For TheatreCraft 2017 we had a fabulous, young team of volunteers who joined our Media Team on the day of the event to help promote TheatreCraft in a variety of mediums. Georgie Anderson took over TheatreCraft’s social media, Caitlyn Ebsworthy produced a super film of the event, Cristiana Ferrauti snapped a variety of photos throughout the day and Daniella Harrison wrote a blog – all of which you can see below!
Caitlyn Ebsowrthy’s film on TheatreCraft 2017
Daniella Harrison on TheatreCraft
At the beginning of November, I headed over to the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in the heart of London’s West End for a very special annual event: TheatreCraft.
TheatreCraft is the UK’s largest career event specifically for the theatre industry, and is run by the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust, the Royal Opera House, Mousetrap Theatre Projects and the Society of London Theatre. The event includes the central hub – called the market place – which is full of exhibitors from across the industry. What’s most exciting about the event, though, is the number of workshops (over 70!) you can take part in across the West End, lead by leading industry specialists.
I was super excited to attend as it was my first – and even more excited because Lyn Gardner was this year’s ambassador. Gardner is a renowned theatre journalist and critic, having written for The Guardian and The Stage, amongst other publications, and has been a big influence of mine (an aspiring theatre journalist). In her opening speech, Gardner addressed the adversity some of us may face for choosing theatre (“not a proper career”), reminding us all that we have picked this career path because we love it and could not imagine doing anything else for the rest of our lives. She also spoke about the welcoming community that theatre has, and how it will open its arms to you and never let go.
After the event had been officially opened, the first thing I did was take a wander around the market place: when they say there’s something for everyone, there really is! There were theatres such as the Almeida and National who spoke about the courses they had on offer, technical companies Hawthorn and Whitelight, Curtain Call – an online jobs platform for the theatre industry, and many more. I was surprised as to how many exhibitors there were, as well as the array of industry subsections on show: whether you’re looking at directing and producing, stage management, marketing, scenic design, tech, or something a bit more niche, they’re there. Just off of the Marketplace was the Education Hub, full of different institutions from universities to drama schools, who offer a variety of courses within theatre from costume design to directing!
All of the exhibitors were super friendly and easy to talk to, and I gained a lot of information and made some great contacts. An apprentice at the Whitelight (a technical hire company) stand told me how much he was enjoying being at TheatreCraft, and how the event is a “very good opportunity to find out where you want to go because when you first start out, you don’t necessarily know where you’re going, and events like this help so much!”
Next up on my agenda for the day was to take part in three workshops, meaning I had to hop foot it over to the Novello Theatre (where Mamma Mia currently plays) to learn all about directing immersive theatre. It was a really insightful workshop where we spoke about finding venues, caring for audiences, and the sheer amount of detail that gets incorporated into immersive events you wouldn’t even think, such as creating over 1000 character profiles for not just the performers, but the audience themselves!
My second workshop took place in the nearby Lyceum Theatre (home of The Lion King) with James Seabright, a successful theatre producer who took us through the different ways a producer can obtain funding to produce a show. Though this is not something I’m personally interested in pursuing, the session itself was so insightful and a real behind-the-scenes of how shows even get put on in the first place!
The third and final workshop I took part in was entitled ‘Don’t Forget to Think Digital’ and was about theatre journalism in the world today. Run by Alex Wood of WhatsOnStage, the workshop spoke about using mediums other than long form writing when discussing theatre – particularly videos. I loved this workshop, and was fascinated by how digital our world is growing (you’re reading this on a laptop or phone, aren’t you?) and the way we now consume media.
In short, I had the most fabulous day at TheatreCraft: I spoke to so many cool people in the industry, bumped into some familiar friendly faces, and I found out so much more about the theatre world than I thought possible. The event has definitely opened up my eyes to career opportunities available within the sector and I honestly recommend you sign up for next year’s event – oh, and did I mention that it’s FREE?!
A selection of Cristiana Ferrauti’s photos