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“Wellness”, “wellbeing”, “work-life balance” – these buzzwords have been entering the business world more regularly over the past few years. As we as a society begin to focus more on our health, our time, our personal development, so have the companies that we work for. Especially in PR companies and creative agencies, where working over-time is almost expected and in the arts where there are concerts, launches, and networking events to attend, it’s important to ensure that you are able to enjoy your personal life wherever possible.

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WildKat began to explore techniques to reward colleagues and staff back in 2011, when Kat brought her yoga instructor into the office. We began having weekly classes for 1 hour on a Wednesday afternoon. Berlin’s Victoria Mattinson says, “Taking an hour out to do yoga is a really effective way of clearing the mind and stretching out.  I always come back to my desk feeling refreshed and with new ideas.”

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In 2014, we also cemented the annual WildKat ski trip for the team who have been in the company for over 1 year. This is the perfect retreat for our colleagues to relax and unwind (off the slopes, of course!), spend time with the full global team, and try some new experiences together. London’s Victoria Cappelletti went on her first trip this year, explaining, “The annual WildKat PR ski trip is a great way to get to know the members of the team better and actually become friends, so that we are all like a little family. It totally lines up with the general company mood, ethic and atmosphere, giving people the opportunity to have fun and discuss topics beyond work.”

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Our perks continued to build in 2015, when Sweden began to initiate 6-hour working days to create a balance between work and personal life, Kat decided to trial the scheme in our Berlin office. We were quite skeptical at first that 2 hours would make a huge difference to our work-life balance, and that it wouldn’t compromise our work, but we were ready for the challenge. After a transitional phase, our Berlin team was working more efficiently – so much that our clients did not notice! – completing tasks and moving on without procrastination, feeling more happy and healthy at work, and also attending more events out-of-hours without free time or energy being compromised.  You can read our full feedback here.

However, one journalist asked: if we love our jobs why would we want to work less? Although this was not the point of our experiment, the hardest aspect was the need to be constantly productive. There was less time to read articles and be active on social media – two activities which are crucial to PR. We also lost out on occasional small talk, which does help to break up the day. Therefore, from now on, instead of a full-blown overhaul of our working day, every employee has ten six-hour days per month at their disposal.

Last year, we decided that we would fully integrate our perks into WildKat’s ethos and policy. Our in-house design team at Classical Music Design created a poster for us, that would have a central place in our office and would remind us that being happy in our lives and at work will allow us to live a more balanced life.

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Kat explains, “I felt that my staff deserve the best that my company could possibly offer. I divided the benefits up into monetary, educational, and well-being. Mostly, I am weary that money is a big deciding factor so of course we wanted to increase perks and financial rewards but actually focusing on well-being and one’s own personal development is a hot topic that almost comes equal to financial gain. 

“We want to feel valued on many levels and that our development is encouraged along the way so I wanted to offer training funds, 6 hour working days, yoga sessions, sabbatical, etc. Rewarding my staff doesn’t always have to cost the company a lot but it does mean that the teams are better balanced. Quite frankly, the older I get, the more I think that time is the most valuable commodity, so I want to enhance my staff’s time when at work but also give them more off time out of the office.” 

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Director of the Berlin office, Carolin Denz, was one of the first to utilise her training fund, purchasing a few books on leadership and communication: “As the Berlin team has grown a lot and we all know how important it is to build up a great and solid working team, we are always focusing on improving the team spirit and motivation. I began to learn some tips and advice from a few books about different ways to lead groups, so we can build on it with individual and more intense workshops during 2017. The books give an insight into how groups of different characters and opinions work, how to lead them best and motivate them to build up the team we need for our campaigns – creative thinking, responsibility and being a good team-player.”

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As well as the “official” #WildKatPerks, we still encourage our team to network in the industry, and step into the wider world to gain knowledge and make introductions on behalf of the company. For example, Junior Account Manager & Office Manager James Hardie attended #ABO17. He said, “I was very excited to have the chance to attend the Association of British Orchestras conference in Bournemouth, especially at such an early stage in my career.  The focus this year was Disruption, and I had the privilege of listening to some of the industry’s leading figures, including Hannah Kendall, Mel Larsen, James Murphy, and Chi-Chi Nwanoku talk about what this meant to them.  A strong feeling of community pervaded every session, and it was heartening to be surrounded by so many like-minded people, all of whom want to see classical music engage with new and diverse audiences.”

