A new week has started and so once again I make my way to the office. Last week started out being very much more information based where I listened and researched where as this week started out being very hands on.
I begin by settling down and working on the blog they have asked me to write about my experience while working with them. After this I begin on a project I had been told about last week where I was to assist with the looking up of venues for the STEP UP Creative Ensemble event in July. I then started working on the copy for the invite for that same event. I loved the fact that I got to apply all these things to an actual real event which will be taking place. It gave me a sense of the reality of setting up an event.
I also had a talk with Jack McNamara, the Artistic Director. I discovered that his job was slightly different to from what I initially thought.
It was an effective day and I definitely acquired some new skills and awareness on planning an event and some of the other important roles within the company.
The day started out with getting an insight on the financial side of running a theatre company; an essential part of keeping it from falling apart. I have never been very good with numbers but having a look at all the different accounts gave me an idea of how to organise your funds in a sufficient manner.
I then went on to design the actual invite for the STEP UP Creatives event in July. As the theme for the play they were working on was ‘Starting out in the Midlands’ I decided to begin by doing some research on the East Midlands. I researched all the elements which made the East , what it is. Based on the information I found I created the invite. It was a great challenge.
I finished the day off by reading the play Entertaining Angels, one of the upcoming shows New Perspectives is putting on in preparation to the casting breakdown I would be doing the following day. As I read through the play I made notes about the characters and tried to envision what type of actors would be playing the parts.
Today I started by creating a casting breakdown of the play Entertaining Angels. I read through a few different examples I was given and used that as a reference when making mine. It was a fun process to think about the qualities to write down in the character description. It was also extremely interesting to then see the official casting breakdown for the play. As the characters weren’t given an age in the script I had to envision and note down how old I thought they were. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between my ideas and the official ones. I also discussed my reasons for the ages I gave the characters and heard the reasons why they were what they were officially. This just goes to show that directors all have different opinions and visions about the plays and bring out different aspects that you may have overlooked and the other way around.
Then the time came to go onto the actors official database Spotlight. It was interesting as again I got an idea of what it was to be on the other side; the judging side. There were five different folders. One folder for each character. Each folder was then broken up into actors that were a ‘no’, actors that were a ‘maybe’ and actors that were a ‘yes’ – meaning that they would definitely be seen for an audition. The director of the piece put all the actors from the first page as a no and let me have a look and see who I thought was right or wrong for the part. Doing this gave me great insight on what an actors spotlight profile should look like.
I had an introduction to the fundraising side of things well. I was surprised to hear that they base some of the methods they use on psychology.
It was an extremely beneficial day for me as it gave me some great insight and knowledge on the process of casting. As an actor I feel advantaged to have been part of that process.
Today was a completely different day from the rest of my placement. Firstly, instead of taking a train to Nottingham I got on a train to Kettering where I was picked up by Chris. We then drove to Daventry in Northampton. As New Perspectives is also a talent development company and regard nurturing new talent as a crucial part of what they stand for, they offer a program where they offer their knowledge and experience to theatre companies starting out in the industry – STEP UP Companies.
This particular theatre company was called Impulsive Collective and was made up of five students which had recently graduated from Northampton University. After graduation they decided to build up a theatre company and have in the mere six months of their existence achieved a great amount. What New Perspectives offers them is the support of showing them how they can take their company even further by using marketing techniques and teaching them about all the things I have touched upon in the past two weeks.
The group was asked to do numerous tasks which forced them to reflect on their company and what they wanted to represent. They were asked to say what they were proud of achieving, what their ambitions were, think about their strengths and weaknesses as an ensemble, discuss opportunities and get an idea of what their mission statement is. It was a chance for them to see if they were all on the same page. It was great to see their company. The dynamics between the members were very positive and each and every one had some input which was nice. It was great to see that they were all at the same place and wanted to achieve the same things as a whole. I think when starting a company, the people involved is what will eventually make it or break it. Again this was a nice project to observe as it gave me some knowledge on what would need to be done if I ever decided to start a theatre company myself.
To conclude, this was a very interesting day. It was nice to meet some people who have done the same course as myself and see how they have decided to start their careers.
My final day at the office started out quite relaxed as I got to finish off my week two blog while sipping a cup of morning coffee. Later in the day I got to observe a project that a company called Little Earthquake had been working on as part of a development week. New Perspectives had offered the company their rehearsal space free of charge as part of a lab weeks initiative – and we were shown what they had been working on.
During the past two weeks I have been in the environment of a successful theatre company. I have touched upon many different areas of making this company run such as finance, marketing, casting etc. I have also been given tasks to apply what I have been taught and been able to feel as though I was actually part of the company. I enjoyed being surrounded by a group of people who are dedicated to what they do. Each person I spoke to explained what they did in a passionate manner which raised my own excitement on the subject. Meeting the company from their talent development program was a great experience as well. As an actor I find it extremely important to be open to gaining new skills and knowledge in the field and appreciate all the work that goes into making a theatre production. I feel as though I have gained crucial experience and also planted the seeds to a relationship which I will hopefully be able to sustain during the following years of my career.
I am very happy about everything I have gained from the company and would recommend anyone who wants to gain some knowledge on running a theatre company to follow a placement at New Perspectives.