James Bond The Musical. (Photo: BGB Studios)
In this spotlight we speak with Elliot David Hawker, the producer too busy to be found in tabloids
“I’ve always had a natural interest in the theatre and world of entertainment, and it was never enough for me to just be on stage, I wanted to learn everything that came with it, and be an expert of not only performance, but of every detail of what it really take to create such large scale productions.
Elliot David Hawker is a UK native whose career has been a whirlwind since day 1. Originally working as a dancer, he began his journey in the world of entertainment and events at an early age. For readers interested in the specialty areas of the entertainment world, and find out about the pathway of a Brit who will be working jumping across the pond to work next month to work as a producer with Spark Cooperative and Hardy Associates in the United States.
When only 12, he was interviewed by the BBC News, foreshadowing his career ambitions even before becoming a teenager. "I want to take up a career in dancing professionally...I want to dance in the West End, after that I would also like to be a choreographer or be a dance teacher,” Hawker was quoted at the time. It would come as no surprise to the average reader that someone who was already being profiled by the BBC as a 12 year old would go on to enjoy a successful career, but no doubt a young Hawker would still be ecstatic to know that he would not only fulfill his dreams but also exceed his expectations in enjoying the influence that comes with being a producer too.
Following school and tours with various ballet companies, he spent six years aboard cruise ships as a revue cast dancer. Despite the success he already brought to the stage, Hawker knew he had more to contribute than just a stellar show. He was determined to learn the ins and outs of the production as a whole. One could find Hawker everywhere, on stage performing, backstage in wardrobe, attending planning meetings, or heading up crew welfare.
“I involved myself in every aspect I could whether it be producing behind the scenes video content to event coordination. By proving I could successfully blend these roles, I was offered a management position which in turn affirmed to me that I was moving in the right direction career wise.”
Hawker was looked upon highly by his peers and higher-ups so much so that he was offered senior roles and increased responsibilities, an early sign that his talent, insight, and drive would take him far. It was clear that working as a producer was in the cards for the multi-talented Brit from the word ‘showtime’, a position that has allowed him to combine his diverse skill-set across the realms of entertainment and live events and one that will soon see him working in the United States with renowned company, Spark.
West End Eurovision (PBG Studios)
Hawker’s work transcends that of other ‘producers’ who just work in film or television. In part due to his time as a dancer and choreographer, Elliot’s speciality is in live entertainment events where he uses his diverse and refined skillset to create memorable musical and choreographed acts and performances. Although his unique expertise is now sought after for full-scale productions, the acclaimed producer has not forgotten his roots. Along with producing their shows, Hawker teaches at Studio 19, a vocational preparation program for students pursuing careers in dance. Students jump on the opportunity to take part in the studio’s “Sunday Club” where industry professionals are invited to give insight, direction, and invaluable knowledge to the aspiring dancers. It helps that Elliot has shepharded some of Studio’s most successful productions, including A Night At The Musicals and Through The Decades, for which he co-produced with studio Directors Vicki & Josh Wille, contributing to the lighting design, Staging, Front of house merchandising and backstage management.
Hawker then found himself holding leading roles in live entertainment production including for West End Eurovision staged at the iconic Piccadilly Theatre, and Live & Let Hedge, the James Bond the Musical staged at the renowned Savoy Theatre to critical acclaim. No doubt Hawker’s responsibilities were at times stressful, but it’s clear that his contributions paid off and were key in helping the productions realise their success.
Hawker’s background gave him a perspective unlike others working in live entertainment and his willingness to grow in the industry stood out to those with whom he worked. He ultimately holds the leading position in a niche area of entertainment as a multifaceted producer, something he thoroughly enjoys.
“Sometimes when people ask me what I do, I think it’s probably quicker to tell them what I don’t do. My job is quite unique - it’s not what a regular film producer does, and it’s not just standard theatre producing - it’s a cross-section of so many different disciplines, and I love it that way because every day is different.”
Hawker worked multiple productions for West End Eurovision, a legendary battle featuring eight performances in one evening. No easy feat for those without the proper passion and endurance. Thanks to the producer’s unprecedented talent, the show was a “sold-out storming success,” raising over￡110,000 for The Make A Difference Trust, a charity working to support HIV and AIDS projects in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa (BroadwayWorld, 2018). This, along with variable other charity events, reveals the significance of Hawker’s contributions to his industry and every production in which he takes part.
His work has been critical to the success of events with the Make A Difference Trust.
“The shows that MAD Trust put on are so uplifting and exciting.You get to see months of hard work accumulate into one exciting night of world class entertainment that brings together a huge number of West End Stars. It’s such a unique performance, and the only time you will ever see performers from 8 different musicals all on the same stage at the same time, and the incredible change that’s being made to people's lives through the funds raised as a result, is intangible and immeasurable.
Hawker’s experience and motivation recently presented him with the opportunity to revisit the Royal Caribbean cruise ships to produce An Evening with Celine Dion Starring Tracy Shield. For an event such as this, Hawker’s responsibilities include everything from lighting design to visual marketing. His success with producing such a show is clearly reflected with a dazzling nomination for a National Tribute Music Award. With Hawker’s unique background and understanding he created a spectacular evening filled with iconic songs from Dion’s career paired with stunning visuals and a world class orchestra which can now been seen all over the globe.
“If it were not for my experience with Royal Caribbean and the opportunities to learn about productions from their concept through to opening night, I would not have had this opportunity to be responsible for the entire production of this show. The experience was so invigorating, and seeing the standing ovation at the end of “My Heart Will Go On” was a really proud moment, and i knew i’d produced an awesome piece of theatre.”
Hawker is setting his sights on working with the best. By building upon his roots in live performances, he has clearly developed an accomplished understanding of how to produce powerful and successful entertainment. Even though he enjoys staying behind the scenes, his career is an example to our readers for how there is no limit to what a producer like him can create when combining experience with passion (and given the opportunity between cruise ships, one night spectaculars, or start-to-finish live entertainment.)
“To be honest if you had told 12 year old Elliot that he’d be working around the world producing shows and working with the top people in the business, he wouldn’t have believed you, so it’s really cool to know that I’ve exceeded my own expectations.”
No doubt that Elliot’s career will continue to be a whirlwind for years to come. Such is the life of a producer in entertainment.