As civil servants face curbs on office ‘cake culture’, here at WildKat we know that everything works well in moderation and with plenty of balance. Are you considering some new perks for your company? How do you manage to balance work and life as a freelance? Feel free to send us your thoughts at @WildKatPR or comment below!

(Written on January 31, 2017 )

We are excited to announce that Constella OperaBallet is returning to WildKat PR for their upcoming projects.

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For the past five years, the company, previously known as Constella Ballet & Orchestra, has brought to life adventurous and ground-breaking opera and ballet productions.

On 4th July 2016 the company will launch Constella OperaBallet, the world’s first company to synergize the power of opera and ballet through audacious collaborations. Inspired by talent, delight and fulfilment, Constella OperaBallet will bring together young participants and older generations to bridge the gap between established audiences and new ones.

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The launch will take place on 4th July 2016 at the Sadler’s Wells – Lilian Baylis Studio and will include personal announcements about artistic vision and upcoming projects.

The company’s first performances in its expanded form will take place at the 2016 Grimeborn Festival in August.

Keep up to date with news from Constella through their websiteTwitter, Facebook and, as always, through the WildKat PR blog.

(Written on June 9, 2016 )

It is with great excitement that we introduce Helios Collective’s two upcoming events: Toi Toi and Formations masterclasses.

Helios Collective has earned a reputation for putting on bold projects and quality productions, working from the ground up. Founded in 2012, this company has continued to provide opportunities for young artists across a wide creative spectrum. Helios’s diverse programming caters for both people who appreciate high-quality productions, but also those looking for new experiences and hoping to explore music beyond the traditional canon. Working as a tight-knit operative, Helios achieves artistic excellence in every aspect, successfully inspiring and supporting people from diverse backgrounds

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Its founder, Ella Marchment, has wide-ranging experiences as both a director and designer, and has worked on over 50 productions internationally. Ella’s sublime leadership has been noted by many: Stephen Barlow – the artistic director of Buxton Festival – praised Ella for creating a ‘surprisingly invigorating and fresh event… [and] stretching the boundaries to breaking point between high art and accessibility’.

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The first of Helios Collective’s innovative upcoming events is Toi Toi, which will stage opera as you’ve never seen it before: in a nightclub! Leave your suit and tie behind and let the Helios Collective take you on a unique 2-day musical safari from London to Jamaica, and from Finland to Brazil. Toi Toi returns to the heart of Peckham, offering an exciting evening of electric opera, mixed with rock, bossa nova, pop-fusion, jazz, reggae and more.

Through this experimental event, Helios hopes to demonstrate the relevance of opera to modern audiences, making it accessible for new generations. Join them on 28th and 29th October at CLF Art Café for an opera experience like no other. Click attending on the Facebook Event to get the latest information, and remember to bring your dancing shoes for the after-party on the final night!

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Helios Collective’s second exciting upcoming event, Formations masterclasses, gives you the opportunity to contribute to a new opera production. Take part in a six-day masterclass programme from 6th – 13th November, and share your ideas with top UK classical music influencers and emerging artists. The programme will end with a triple-bill performance at the Arts Theatre in Leicester Square on 13th November, in front of a panel with Kasper Holten, Stephen UnwinStephen Barlow and Bettina Bartz. Formation masterclasses offer a unique chance to be part of the opera community, and take part in workshops on opera composing, directing, conducting and singing, led by top classical music figures.

The Formations masterclasses will also feature three new opera commissions: Glasstown – composed by Leo Geyer, words by Martin KratzThe Exile – composed by Solfa Carlile, words by Gillian Pencavel, and IO Transfigured – composed by Daniel Chappell, words by Dominic Grove. Get your tickets here!

heliosFor more information, follow the Helios Collective on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to check out their website for more information on these fabulous upcoming events!

(Written on October 7, 2015 )

WildKat PR

Join the WildKat PR team in London!

