Theatres, arts organisations and industry professionals across the UK are celebrating the wide range of offstage theatre careers available for young people, as part of #InspiringFutureTheatre, a joint initiative by Society of London Theatre (SOLT), UK Theatre and Education & Employers, encouraging young people to explore job opportunities within a sustainable and representative theatre workforce.
As part of this campaign, hundreds of young people today (Wednesday 3 July) got an exclusive insight behind the scenes in London’s famous West End.
Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre – working with Westminster City Council’s youth culture programme City Lions – brought nearly 500 13 to 16-year-olds from Westminster schools, who rarely get a chance to engage with the world-leading theatre on their doorstep, into the West End to discover a range of offstage careers.
Workshops were held at 9 theatres across all the major London theatre owners, from speed networking sessions to technical insights into staging a large-scale show. Theatre Royal Haymarket, the Cambridge Theatre, the Vaudeville Theatre, the Aldwych Theatre, the Piccadilly Theatre, the Prince of Wales Theatre, the Gillian Lynne Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse and the Royal Opera House all participated in the day.
The students then watched extracts from two hit British musicals, Tudor pop sensation Six at the Arts Theatre and uplifting true story Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre.
Several local and national politicians attended, including Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, who was at the Gillian Lynne Theatre to observe workshops and meet participants.
Jeremy Wright said:
‘The West End's theatre offerings are rightly regarded as being amongst the very best in the world. We can only maintain this success if the UK's incredible pool of theatre professionals is sustainable, with young and new talent nurtured and encouraged. The Inspiring Future Theatre Day is a fantastic initiative and I congratulate all those involved for their work in reaching out to young people and letting them know about the amazing theatre jobs on offer behind the curtain.’
Today’s events marked the culmination of year one of Inspiring Future Theatre activity between schools and theatres across the UK, which has recruited over 1000 theatre industry Ambassadors, and reached over 51,000 young people across 800 schools.
Theatre professionals who would like to sign up to be an Inspiring the Future of Theatre ambassador can visit the Inspiring the Future website. Theatres and arts organisations are also able to register their interest in getting involved and working with their local schools, via the website.
Inspiring the Future connects schools and colleges across the UK with thousands of volunteers working in different sectors – for free. These volunteers, from a huge range of jobs – from app designers to zoologists, and at all levels – from apprentices to CEOs, have signed up to share their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm about their jobs with young people. Meeting volunteers helps to broaden career aspirations, tackle gender and other stereotypes and show children that they can be whatever they want to be. People can volunteer from an hour a year in a local primary or secondary school to chat informally about their job and career route, take part in career speed networking session, give young people careers insights, mock interviews or feedback on CVs. There is also the opportunity to link up with schools for workplace visits, job shadowing, mentoring or to become a school governor or trustee.
@UK_Theatre / @london_theatre / @InspiringTF
uktheatre.org / solt.co.uk / inspiringthefuture.org
Contacts for press queries, interview requests and further comment:
Eva Mason, Communications Officer for SOLT and UK Theatre
email@example.com / 0207 557 6729
KSA students at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. Photo: Ewa Ferdynus