Where are they now? with Sapphire Urwick: Arts Award 15th birthday

Sapphire Urwick achieved her Bronze Arts Award 15 years ago, in Arts Award’s first year in operation!  Since then she’s set up a theatre company and worked as an educator and trainer, read on...

Hi Sapphire, what are you up to in your life and work at the moment?

I’m a Trainer for the NHS RD&E Trust. I train NHS staff across acute and community hospitals, script/create video and audio and edit online training material which 9,000 staff use. I also run a theatre company, PIDGE Theatre, which is on a slight hiatus due to heavy workload (me in the NHS, Jess my Co-Director works for North Devon Hospice due to the pandemic) but we are hoping to start writing again in the New Year.

Do you think doing an Arts Award helped you develop your career in any way?

Doing the Arts Award was the first time I had to create documentation of my work which has absolutely helped me develop my portfolio skills both in my artistic work and my ‘day job’. Working as a duo for my Arts Award laid great foundational skills in collaboration and communication - interesting to reflect upon as I now create and perform as a duo!

What are the highlights of your career to date?

I am extremely proud of what PIDGE Theatre has achieved since its formation in 2011. We have performed across the UK in theatres, fringe festivals and pop-up locations. Across the South West, we have delivered workshops to schools, sixth form colleges and universities to children aged 3-19 years. In 2015 we were invited to perform Still or Sparkling?, a scripted theatre performance exploring our relationship with water, at the Royal Geographical Society’s International Convention, as well as sitting on the panel for a Q&A session. A personal highlight for me was being hired by Almost Human to perform at the Acco Festival of Alternative Theatre in Israel.  

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your creative work or career since completing your Arts Award?

It is undoubtedly challenging to maintain a stable income from creative work alone. As cuts to arts funding in schools came in, we found it very challenging to fund ourselves from workshops and we have both developed careers outside of the arts. Although we don’t work full time as performers, our daytime careers both have creative edges to them.

What do you hope to be doing in five years?

In five years time I would love to have published a children's book that I am currently writing.  Stay tuned for that!

When and where did you complete your Arts Award? What can you recall about it?

Oh my gosh, insanely I did my Bronze Award 15 years ago, right at the beginning of the Arts Award programme!  I was doing a dance project at The Hive arts centre in Shrewsbury. I remember that I built my portfolio as a cupboard with doors which opened onto my evidence. I loved the flexibility that made that possible.

Are you still involved with Arts Award in any way and will you be doing anything to celebrate the 15 year anniversary?

I will be cheering them on from afar! Massive congratulations to everyone involved.

What advice would you give to young people doing Arts Award who want to follow in your footsteps?

Explore; play; create. Have fun with it, make a whole bunch of content and then see what you end up with. Mulch it all down until you get the best material and then mess it all up again. This is about you and your creative path - go on an adventure!

Where can people find out more about your work?

PIDGE’s social media is currently down whilst we pretend to be grown-ups in our other work life, but we’ll be back in 2021, wings crossed!  Find us @pidgetheatre and @pidgestweets. 


Arts Award 15th Birthday!

Arts Award has been supporting the development of creativity and leadership skills for all young people for 15 years. Arts Award has championed creativity, nurtured talent and offered insights into the arts world, together with a taste of creative careers. Across the UK there are over 4,000 centres and an impressive 521,455 Award achieved.

Find out what we're up to and get some ideas about what you can do to celebrate, including our #LoveArtsAward15 social media competition running until 15th November. 

Arts Award alumni news

Read more interviews with Arts Award alumi or visit the Arts Award Voice Community Hub for exclusive alumni updates, support and discounts. If you've recently finished your Arts Award and want to let us know what you're up to, drop Nici the Arts Editor an email

Author

Nici West

Nici West Voice Team

Nici is the Arts Editor for Voice. She loves all things books, theatre, music, art, visiting other countries, anything creative, and sometimes attempts to make YouTube videos. Alongside Voice she writes and edits through her own pursuits.You can occasionally find her running marathons dressed as a black dog.

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