On Friday 22 November, TD visited TheatreCraft 2013 – the backstage, production and arts admin careers fair which takes over the Royal Opera House annually for a day of workshops, tours and networking events.
Just as it had been the previous year, TheatreCraft was a huge success. Thronging with young people – both college groups and individuals – all learning, making contacts and sharing ideas, it was a truly exciting atmosphere to stand amongst: aided naturally by the extraordinary surroundings of the ‘Paul Hamlyn’ floral hall of the ROH.
Between us, the TD team attended workshops on playwriting, devising, working with the arts in education and the community, arts journalism and theatre criticism. In smaller spaces around the building, speakers and workshop-leaders who included Lyn Gardner, theatre critic for The Guardian; Emily Cook and Anna Shields of Starling Arts musical theatre, and playwright Vickie Donoghue, spoke with authority, passion and genuine encouragement to young people making tentative forays into a number of possible career paths within the arts.
Meanwhile stalls representing the major drama schools, employers, websites, unions and publications handed out leaflets and goodie bags and dispensed advice to all who had questions to ask. Upstairs, a networking area allowed for speed-dating-style meetings between likeminded individuals sharing ideas and making contacts, and a team of ‘experts’ including producers, casting directors, costume designers and many more career representatives sat at desks for appointment-only chats with young people who needed more one-on-one time.
TheatreCraft is an indispensable opportunity to engage with careers advice in all the non-performing elements of the arts: it comes highly recommended as a day out for A level or even GCSE groups with their teachers – and also for practitioners in their twenties looking to make or firm up contacts with organisations and individuals in the industry. Put it in your diary for this time next year!