How drama production team grew to £1m ticket sales in just five years

PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 August 2019

Prestige Productions' Seven Drunken Nights.

Prestige Productions' Seven Drunken Nights.

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A Portishead production company which has one of the most successful touring shows in the UK has grown from strength to strength.

Ross MillsRoss Mills

Prestige Productions, based in Kestrel Court, was started five years ago by long-term friends Trevor Payne and Ross Mills.

Reporter Ellie Young caught up with Ross to find out about the production company's success.

How did Prestige Productions start?

Prestige Productions' Walk Right Back. Picture: Ian RichardsPrestige Productions' Walk Right Back. Picture: Ian Richards

Ross said: "I have known Trevor for most of my life and we are great friends as well as business partners.

"Trevor is the producer of one of the most successful touring theatre productions - That'll Be The Day - which often plays at The Playhouse in Weston and the Bristol Hippodrome several times a year.

"He is also a producer in the Cliff Richard West End Musical."

Ross used to play tennis professionally, training with the likes of Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski and modelling.

Prestige Productions' Some Guys Have All Luck.Prestige Productions' Some Guys Have All Luck.

He also took a turn as a bank manager for some time.

Ross added: "Trevor and I started Prestige Productions as we wanted to create, produce and tour theatre productions nationally and internationally and in April alone we grossed more than £1million in ticket sales.

"Trevor is also the ambassador for Weston's Playhouse Theatre which is a great honour for him - Kenn Dodd previously held the role."

Prestige Productions' Seven Drunken Nights.Prestige Productions' Seven Drunken Nights.

What was the hope for the company when it was first set up?

Ross said: "We wanted to create a company which produced and toured high quality production shows playing all the major theatres across the country and abroad and we have now become one of the market leaders in this industry.

"Our aim now is to continue building the company and writing, producing and touring more international shows.

"We have a fantastic creative team backed by brilliant marketing director Helen Skillington who continue to drive the company forward and we have just taken on our new office manager Blaise Parsons who resides in Nailsea."

Trevor Payne.Trevor Payne.

What was the first show?

The first big show Prestige Productions toured was called Ireland's Call which toured through the UK and was written by Trevor, Ross and Ged Graham.

Ross MillsRoss Mills

How many shows have been staged since the company's conception?

Ross said: "We currently have 18 different production shows touring throughout the UK and abroad and in April and May we had approximately 150 shows playing both nationally and internationally.

"In 2019, we'll tour more than 700 shows rising to more than 1,000 in 2020. This will include tours of Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia, Australia, Finland, Canada and the USA."

Prestige Productions' Seven Drunken Nights.Prestige Productions' Seven Drunken Nights.

How many members are there now?

The company is made up of a creative team of around 10 people with several marketing staff.

Ross added: "We also work closely with more than 200 people each year to produce and tour the various shows.

"These individuals are everyone from lighting and sound engineers, truck drivers, hotel and transport bookers to the cast themselves."

Prestige Productions' Seven Drunken Nights.Prestige Productions' Seven Drunken Nights.

How are the shows funded?

Ross explained: "The shows are all self-funded by the company and this is headed up by our business and finance manager Sue Parry.

"We work two to three years in advance so an idea might not appear on stage for up to 36 months so a lot of planning takes place before the first show is seen."

Prestige Productions' Walk Right Back. Picture: Ian RichardsPrestige Productions' Walk Right Back. Picture: Ian Richards

What shows are touring at the moment?

"We have shows touring constantly both here and abroad, but we have several shows appearing this year and next at the Bristol Hippodrome and The Playhouse Theatre."

Other shows which have been aired in the area thanks to Prestige include Emerald Storm, Arrival: The Hits Of ABBA, The Overtones and Carole - The Music Of Carole King.

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