Theatre Workforce

Workforce Development: entry routes, skills and training

UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre's workforce development strategy is a major programme of work to ensure the long term health of our industry.    

Our overarching objective in the area of skills, development and training is to ensure that the appropriate skills and expertise are in place for theatre and the performing arts to thrive twenty years from now.

Please use the tabs below to find out more about alternative employment routes and work-related learning, reaching the future talent pipeline, training opportunities, and the ways in which theatre employers can get involved.

For more information on any of the resources listed here or to request an addition to this page, please contact ukt@soltukt.co.uk.

SOLT and UK Theatre logo

There are a variety of training and employment routes into the theatre and performing arts workforce. These include apprenticeships, internships, work experience, volunteering and T Levels. For a one page overview of the different entry routes, please download our Understanding Entry Routes Guide.

For a more in depth look at the different entry routes available, we recommend the following resources:

  • Entry Routes: A Brief Guide for Theatres produced by SOLT and UK Theatre in partnership with Creative & Cultural Skills
  • A Best Practice Guide to Apprenticeships, Internships and Volunteering written for employers by Creative & Cultural Skills
  • Best Practice Recruitment Guide for Creative Leaders, written for employers by Creative & Cultural Skills. Pages 7-18 explain in detail the difference between various entry routes from an employer's perspective.
  • Creative & Cultural skills run regular, free online training sessions for employers based in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. English employers can book here, Scottish employers here, and Northern Irish employers here. Sessions available are:
    • Introduction to Apprenticeships
    • A Manager's Guide to Apprenticeships
    • A Best Practice Guide to Recruitment
    • Understanding Volunteering
    • Working with Freelancers
    • Introducing a Workforce Recruitment Policy
Apprenticeships

For information and resources on apprenticeships, please see the tab below.  

Kickstart

www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme

Please note that applications for the Kickstart Scheme closed in December 2021.

Kickstart is a job creation scheme by The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that provides funding to English, Scottish and Welsh employers to create six-month job placements for 16-24 year olds currently receiving Universal Credit. Employers can spread job start dates up until 31 March 2022. Employers use a gateway organisation to manage their government grant; the gateway organisation for the creative industries is Creative & Cultural Skills.  You can find out more about Kickstart in our guide for employers here. For more information about Kickstart, please email our Public Affairs Manager, Christopher Walker: christopher@soltukt.co.uk

Stage One

https://stageone.uk.com/

Stage One is a charity that supports new producers entering the industry through educational programmes and investment schemes. Its scope includes paid placements in theatres and production companies across the UK, bursaries for independent producers, mentoring opportunities, facilitated workshops and a dedicated 12 month programme for under-represented producers.

Since 2006, 75% of placement scheme participants are still actively working in the theatre industry. If you would be interested in hosting a trainee producer for a 12 month, fully funded placement, please email Programme Director, Louise Goodman: louiseg@stageone.uk.com

An apprenticeship is a paid job with a learning element (both on and off the job). 

According to Creative & Cultural Skills, 96% of employers who take on apprentices report benefits to  their business.

For guidance on hosting an apprentice, please visit the National College Creative Industries website, where you can download an employer support pack, as well as information for both apprentice levy paying organisations and non-levy paying organisations.

Resources and further information:

Careers fairs are a fantastic way for theatre employers to reach a large number of prospective workers in one go and promote and raise awareness of the variety of theatre careers available. SOLT and UK Theatre are involved in the careers fairs listed below and can help you exhibit.

TheatreCraft

www.theatrecraft.org

TheatreCraft is the UK's largest free theatre careers event. It is for anyone aged 16-30 seeking an off stage role in theatre and the performing arts. The event features panel talks, workshops and an exhibitor marketplace. SOLT and UK Theatre members are guaranteed an exhibitor place at TheatreCraft; please contact Siobhan Walsh for more information about this. The November 2021 event saw over 1,000 young people attend online and more than 100 in person.

TheatreCraft is project managed by SOLT and UK Theatre and run in partnership with Masterclass, Mousetrap Theatre Projects and the Royal Opera House. The event is sponsored by White Light.

For more information about TheatreCraft, please email our Outreach Leader, Siobhan Walsh siobhan@soltukt.co.uk.

