Handling Conflicts in Performing Art Co-Productions

A Managerial Challenge for Contractors



Marine Kuhn

SKEMA Business Schoo

Paris, France



Because of the increase of co-producers supporting a project in the performing art sector, it becomes more difficult for them to converge their interest and to find common agreements through a co-production contract. Undoubtedly, conflicts and disputes tend to arise. However, most of the time co-producers do not know which dispute resolution method is best adapted to their needs.

That is why this paper will aim at proposing to co-production contractors which dispute resolution method they should choose and how they should handle conflict resolution in their contracts.

The methodology used is a comparative analysis, using multi-attribute decision making, of the different alternates dispute resolution through the performing art‘s co-production contractors’ needs. And, as a result, negotiation followed by mediation, best answer contractors’ needs, in terms of cost, speed, privacy and confidentiality, preservation of relationship and adapted to multiple parties.

Thus, co-production contractors in the performing art sector, in case of conflict or dispute should first implement direct negotiation between them. If no mutual agreements are found, then they should go further in a facilitated resolution stage through mediation. They need to have in mind that litigation has always to be chosen in a very last choice and this process has to be contractualized in their co-production contracts in an article “Claim and Dispute”.

Key words: Conflict, Dispute, Conflict resolution, Dispute resolution, Disagreement, Conflict of interest


A project, according to Max WIDEMAN, “encompasses an entire set of activities having a definable starting point and well-defined objectives the delivery of which signal the completion of the project. Projects are usually required to be accomplished within limited resources”. [1]

In that sense, producing a show is a project since producers have the objective to produce a show within a fixed period of time and limited resources.

The producer of the show “La Despida,” that has been represented during the Festival Sens Interdits on October 2017, told me “without the support of all our co-producers, the theatre company Mapa Teatro would never play in France. All the difficulty is to find a common interest and to avoid conflicts”. Indeed, there are four different co-producers engaged for the show “La Despedida”. To succeed in agreeing and implementing a co-production contract, strong competencies in management and conflict management are now required in Performing Art co-production contracts. However, few researchs neither studies have yet been conducted on this subject.

First of all, performing arts point out several artistic ways of expression in which artists perform a live show in front an audience. Under “performing arts”, theatre, dance, live music, circus art, street art, opera, street show and the arts of puppetry are considered.

In this sector, due to the internationalization of the artistical projects and the continuous need for financial support, the most common contract used in order to produce a creation, a show or an event, is the co-production contract.

According to the International co-production manual[2], “a co-production in the performing arts involves two or more producing partners entering into a contractual agreement to support the creation and distribution of a production or process-orientated project”. The objective of a co-production is to gather the financial means to succeed in financing an artistic project. It is a partnership collaboration between co-producers, who are committed to a common project.


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Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected]

About the Author

Marine Kuhn

SKEMA Business School
Paris, France



Marine Kuhn is currently studying in SKEMA Business School Paris, major in Project and Programme Management and Business Development (PPMBD) and International Marketing and Business Development (IMBD). She will be graduated in April 2018.  She joined SKEMA Business School for her Master degree 1 and she spends the second semester in Suzhou on the Chinese campus of SKEMA. Before joining SKEMA Business School, Marine KUHN studied two year technical courses in Marketing and Sales and had been enrolled in an exchange programme for 1 year in Norway.

Thanks to her professional experiences, she has a lot of competencies in communication, sponsorship, partnership and event organization.  She realized a 6 months internship in GL events, the international leader in the event sector. From September 2016 to February 2017, she was Project Manager Assistant for SIRHA 2016. SIRHA is the world biggest exhibition for food and hospitality industries. She was in charge of the French bakery cup. Then, from April to June 2017, she realised an internship in the organization of the music fest “Ardèche Aluna Festival”. She was in charge of the 42 exhibitors.

Now, she is currently looking for an end-of-study internship as Partnership Manager and Business Developer in the cultural sector.  Marine can be contacted at [email protected] or https://fr.linkedin.com/in/marine-kuhn-b916a790