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New development opportunities for emerging designers

Kiln Theatre – Resident Assistant Designer Opportunity

Information Webinar: 7.15pm, Weds 3 March

Closing Date for Applications: 9am, Monday 22 March 2021 Interviews: Monday 12 or Tuesday 13 April 2021

The last year has really brought home how few opportunities there are for recent graduates and those who for whatever reason have a passion for design, and haven’t been able to get an official qualification or get a foothold in the theatre industry. It haslong been a passion of mine to give early career designers the experience of working in a building. I suppose it stems back to my early days as a freelancer where at Nottingham playhouse the Head of Wardrobe took me under her wing and gave me the kind of on-the-job learning that I had completely missed as a student – seeing firsthand how fittings work, how to work with a mix of makes and stock, learn how to discuss ideas with actors and also how to collaborate with all the other in-house technical teams.

Now I see this kind of opportunity as increasingly rare, as over the years more and more crafts have been outsourced so there are few focused opportunities for early career designers to learn from the hive wisdom of a building. I was lucky while Associate at the RSC to get external funding to set up the Trainee scheme there. This exposed me to the brilliance of design schools in the UK, poring over more than 120 portfolios each year, trying to narrow them down to a shortlist of ten and then a final two designers who spent a year at the company. In my time over 20 designers went through the scheme, and I am proud that quite a few have gone on to have fulfilling careers.

So, again by lobbying for external funding, we have managed to get the go ahead to create a scheme at the Kiln Theatre. I am taking up a part-time post as Associate Designer,

contributing to the artistic planning of the theatre and getting involved in all things design related (though not actually shows, more of a supportive role to any incoming freelancer who wants a chat!). Most importantly we have been drawing up the job description for the role and planning the application process. It is important to the values of the Kiln that we try to cast the net as wide as possible, to try and give an opportunity to those who are currently under-represented in theatre design. In the long run I hope this will provide a model for the creation of similar schemes, supported by experienced designers from Scene/Change and SBTD working with their local theatres, that will help create the impactful change in the sector that we all aspire to.

Tom Piper

Jermyn Street Theatre and Masterclass Mentoring Programme Jermyn Street Theatre are pairing up with Theatre Royal Haymarket's Masterclass programme to offer 3 months of support to early-career artists. Mentees will each be paired with an experienced mentor in their chosen field, to benefit from advice, introductions, coaching and support. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the programme will take place remotely and there are places available in the following disciplines:

• Director x1 • Set and Costume Design x2 • Movement Director x1 • Lighting Design x1 • Sound Design x1 • Stage Management x1 • Producer x1 • Costume Supervisor x1 Closing Date for Applications: Friday 12 March 2021

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