Big Bang Fair

www.thebigbang.org.uk/the-big-bang-fair

The Big Bang Fair is a 3 day careers event specifically for young people interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. We believe theatre employer attendance at this careers fair is a great opportunity to inspire young people who may not have thought of theatre as a natural career choice for their skillsets.  SOLT and UK Theatre coordinate a theatre industry stand at the Big Bang Fair, in partnership with the National Theatre. If you'd like to be involved, please email our Outreach Leader, Siobhan Walsh siobhan@soltukt.co.uk.

The following initiatives and programmes have been developed to showcase the range of roles available in theatre and the performing arts, promote theatre careers and inspire young people.

Creative Careers Programme

The Creative Careers Programme is a government funded, industry-led programme to inform and inspire young people about careers in the creative industries. Its aim is to ensure there is a larger and more diverse intake of talent and a broader range of routes into the creative industries.

Since the programme launched in 2019, over 1,000 creative sector employers from all 12 creative industry sub-sectors have engaged with it, leading to 92,000 student interactions with the industry. The programme includes:

  • Discover! Creative Careers website, a one-stop-shop bringing together careers information and opportunities from across the creative industries for young people, teachers, parents and guardians (theatre information is fed into this website from Get into Theatre)
  • Discover! Creative Careers Week, a week of immersive events and work experience opportunities
  • Partnership with the Speakers for Schools programme to bring creative industry employers to school assemblies
  • Partnership with the Speakers for Schools experience programme to connect creative industry employers and schools for work experience opportunities
  • Training the Careers and Enterprise Company's advisors to improve and broaden their understanding of the creative industries and the roles that exist within it, in order to improve school careers advice
Visit the Discover! Creative Careers website for information about how employers can get involved with the programme. For general enquires about the Creative Careers Programme, please contact creativecareers@ccskills.org.uk

  

Get into Theatre

www.getintotheatre.org

Get into Theatre is the UK’s leading theatre careers website for young people and their teachers, parents and guardians. It is an online resource of theatre careers information, including educational and professional training requirements, practical information, opportunities and tools for accessing the wide variety of onstage and offstage careers available in the theatre industry. 

It also aims to undertake outreach activities working with schools and colleges across the UK to reach, inform and encourage all aspiring young theatre talent, especially targeting those from backgrounds currently under-represented in theatre.

Theatre employers can use Get into Theatre to list training, outreach or funding opportunities (not jobs) by signing up here. For more information about Get into Theatre, please contact its Director, Ahmet Ahmet: Ahmet@thestage.co.uk

    
Inspiring Future Theatre

Inspiring Future Theatre is a wide-reaching industry initiative which aims to showcase the range of careers available in theatre. We have partnered with Education & Employers to connect theatre workers with their local schools. The scheme has two parts:

  • Inspiring Future Theatre Ambassadors: the ambassadors programme encourages off-stage theatre workers of any profession or experience to sign up to Education & Employers' volunteer database. This enables your local schools to invite you to careers events, fairs, or workshops they may be holding to hear about your job. Signing up as a volunteer does not commit you to attending events - you are free to accept or decline as you wish.
  • Inspiring Future Theatre Day: an annual social media campaign which encourages theatre employers to showcase the range of roles available at their organisation, and theatre workers to share why they love working in theatre and what inspired them to, using the hashtag #InspiringFutureTheatre. In previous years we have also held an in-person event on this day for schools to attend behind the scenes workshops focusing on offstage roles.

For more information about Inspiring Future Theatre, please contact our Outreach Leader, Siobhan Walsh: siobhan@soltukt.co.uk

London Theatre Young Audiences Forum

This forum aims to build a bridge between London theatres and young audiences by understanding the needs and wants of both groups. Following industry meetings, the group will share research and finding, make recommendations and advocate for the mutually beneficial relationship between theatres and young people.

Forum members are made up of participation, membership or audience development professionals working within London theatre organisations. The current steering committee is made from representatives from SOLT/UK Theatre, Mousetrap Theatre Projects, Disney Theatricals and ATG.

For more information or to join the LTYA Forum, please contact our Outreach Leader, Siobhan Walsh: siobhan@soltukt.co.uk

Theatre Workforce Review
In 2017 we commissioned Nordicity, working with Alistair Smith, Editor of The Stage, to carry out a significant research project into the current and future training needs of the theatre and performing arts sector. The Theatre Workforce Review was published on 22 June 2017.

Executive Summary: Theatre Workforce ReviewFull Report: Theatre Workforce Review

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