Tell us a bit about your theatre journey so far?
Theatre has always been a part of my life even when I don’t think I’ve realised! I grew up watching musicals and have always loved to go to the theatre. I think my love for working in the industry actually started in school, I was the sound and light technician for Back to the 80’s when I was in year 9 and I loved it more than anything else I was doing in school. From there I started to look at colleges and how I can further my career in the industry. I ended up at The Jellicoe at Bournemouth and Poole College and I can say with hand on heart it has been the best 5 years of my life! I’ve worked on a variety of different shows like musicals, contemporary plays, dance shows and more. And that’s also where I met Andy and I’m so thankful that he found me!
As well as working from a technical point in theatre, I’ve just entered my third year of University. I’m studying for a BA (hons) in Performing arts and love to be on stage surrounded by lights and a company!
Do you prefer acting or stage management? And why?
I get asked this question so much and I’ve always got the same response. I don’t know! I think my heart says stage management. It’s where I have the most creative control and I can do what I love most, which is to help people. Seeing people love the show they’re working on is something so magic to me. It’s where I first started my journey and it now comes so naturally that it’s easy for me to pick up a new script and see it from a technical point of view rather than an actors. I also live my life by making lists, so stage management is dream!
What are some of the barriers you’ve faced in pursuing your career?
A few things come to mind straight away when I hear the word ‘barrier’. Personally, I think my location and age are my biggest setbacks. In personal experience I haven’t been taken seriously just because I’m 20, a lot of people still have the notion that young people in this industry still can’t take the responsibility which is crazy to me! I don’t think we’d be in this position if we couldn’t do it.
Location is a tricky one, whilst there are still opportunities where I live, like local theatres and taking a part time technician job there are still things stopping me. I’d love to be able to move to London and start working in a professional theatre environment.
What was the experience like working on Sacrifice and what did you get out of it?
Working on Sacrifice was incredible. Finally having people who trusted me to do my job in a professional environment was the most liberating experience. Being able to have the opportunity to work in London for 2 weeks and to feel what it’s like to put a show up in a week was thrilling. Finding set, finding props, blocking. The lists were endless! Finally, being able to put my skills to use outside of training in college and university felt like everything started to fall into place.
ME! A 20-year-old from Bournemouth making her way to London to work in the Soho Theatre right in the heart of the West End?! That’s what I took from this experience, that it can happen!! If you put your heart towards a goal and work for it, you’ll get there and people will recognise you. I got to see how a theatre like the Soho works, how they operate, what their technicians are like (which is lovely by the way!) and it makes me so much more determined to carry on thriving in this industry.
Any favourite moments you’d like to share?
There are so many, and I know how cliché that sounds but as well as learning about the industry we had so many laughs. My favourite moment is quite possibly from rehearsals. It was our last rehearsal day and that morning we all needed something to perk us up from doing constant runs all week. Andy, our director, got the actors to do the entire hour piece as over the top as they possibly could. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much! Even Andy was getting involved with the acting! There were people stood on chairs, rolling around on the floor, singing lines, crying, screaming and just having a fun morning and getting ourselves even more excited for the week ahead. I watch the videos from that rehearsal if I ever need a good laugh!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
The scariest question of them all. I really hope to still be in this industry and hope there is a place for me in it. I aim to keep working in it as much as possible. I graduate in 2019 and from there I’m out of 17 years of education which is daunting. In 5 years time I’d love to be working on a tour of a show, or working backstage somewhere in the West End. I don’t think my heart would let me leave this industry so anything to do with theatre you’ll see me there.
What support do you need to get you there?
Programmes and opportunities like Ardent making theatre more accessible to people who live outside of London. Their support has helped boost my confidence and helped me out of my comfort zone. I think that Ardent has such good intention to help artists who aren’t in London, to help them get there or at least give them a taste of what it’s like to work in the City. Having a company that helps me put something like this on my resume lets other people see what I can really do and what I myself am able to achieve. Experience is so important and projects and companies like Ardent are the best way for people to collect the knowledge they need. I can now say I’ve stage managed a show at the Soho Theatre written by Andrew Muir. It’s big, it’s the best support I’ve ever received.
What advice would you give to new people joining the Ardent8 project?
Be kind, be prepared and love what you do. Be able to completely let yourself go and come out of your comfort zone. Ardent8 not only gives you an incredible opportunity in the business, it reminds you of why you started in the first place. Be able to see yourself doing this in 10, 15, 20 years time and Ardent will give you a huge step up to get there. Most importantly enjoy yourself, I can’t wait for the new 8 to experience London just like we have.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I’d like to say thank you! To both Andrew and Mark for letting me have this opportunity and trusting me to do it. There have often been times where I feel I get overlooked as a technician so being asked to take part in Ardent made me realise that I am being recognised and my hard work has paid off. Thank you so much, I can’t wait for the future!