What goes on at...TheatreCraft

TheatreCraft is an annual careers fair that offers a view into the many different roles that are available in the theatre, from direction to stage management. We chatted to Project Manager, Harriet Usher to find out more.

What goes on at...TheatreCraft

What happens at TheatreCraft?

TheatreCraft is a one day careers event for anyone interested in a career behind the scenes in theatre. You can attend Q&A sessions, theatre tours, get one on one career advice, speak to numerous organisations (RADA, Southbank, National, LAMDA, Young Vic etc) and spend the whole day getting advice from experts in the field, talking to people like you, finding out about future work opportunities and planning your next steps in building your career in theatre. Anything from producing to marketing, stage management to lighting, costumes to front of house. There's something for everyone to explore. If you are between 16 – 25, book your place at www.theatrecraft.org. And, it's totally free!

When did you get involved and what is your role in the fair?

This is my second year as Project Manager. I head up the small team and between us we produce the whole day.

Are you trying out anything new this year?

Yes! I'm thrilled that in our 10th year we're really opening the doors wide, with the opportunity to explore three additional theatres on the day. Not only is TheatreCraft based at the Royal Opera House for the fourth year, we are also holding sessions at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, just over the road, the Theatre Royal Haymarket, where TheatreCraft began and at the High House Production Park in Purfleet. So there is plenty to discover. The second new thing we're doing is holding a drop in advice clinic. 15 minute one to one advice sessions are still bookable, but this year we're expanding to include a drop in area. Come along and chat to our available experts. It should be a really good way of asking those burning questions and also for meeting fellow attendees. When we say no question is silly – we really mean it!

What is the biggest challenge in putting on an event like this?

All the component parts. There are over 60 organisations taking part, 75 workshops and tours and 40 experts, plus all the organisation and publicity that goes on around the day. That is also the best part about the event – having so many enthusiastic, dedicated, talented people all in one place.

Do you think it is more difficult to find a graduate job in the theatre since the recession, or have things gradually been getting better?

To be honest, no. The Arts is invariably subject to scrutiny - age of austerity or not - despite the fact that it is one of the highest earning sectors in the country. But it can be hard to get a start in the industry because it's a popular career choice – which is why it's wonderful to run an event like this, where we can showcase the numerous opportunities available and provide a platform for furthering people's careers.

Do you think young people could be given more information at school about the many career options that exist in theatre?

Absolutely. How can you know you might be good at something if you don't know it exists?! There are so many interesting, diverse careers out there to explore, I doubt many people wake up and think 'I want to be a lighting designer' (for example) but when they find out it's a possibility, it clicks! It's a hugely rewarding industry to work in, hard work but rewarding. What more could you want from a career?

What advice would you give to anyone who is looking to get into theatre?

Start. Don't wait around. And don't expect it to be glamorous. Become an assistant, make your own work, get work experience, apply for a course or scheme. Your first job might not be your dream job, but if you're good, it won't take you long to get noticed! And TheatreCraft is a really great way to start.

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