TheatreCraft: We Couldn’t Do It Without You
The last ten years have seen London’s largest backstage careers event for 16-25 year olds flourish; welcoming over 1,000 attendees each year
and consistently expanding the capacity of their renowned marketplace which is packed full of theatre organisations and education providers. Now in its eleventh year, on the 14th November TheatreCraft will be welcomed into the Waldorf Hilton Hotel, and nearby surrounding West End Theatres.
So, why should you book your place at this year’s event? Well, it’s completely FREE. You won’t need to oust those swanky plastic fivers just yet. The reason TheatreCraft is able to remain free is because every single workshop leader generously donates their time. They want to support you and give back to the industry that once welcomed them. This annual event gives you unparalleled access to the country’s leading arts organisations as well as offering workshops from some of the most innovative and creative people working in theatre.
Whether you’re on stage at the Theatre Royal Drury lane with Head of Automation Ben Phillips, in a workshop with renowned puppeteer Matthew Hutchinson, having a one-to- one careers advice session with HR from the Barbican or chatting to any of the exhibiting companies in the marketplace, there really is something for everyone.
Farah Omotosho attended some of these workshops in 2015 and thought “it was an amazing event that gave me a great insight into the different non-performance opportunities available in the theatre industry. The workshops were incredibly useful in helping to map out a potential career path.”
Farah went on to say, “I had the opportunity to speak directly to the Director of Mousetrap Theatre Projects and subsequently landed a 5 month internship at their offices. 3 months later, I was delighted to be invited back to organise a Relaxed Performance of Mamma Mia!”
It seems to be more than just a noble ambition behind the event, with more and more people each year finding their feet in the theatre industry because of TheatreCraft. The employment schemes and job opportunities that are welcomed into TheatreCraft have proven hugely successful over the last ten years.
Aislinn Jackson who attended last year’s event was particularly interested in Stage Management and says, “I discovered Masterclass' Stage Management apprenticeship scheme and spoke to their previous apprentice, Sarah Forsyth, about her experience. It was that conversation which really encouraged me to apply for their ‘earn while you learn’ apprenticeship this year. Now I'm working with the brilliant team on The Libertine as Masterclass' new Stage Management apprentice. Thank you, TheatreCraft, for introducing me to Masterclass, Sarah, and this career-changing opportunity!”
This is one of the real strengths of TheatreCraft. They are able to put you face to face with people who can open your eyes to opportunities and organisations you never knew existed.
Alex Dillon-McQueen, now a Technical Apprentice at the Royal Opera House told us; “One of the reasons TheareCraft proved so useful to me in securing my apprenticeship was because I was able to speak to people already working in technical theatre and I also had the chance to speak to people currently working at the Royal Opera House. I also really enjoyed the workshops; you’re sat in a room full of people your own age and all of them are interested in the same particular element of theatre as you. It was really inspiring!”
Similarly, Lucy Rahim who is now working in the Marketing department at the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), said, “A friend already working in theatre encouraged me to attend TheatreCraft, assuring me that it would be essential in finding my first job – I’m so glad I listened! While I was there I attended two workshops and put my name down on every jobs mailing list going. During my ‘Ask The Experts’ session I discussed my CV with a member of staff from the Royal Opera House who gave me some crucial tips on the best way to present my skills and experience. Subsequently, I applied for jobs through the contacts I made on the day which resulted in two interviews and my current job at SOLT.”
It is also really great to see that the opportunities available at TheatreCraft can end up taking you full circle. Larah Simpson attended in 2014 and the following year she returned as an exhibitor, “I came in 2014 after graduating from university and was unsure about which direction to take next. I had a one-to- one session with James Clutton and later attended his workshop on producing. I kept in touch with James and was offered work experience at Opera Holland Park and then a permanent job. TheatreCraft is an invaluable resource and the Marketplace is a fountain of knowledge and new opportunities. I was delighted to return in 2015 as an exhibitor for Opera Holland Park.”
There is no question that the attendees are placed at the heart of TheatreCraft - everyone involved in the event is there to meet you; they want to talk to you and they want to support you. However, TheatreCraft simply would not happen without those who generously offer their knowledge and expertise each year. From the team of incredible volunteers who seamlessly help to keep the day on track, to the workshop leaders, speakers and advice-givers. It is everybody’s combined commitment to encouraging the next generation of theatre makers that allows this event to happen year after year. Long may it continue.