WildKat PR are looking for a new Account Manager to join the lovely WildKat PR London team…

BBC News

How to compose classical music with your brainwaves

Professor at Plymouth University uses a device that reads thoughts, with the aid of a brain cap, and promises to translate those thoughts into music – a world away from the traditional composition process

Classic FM Online

Classical music at the Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony

The Winter Olympics opened with a celebration of classical music and ballet, with a performance from star opera singer Anna Netrebko

Billboard Biz

YouTube Has Paid Out $1 Billion to Music Industry In Last Few Years

Google Inc. disclosed on Sunday that its YouTube video platform has paid out more than $1 billion to music rights holders “over the last several years,” putting the California technology company among the top sources of digital revenue for the embattled music industry outside of download sales.

Keighley News

Music industry jobs scheme hub in Keighley

Keighley’s Jam on Top has become part of a lottery-funded project to train young people for jobs in the music industry

Die Welt

Verruchte Unschuld und traurige Zuversicht

Kann sie das? Sie kann! Dagmar Manzel überzeugt mit den Liedern des großen Friedrich Hollaender. Live und auf CD ist zu erleben, welche Lücke der jüdische Komponist hinterlassen hat
Classic FM Online

Classic FM Online

(Written on February 10, 2014 )

Daisy Evans

Opera Director – Silent Opera

Jude Christian

Theatre Director

Dominic Dorin

Film Director – I Owe Youth

Last night’s Noted event hosted by WildKat PR and Sane & Able took an informative and engaging look at the world of Directing, with three professionals from the industry. These speakers included Daisy Evans – Opera Director at Silent Opera – Jude Christian – Freelance Theatre Director who has worked for the Royal Opera House Youth Opera Company and the National Theatre Studio – and Dominic Dorin – Film Director at I Owe Youth.

Discussion at the event was inspiring and helpful to people of a variety of professions that are linked into this area of the industry, ranging from those interested in Directing, to trained or aspiring actors/actresses, film producers and much more. The speakers described their differing beginnings in studying, experience and directing, and how they got to the level of success that they have reached at this stage of their careers. Daisy Evans of Silent Opera trained at the Royal Academy of Music as a singer but soon realised that she wanted to become a director, Dominic Dorin on I Owe Youth came from a background in design and found his way into film through a sound design internship and a directorship in fashion, and freelance director Jude Christian studied English at university where she started directing and then followed up this interest with a directing course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

When asked about financing their dreams and ambitions, the topic of sponsorship was raised along with some helpful ‘dos and don’ts’. Daisy suggested that the Arts Council should not be the first go to for launching a business or production, funds such as sponsorship and bursarys can be imperative for realising directing dreams and generating the finance necessary create a successful production. Jude made the important point that: “when asking people for money, be specific about what it is for”, as you are not likely to be sponsored without having made your creative aims and budget clear. Daisy added that it is important not to “think about sponsorship as money” and instead consider what resources might be useful to you such as the hiring of stage equipment or batteries. Dominic described how using creative ideas and presenting them practically can help the sponsorship process: “To help get sponsors we create beautiful story boards to help us get people on the same page visually”. It’s industry savvy thinking such as this that has aided all three of these young and successful professionals.

How do you as a Director encourage everyone involved to give their interpretation, but also retain the authority to make the final decisions? Ultimately, it seems that the actor/actress has the last say in what happens on ‘the night’ of a production in both theatre and opera as Jude pointed out in an amused tone. She made the quite practical point that as a Director you need to make it your business to get all those involved in a production on board with your aims and vision. However there is a manner in which to do this which is loaded with respect, patience and understanding amongst your ultimate authority. Dominic described how: “When you’re on set the director’s decision should be respected, but the director shouldn’t abuse that position.” The speakers agreed that is important to be authoritative, but ultimately you have to earn the respect and trust of those you are working with and the company at large.

