Help us ensure a resilient theatre & performing arts sector

Help us ensure a resilient theatre and performing arts sector

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By Cassie Chadderton, Head of UK Theatre & Membership Development.

Date Published: 12 December 2016

How did you get your start in the industry? For some it’s drama school, others start with a technical theatre course, and some find their way in by getting on the job experience in casual roles. I found my way in through work experience, while sleeping on my sister’s floor, and just being in the right place at the right time when a job came up.

Everyone in roles across the performing arts and creative industries – from entry level to senior leadership positions – started in different ways. It seems no two career paths are the same.

There are now 1.9 million jobs across the creative industries, including theatre and the performing arts. This workforce has helped the UK’s creative industries to be world-leading – and worth an impressive £84.1 billion a year to the UK economy.

But we know that routes into and through a career in theatre and the performing arts are complex, which must make it hard for anyone not from a theatre background to break in.  And as the Confederation of British Industry (the CBI), and the UK’s Create Together strategy has said, if we’re going to continue to be successful, this sector needs to be more accessible and open to young people from diverse backgrounds.

Also, in the last few years the job of running and managing theatres has changed dramatically. Directors like Indhu Rubasingham and Max Stafford-Clark have spoken about the potential for a skills gap to appear within the next five or ten years. 

So it’s essential that we plan to have the right workforce, drawn from a broad talent base, to keep theatre and the performing arts thriving into the future.

That’s why we’re now working with Nordicity (a specialist arts, cultural and creative industries research consultancy) in association with Alistair Smith of The Stage, to look at the landscape for theatre management and technical skills. From careers advice, entry level roles, progression routes and mid-career development, the research will consider the training needs of the sector’s future workforce.

We also want the work to give full consideration to how improving entry and development routes might also improve diversity across the workforce.

You can help – by completing these surveys. Your response will help to provide a much needed look at the requirements of our growing workforce.

And once you’ve done it – share the link with your network. The more people that contribute, the stronger the findings will be.

We’re expecting to publish the research report in early 2017, and will use the findings to work with Government and employers to ensure a resilient and relevant theatre and performing arts sector.


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