off, to work across the pond.
I had set up my company Manic Stage Productions with my super talented, life long friend Matt Newman.

It seems Manic was a twist of fate and for the 3 years I worked over in the states, it was developing into a reputable company that the local community could trust.
Matt and I simply taught our talents to local community groups, dance schools, state and private schools, establishing a solid repore due to our professional levels of training and our joint impressive performance CV.

And here I am today, It was because of Manic’s rapid development and clear potential, that I stopped jetting off to work in America to give our company 100% of my time and efforts. I can honestly say I have never looked back and as well as continuing to provide Portsmouth, with the same high levels of teaching we always endeavoured too. We now also have a fabulous team of talented girls, who work hard entertaining at events, along the south coast, as our entertainment team The Show Girlz.

I guess you might say I have come full circle, as although I am now not performing my self with the show girls. My passion for dance and the performing aspect of the arts is still ever present. Its just I now use my industry knowledge and contacts to give the girlz the same opportunities Matt and I were so lucky to have had and experienced, all those years ago!

Matt and I had no business qualifications or attributes when we naively decided to strike out into the the unknown world of management and looking back it could have all gone terribly wrong.
Why did we manage to succeed against all the odds?
Well I believe that it was our genuine love of what we do, our enthusiasm for what we believed possible and the extensive knowledge we had acquired NOT about business, but about the field we wished to pursue our business in.

We were lucky enough to have gained 1st hand experiences through our time in the performing arts industry, that held us in good stead to pass on, at 1st our training to others and now our inside expertise, on full show production, entertainment and ways to enhance any event.

WATCH Event Production Film

Finally I would like to stress that starting and developing, Manic Stage Productions has not been easy. My advice to anyone here today thinking of starting a business is, take full advantage of the many FREE courses, networking groups and information services available to you.

Portsmouth is forefront in offering entrepreneurial opportunities and over the past 7 years both Matt and I have taken many of these FREE courses and asked for a ton of advice. It has been fundamental in our development and certainly assured us that we are presenting the company in the best way possible.

We are lucky to be based in this vibrant, multi cultural, historic city that really does embrace supporting local businesses on every level. On top of that we have been supported by so many other Portsmouth based business. There are many people in this room who I personally owe thanks too.

I think you will agree that we all thrive because we each  individually believe in the city and in helping each other to achieve.

So what do I think is the biggest hurdle for a Portsmouth based business?
Collectively I feel our biggest problem is convincing the remainder of the South Coast that all of our services, products and endevours are equal in both standards and deliverance to any other company trading from lets say London.

It seems we are so close to the capital that we may all get over looked from time to time, but we know that our services, are more cost-effective and delivered with a more personal touch. Which surely counts for much more than a post code.

I am, along with so many of you here today an ambassador for supporting and using local services and purchasing local products. I believe whole heartedly in the pursuit of building the Portsmouth brand.

This is reflected in the ethos of Manic Stage Productions. It has always been to provide opportunities to professional performers outside of London. Those graduates that still wish to work in the entertainment industry - just a little closer to home.
By doing this we can certainly guarantee a high level of entertainment equal to any other company, but at a more affordable cost to you the local client.

After the announcements last week of the drastic cuts to the cities cultural budgets, it makes me more determined than ever to provide cost effective entertainment for the city and its creative establishments. I appreciate first hand the challenges the creative sector face and Manic want to support and work closely with others to over come these.

Lastly, It would be easy to abandon Portsmouth in search of larger financial gain but I believe in the Chinese proverb “If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people.” and by growing people and relationships within this great city we can all together - Shape Portsmouth. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Filmed for Children In Need

Will you spot us?!

We are excited to announce that on Sunday evening we were filmed for Children in Need to be aired on the BBC this Friday!

Nicole & Matt the creative directors of Manic Stage Productions choreographed and produced a fabulous fun Circus themed medley perfect for the Children in Need fund raising show at The Kings Theatre, Southsea.

Our professional entertainment team The SHOW Girlz opened the show with this high energy, visually pleasing new piece and really got the event of to a fantastic start!

8 of our gorgeous girls took to the stage as circus characters including a lion tamer, a ballerina and of course a couple of clowns. The children in the audience loved how colourful the team looked and were treated to a 10 minute mixed medley of song and dance.

We don't want to give to much away but just so you know what you are looking for through Friday nights live show, here is a video of just one small section - ENJOY :-)

To work with or book The SHOW Girls for your next event email