One answer that is only born from a career of learning from success and mistakes is to the question: ‘If you could go back in time. What advice would you give yourself?’ Interestingly a variety of answers arose. A good piece of advice for those still studying came from Dominic who said that he would tell himself: “not to waste time. While you’re at uni, do as much as possible and start making decisions.” Where attitude and approach is concerned Daisy described how pacing yourself is important – be driven but try not to do everything all at once. Jude mentioned how a calm approach helps: “When I came to London I just said yes to everything. I’d definitely tell my past-self to chill out.”

The evening was not just an informative success due to the talk and excellent speakers, but the WildKat PR and Sane & Able offices were a buzz with enthusiastic arts and business individuals who have a passion for the industry and a hunger to learn more.

Take at look at our next event ‘Building your App’ on Wednesday 26th February. The Noted March event on Successful Social Media has also been announced on Eventbrite.

Check out Noted via Twitter or Facebook for more quotes from the speakers and information about the event.

Check back soon for a video blog from last night’s guests!

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(Written on January 23, 2014 )

The Washington Post

Opera singer Renee Fleming chosen to sing anthem at Super Bowl

Renée Fleming has hit some important pop-culture markers in the past few months. In September, she went on David Letterman’s show to sing the Top Ten list. Now, she’s going to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl

CNN

i(ce)-Tunes: Sweden’s incredible ice orchestra

They’re among the rarest instruments in the world, but they’ll be discarded come spring. They’re so fragile even the players’ breath risks nudging them out of tune.

The Guardian

English National Opera’s Edward Gardner to leave

Highly regarded conductor to take up new role at Bergen Philharmonic from 2015, and be replaced by Mark Wigglesworth

BBC News

Iran: Rule banning musical instruments on TV is broken

Iran’s Channel One television has caused a sensation by showing musical instruments on screen for the first time in 30 years, it’s reported.

West End stars downplay theatre safety issue

Theatre audiences are “a hardy lot” who will not be put off by recent incidents at London venues where patrons have been injured, according to the stars of a newly opened West End show.

Marie Claire

The Women Who Are Ruling The Music Industry, Right Now

The ladies who’ve bagged the best jobs backstage, from inside music magazines and record labels, to studio techs and bloggers

Daily Herald

Teen entrepeneur takes on music industry

Breje Whitt was only 15 years old when he began performing onstage with a nationally renowned Christian rock band. Two years later, the Elgin teen is running his own DJ, sound and lighting company.

CNN

CNN

 

(Written on January 23, 2014 )

New York Times

Detroit Symphony Agrees to New Contract With Musicians

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which endured a bitter six-month strike a few years ago, settled its latest contract eight months early, orchestra officials announced Wednesday

BBC Music Magazine

HMV closes flagship Oxford Street store

HMV’s flagship store in Oxford Street has been shut down this week. Covering over 60,000 square-feet and set over three floors, the iconic HMV store at 150 Oxford Street has been at the forefront of the company’s UK presence since it was opened in 1986

NPR Music

A Gramophone And Mozart, Or How I Fell For Opera

British conductor Nicholas McGegan celebrates his ‘Beatle’ birthday today (64, that is). To mark the occasion, he recalls how he first fell in love with opera.

The ‘Ode To Joy’ As A Call To Action

Candaele has turned his obsession with Beethoven’s Ninth into a documentary film called Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony. He follows the Ninth around the world, to Chile and China, where it became an empowering anthem of solidarity, and to Japan, where performances of daiku — the Great Nine — are a cherished annual tradition.

The New York Times

The Echoes of War, From One Century to the Next

‘Shostakovich for the Children of Syria,’ a Benefit Concert “to promote the awareness of significant international humanitarian crises and other public interest issues”

The Metro

A real-life fairytale: Peter Pan performer proposes to his Wendy on stage

A Peter Pan performer surprised his very own Wendy when he got down on one knee near the end of a packed show in Glasgow

The Metro

The Metro

 

(Written on January 17, 2014 )

Slipped Disc

Nelson Mandela’s classical pianist

One of Mandela’s closest friends was pianist Harold Ruben who refused to play in front of segregated audiences in South Africa before moving to London to teach at the Royal College of music until his death in 2010

Telegraph

Nelson Mandela in British culture

Nelson Mandela cast a deep influence over British culture, from the concerts he inspired to flats that Del Boy and Rodney lived in for the TV show Only Fools and Horses

