I have no idea how to write an about me section without resorting to the cringe cliches. So here they are! (sorry)
Welcome to my blog! This is basically going to be an online diary for me. I’ll be writing about my experiences as one of the 40 Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries participants for 2018-19. And also about my experiences of the arts world as a whole. Here’s hoping I don’t bore anyone to tears!*
*please don’t tell me if I do, I am fragile of ego xoxo
A little more about why this placement is so important to me:
For the last six years I lived in Edinburgh. I moved there for university and it forever claimed a chunk of my heart. I’ll likely post more about it in the future. Mainly because I bloody love it there but also because its many festivals have a pretty huge impact on the arts world, something I’ll be discussing a lot having just started working at a theatre.
But for now, back to the present and why I am moving to Plymouth. All good things have to come to an end, and after two post-university years of increasingly desperate job searches, I finally struck gold. The gold came in the form of a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries placement, a year-long paid traineeship in the exact area of theatre I’d been trying so hard to get into. It meant moving away from my beloved Edinburgh but I’m certain it’s going to be worth it (a little more on the programme if you’re curious).
This year I will spend my time at the Theatre Royal Plymouth assisting the Production Managers and the Producers. Plymouth was a pretty ideal fit for me as I get to experience shows being produced, from the initial script readings, to the design meetings, to rehearsals, to productions themselves. Before now my main theatre experience had been at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Shows there tend to arrive at the theatres fully formed and ready to slot in to whatever space they’ve got their hands on. Seeing theatre crop up literally everywhere is incredible and Edinburgh in August is so much fun. But I’ve always wanted to learn more about what goes in to creating a show, which this placement will give me more opportunity to do. I’m also getting to experience a theatre that presents huge scale touring shows alongside new writing and more experimental work in its smaller auditoria. The variation in the programme makes Theatre Royal Plymouth (TRP) pretty unique. So I plan on becoming a sponge, soaking up as much knowledge and experience as I can get.
I’m pretty damn pleased to have this placement because getting an arts job is no easy task. There’s so much competition for each role and people are often expected to work for free. Y’know, ‘for the experience’. I’m hoping this job will be a leg up into the theatre industry, as full time voluntary roles have never been financially realistic for me. I’ve squeezed in some volunteering at many different festivals but it’s not quite the same experience when you have to run to your ‘real’ job straight after. Or start a volunteering shift at 8am when you didn’t finish closing the bar you work at until 4am. It’s almost impossible to learn properly when you’re working like that and believe me, I tried.
As I’ve mentioned, my job has been created as part of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursary scheme and they are working hard to make arts hiring practices a little fairer. If you’ve not heard of the scheme it’s definitely worth researching. It’s an initiative that creates paid placements with great companies, where bursary recipients are given the chance to learn. You’re not expected to step into an entry level role with years of experience under your belt, you get a chance to develop. Host organisations are willing to consider transferable skills when hiring people, something that’s far too rare in arts roles. Expecting folk to have experience gained in the exact sector you’re hiring from, and then making the roles that will give you experience voluntary, stacks the deck against so many talented people. Step in Jerwood! The bursaries are for people like me, from lower income backgrounds who want to work in the arts but are finding barriers at every turn. It’s about helping to build a bit more diversity in the arts. I’m one of 40 participants for 2018-19 and I’m so excited to be getting started.
That’s my long-winded way of telling you that this is a blog about a girl with a new job. On the off chance anyone reading this has any questions, do feel free to get in touch!