For TheatreCraft 2018 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. Abigail Moselle took over TheatreCraft’s social media, Matt Howorth produced a super film of the event, Charles Michael Duke snapped a variety of photos throughout the day and Sophie Edward and Laura Sargeant wrote a couple of blogs – all of which you can see below!
Matt Howorth on TheatreCraft 2018
Sophie Edward on TheatreCraft 2018
You take your seat at the theatre and the infamous red velvet curtain opens and you then spend the next few hours being immersed into another world by the actors on stage. Hold on, anticipation builds throughout the auditorium as the lights dim and the orchestra plays, they’re wearing such elaborate costumes, look how seamlessly the set navigates around the stage, the actors must have had intricate direction to ensure they’re in the correct place at the right time, how brilliant the lighting is to evoke such emotion. In addition, the programme is creative and engaging, not to mention all those ads! So the actor may be what you see but they are actually a vessel for an entire crew’s work. Just as Theatre Critic Matt Trueman said today, ‘it’s easy to look at the stage and think ‘I want to be an actor’, when there’s many people working on a production’ to make it come alive and TheatreCraft is the only destination to discover all the careers you never even knew existed in the theatre industry!
So, on November 19th I went along to the annual event, TheatreCraft, at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel – TheatreCraft is the largest free careers fair for all 16-30 year olds interested in a career in a non-performance role. This years Ambassadors were Tamara Harvey, Artistic Director of Theatre Clwyd, Christopher Oram, Set & Costume Designer, Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre and Griselda Yorke, Lead Producer for the Royal Shakespeare Company. They gave an inspirational Super Panel sharing their journeys from their first roles to what they do now and Tamara Harvey explained ‘it’s not a race, even though it’s really easy to feel like it is one’, which was followed with a sigh of relief from the audience as many people put an immense amount of pressure on themselves to get their ‘dream job’ immediately, however by taking other roles on your path to getting there you’ll learn invaluable knowledge and could even find you’re better skilled for another role!
The first place I visited was the vibrant Marketplace, which was buzzing with inquisitive aspirational theatre makers picking the brains of the theatres, organizations and colleges exhibiting.
The Marketplace is a friendly environment to network and find potential jobs or internships. One of the many companies there was Opera Holland Park, which makes opera accessible to a wider audience through their social inclusion programme and Young Artists Scheme. The latter allows a young cast to use a professional space, be mentored and then perform to a ticketed audience; the show is followed by a networking reception. Their Associate Producer, Imogen Van Santvoort, explained the importance of the reception and that it can definitely be ‘who you know’ when it comes to securing a job, which is why talking to as many people as possible at TheatreCraft is beneficial.
Emma Hele, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, said ‘at the age when you have to choose what to study a lot of people don’t know what to do’, a point which was mirrored by The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama Head of Theatre Practice, Dr Kathrine Sandys, who stressed that ‘young people aren’t having exposure’ into all the different roles that are available. By attending TheatreCraft you have the fantastic opportunity to discuss all the courses available and the different sectors you could go into so you’re able to make an informed decision.
I attended three workshops, two of which were all about writing a musical or a play. They were both interactive and insightful and gave a good understanding of the process of writing, whilst stressing the significance of making strong relationships within the industry and getting work. Playwright Jake Brunger, highlighted the importance of social media and advised us all that ‘following people on Twitter gets you work, even if they don’t follow you back make sure to engage with their content’, which was enhanced by playwright Charley Miles views on ensuring you use the network you created whilst at University to bounce ideas off of and create free work with.
The last talk I joined was PR in the Digital Age at Dewynters led by David Bloom, Story House, which began with a great discussion about the difference between a Marketing and PR Agency, then Bloom went on to reveal some tricks of the trade on how to create a successful PR campaign for a production. Izzy Penhallow, marketing & communications student at Bournemouth University, explained ‘nobody talks about theatre marketing within my course’ so this TheatreCraft workshop gave her specific knowledge needed for her desired job.
As you leave TheatreCraft you are stepping out into a world of possibilities. The workshops you’ve attended and the contacts you’ve made in the Marketplace give you the confidence and inspiration to put your foot in the theatre industry door and become a theatre maker of the future, see you all next year!
Laura Sargeant: A First-Timers Guide to TheatreCraft 2018
With workshops on everything from costume design to crafting an online presence, TheatreCraft 2018 was the largest yet, supplying some of the biggest names from across the industry. Taking over mammoth spaces including the iconic Waldorf Hotel, the Adelphi, Lyceum and Novello theatres with everything newbies (and not-so-newbies) to the industry could possibly need. And the best part? It’s completely free! Read on for what I got up to during my day there.
Wandering around the stalls setting up in the Marketplace I managed to grab a chat with some of the exhibitors before the excitement began. With some first-timers and some time-honoured pros, each had a different idea of what they were looking for from this year’s event. TheatreCraft pros Jacek Ludwig Scarso & Andrew Siddall from the London Metropolitan University discovered that the exhibition is as much a learning curve for them as it is for the attendees. Bringing new and exciting changes to the table each year, TheatreCraft gives the opportunity to listen to what young career-seekers are really interested in and provide accordingly. Their advice for newbies? “See and do” says Andrew. From the littlest project to the biggest West End productions, every experience feeds your skills and creativity. Their teaching staff certainly live by that mantra, with every member still active in the industry.
My first time at TheatreCraft was certainly eventful and making the trip down from Stoke (the Midlands) was definitely worth the journey. Pulling together crafters and theatre educators from all walks of life and every imaginable discipline makes TheatreCraft the place to be for theatre-lovers. Theatre journalist Matt Trueman pointed out that without events like this, we might not ever discover careers in theatre beyond acting itself. The collections of designers, publicity teams, directors, technicians and engineers here say otherwise.
For those making the journey into the world of the arts for the first time, TheatreCraft shows that to love the theatre does not always mean a love of performing. Where else could you walk from a masterclass in CV building or finance to an immersive workshop at the Adelphi (home to Kinky Boots), with theatre aficionados Les Enfants Terribles? Exhibitors from the University of South Wales were also keen to point out that not every arts job need centre around the stage saying, “our graduates are basically engineers”. Students from here are equipped for everything from festivals to roles in sound and video.
Hosted by Matt Trueman, the grand finale came in the form a packed Q&A session with TheatreCraft’s 2018 ambassadors: Griselda Yorke (RSC Lead Producer), Christopher Oram (British Theatre Designer), Indhu Rubasingham (Kiln Theatre Artistic Director) and Tamara Harvey (Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd). Talking through everything from box office jobs to costume design on Broadway, the pros filled us all in on just how exactly they got where they are today. Griselda was keen to stress that “it’s important to be grateful and ask for advice along the way”, stressing that theatre is a community built on trust and mutual admiration. Both Indhu and Tamara recommended experimentation as a key component to success; “part of the way you find your voice is by finding what you hate” joked Indhu whilst Tamara focused on the benefits of being able to look at things from lots of different angles. Welcome words for those of us still in the finding-our-way phase!
The overarching theme of the day? Do what you love, find your passion and stick to it! As today has showed me, the world of theatre and the arts takes endless forms with a niche for everyone. Looking at the opportunities on offer, it’s clear that events like TheatreCraft make it easier to enter a career in the arts, one step at a time.
Photos by Charles Michael Duke