The Wall Street Journal

Strassel: Piano Sonata in FTC Minor

Music teachers, beware. The feds are onto you. Better not try to raise the price of your lessons

BBC News

Bolshoi acid attack: Soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko jailed

A Moscow court has jailed Bolshoi Ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko for six years for organising an acid attack on the company’s artistic director

Musician falls in Llangollen Canal trying to rescue saxophone

A musician suffered hypothermia and had to be rescued from a canal after he fell in while trying to retrieve his saxophone in Denbighshire

Arts Beat

Serbian-Born Composer Wins $100,000 Prize

Djuro Zivkovic, a 38-year-old composer who was born in Serbia and lives in Stockholm, has won the 2014 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for his work “On the Guarding of the Heart.” The prize, awarded annually by the University of Louisville, is among the most prestigious international prizes for classical composition carries a cash award of $100,000

Die Zeit

So echt! So intensiv!

Am Freitag debütierten sie beide an der Berliner Staatsoper in Verdis “Trovatore”: Anna Netrebko und Placido Domingo. Ein ziemlich dramatisches Gespräch über perfektes Singen, böse Mädchen und die Knochenarbeit im Haifischbecken

BBC News

BBC News

(Written on December 6, 2013 )

Variety

‘Invisible Cities’ Opera Gets Immersive With Wireless Technology

It’s billed as the future of opera, live performance, technology and art, at least according to German audio company Sennheiser. But to judge from “Invisible Cities,” the new opera for wireless headphones performed in L.A.’s Union Station, the future of immersive theater is already here.

BBC News

Good music education only ‘for minority of pupils’

A quality music education only reaches a minority of pupils in England’s schools, an Ofsted report has said

The New York Times

If It All Doesn’t Fit, Build a Bigger Box

Classical Music Boxed Sets Multiply

Daily Mail

Queen’s composer says every young person should study classical music 

Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen’s Music, blames governments for treating classical music as an ‘elitist fringe activity’

CBS News

Price of success: Will the Recycled Orchestra last?

A group of very poor children in Paraguay changing their lives through making music with what they have found in a dump

Los Angeles Times

Herb Alpert gives $300,000 to L.A. City College music department

Herb Alpert is giving $300,000 to the Los Angeles City College music department. The trumpet player and former A&M Records owner is a leading arts philanthropist

crescendo

Sol Gabetta und Ivan Monighetti: “Er ist wie ein musikalischer Vater für mich.”

Ein Gespräch mit den Cellisten Sol Gabetta und Ivan Monighetti über ihre besondere Geschichte, den Einfluss ihrer Lehrer und das Unterrichten an sich

BBC News

BBC News

(Written on November 18, 2013 )

Gramophone

British Composer Awards 2013 shortlist revealed

The 11th British Composer Awards, honouring contemporary UK composition, take place on December 3

The Guardian

Scottish Opera – some questions for the troubled company

The opera company used to be a cultural jewel whose ambitions, and resulting productions, were reasons to cheer. What has gone wrong?

The Voice of Russia

Symphony online: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra opens virtual concert hall

The large-scale online project was launched this week in one of the best music halls in Russia. The aim of this innovation is to allow music lovers from all over the country to enjoy unique performances

Classicalite

La Scala’s Post-Barenboim Conductor is…Fabio Luisi?

Now, Italy’s La Reppublica is reporting that Genoese maestro Fabio Luisi-principal conductor of the Met since September 2011-may very well be the preferred candidate

Chicago Tribune

CSO reports small deficit, record ticket sales and fundraising

While other U.S. symphony orchestras are buffeted by budget shortfalls, declining attendance, labor unrest and other problems, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra continues on a steady financial course

Wired

Is This the Opera of the Future?

New opera Invisible Cities represents the leading edge of operatic innovation – a bold effort to create individualized experiences within the context of a communal performance

Billboard

YouTube Close to Launching Subscription Music Service 

YouTube is preparing a premium on-demand music service – akin to a Spotify, but with video – to launch later this year, according to several sources familiar with the plans

Billboard

Billboard

(Written on October 25, 2013 )