“You can’t download theatre.”
A simple phrase that was rewarded with a sea of heads nodding in appreciation during the opening speech given by Adam Kenwright; executive Vice President of the Ambassador Theatre Group, and the TheatreCraft 2016 Ambassador.
On Monday 14th November I had the fantastic experience of attending TheatreCraft: London’s biggest careers fair for the theatre industry, for the first time. Not only did I have the opportunity to meet with some extraordinarily talented and inspirational people, Theatre Bloggers also gave me a press pass, getting me into lots more of the workshops and advice sessions. I came away absolutely buzzing at the prospect of pursuing a career in theatre, and I haven’t stopped talking about it since!
TheatreCraft is an unmissable FREE annual event which takes place in the heart of London’s West End that gives anyone an opportunity to gain an insight into life beyond the stage and to encourage the next generation of directors, producers, writers, designers, managers, marketers… you name it!
This year the careers event was held at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel; situated in a prime location in ‘Theatreland’ and surrounded by theatres which opened their doors for the day, giving access to over sixty workshops designed to give participants experience and advise within each area; allowing a unique insight into what it would be like to work in London theatre. Whilst workshops and backstage tours continued all day in theatres such as Theatre Royal Drury Lane, the Novello, and Aldwych theatre; the ‘marketplace’ in the Waldorf Hilton was a hive of activity throughout the day with around seventy industry experts and professionals representing their companies, charities and educational/training programmes from every area of the industry you could think of. Whether you were looking for college or university courses, apprenticeships, career paths, or just some advice on ‘what next’; there was always someone on hand to talk to or to point you in a relevant direction.
The day kicked off with a tremendously powerful and inspirational speech from the 2016 TheatreCraft Ambassador Adam Kenwright, which I believe got everyone feeling very excited and fired up for the day ahead. As I sat listening to Mr Kenwright explain his journey into his career, I thought about how lucky I felt to be surrounded by individuals who all shared the same passion and drive for theatre. To be hearing this man recalling his feelings to us of how he felt about the industry when he was our age, and to realise that those feelings were exactly what we were feeling at that moment was actually quite touching. He was communicating to us exactly what is in our hearts, and I’ll admit that at the end of that talk I was feeling slightly emotional…
Anyway, the day went by in a blur. I attended workshops and advice sessions, made copious notes and met a lot of very wonderful people. What really stood out to me from this event was firstly, the volunteers helping out and exhibiting- they were the most friendly bunch of people, and so easy to talk to as well. Everyone I spoke to was super enthusiastic about what they were promoting and their passion for what they do was evident. I found it so easy to get information and advice because of how encouraging everyone was. Secondly, the people attending the event; there was a solid buzz of excitement throughout the day, and it was so encouraging seeing such a big turnout of young people full of enthusiasm for their different interests. I think that the eagerness of everyone who attended the event will be a large contributor to making the day so memorable. Everyone was feeding off the energy of everyone else, creating an unforgettable experience.
If you are thinking about a career in theatre, and you are looking for advice/career pathways/experience/contacts/courses… then I strongly recommend TheatreCraft. Even if you know exactly what you want to do and how you are going to do it, or if you only have the tiniest inkling for where you might end up, it doesn’t matter what stage you are at- TheatreCraft is still a great place to start. I have come away with so much information to process, and I have discovered careers which I didn’t even know existed! This is a truly unique event, and it is such a lot of fun. (Plus, you can pick up loads of freebees…)
The workshops I attended were so interesting, not to mention the backstage tour of Theatre Royal Drury Lane, and the one to one advice sessions from experts within their field is an unmissable opportunity to sit down and have a proper conversation to find out as much information as possible. I have come away feeling exhilarated and very excited to do some further research into the career path that yesterday confirmed was right for me.
Thank you to Theatre Bloggers for sorting out the Press Pass for me.